We all know this is a concern: knowing where to find good, affordable food, whether it’s from your school canteen or at budget eateries. Having studied in NUS as a Psychology undergraduate over the past 2 years, I am extremely happy to announce that I am still not sick of Arts Canteen’s Yong Tau Foo. It’s awesome; you should give it a go if you haven’t. But I’m digressing: Even though the general consensus remains that NUS canteens serve pretty decent food for their prices, there are still times where I yearn for something more exciting, fresh and novel from someplace else.
If you’re like me and you occasionally crave to break away from the bore of eating at the canteens all semester round, I am pleased to bring to your attention 7 budget eateries below $15 near or in NUS. Because good food doesn’t necessarily have to cost a bomb, am I right?
1) Humble Origins
Arts students should be awfully familiar with Humble Origins – situated ideally just beside LT12 in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, it is where students flock to for their caffeine fix right in the middle of an immensely yawn-inducing lecture. For those who never fail to be in need of chomping down on food while listening to the professors drone on and on, Humble Origins also offer quick bites – Rosti, Pancakes, French Toast, Bagels, Muffins and even Sandwiches – in addition to their excellent coffee.
As a pancakes lover (I could eat these flour-filled goodness everyday, no problem), my personal favourite would be their Banana Butterscotch Pancake ($7.50). The stack is fluffy, light and is an utter delight when paired with the natural sweetness of bananas and crunchiness of walnuts. Mmm, just thinking about it is making me salivate.
Humble Origins: NUS Kent Ridge Drive, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Next to LT12), Singapore 119077 | Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 0830 – 1800; Closed on Saturdays and Sundays | Facebook
2) Reedz Cafe
Due to its close proximity to the Business School, Reedz Cafe is a highly popular hang-out place amongst the Business students. Other than said students, however, the cafe has also been pulling in steady streams of crowds from other faculties on account of just how good their food is. Diners at the cafe never have to worry about getting sick of eating the same dish over and over again; the owners of Reedz are constantly looking out for new, interesting flavours and components to add to their menu.
Try their Mushroom Grilled Chicken ($6.90), the meat is so tender your teeth will simply sink all the way through. Mmm, lovers of thicker cut fries will also enjoy the highly umami fried potatoes goodies at Reedz Cafe. All items are generally priced below $10 so a bill which comes up to less than $15 is entirely achievable.
Reedz Cafe: 15 Kent Ridge Drive, Mochtar Riady Building, #01-03, Singapore 119245 | Opening Hours:Monday – Friday (8am – 9pm); Saturday (8am – 4pm) | Tel: +65 6774-5898 | Facebook
3) Platypus Food Bar
Arts then Business… Don’t worry, Science students: I haven’t forgotten about Platypus Food Bar – the ultimate chill-out place within the Faculty of Science. Gym rats are huge fans of the food bar: the salads at Platypus provide them with all the fuel – carbohydrates, proteins and fibre – they need to pump some iron once again. I, on the other hand, love the Platypus Bar because they have managed to make healthier food options tasty.
Salad bowls come in three sizes, all retailing at specific prices. The Small bowl is yours at $5.50, the Medium at $7.50 and the Large at $9.50. Unless you haven’t been eating for at least three days or have just finished a marathon, I doubt you’ll ever need to order the Large bowl – the servings at the Platypus Food Bar are pretty generous! The Food Bar also offers coffee for those who can’t survive a school day without some form of caffeine coursing through their bloodstreams.
Platypus Food Bar: 16 Science Drive 2, National University Of Singapore, Singapore 117546 | Opening Hours: 1100 – 1600, Daily | Tel: +65 67789104 | Facebook
4) Pies and Coffee
Located just a stone’s throw (technically: three to four bus stops) away from the main compound of NUS, Pies and Coffee can be found within Rochester Mall. Founded in 2011, Pies and Coffee has made its way into the hearts of many NUS students seeking a place to chill at after school. Or during; you know, that period when deadlines are so close together that skipping a few lectures here and there becomes the norm.
If you find yourself at Pies and Coffee in the afternoon, give their pies a try. Buttery, full-flavoured and melt-in-the-mouth, their pies are filled to the brim with only the most premium and fresh ingredients. As can be inferred from their name, Pies and Coffee’s caffeinated drinks are worthy of your money too. For those who doubt that their stomachs will ever be placated by a few slices of pies, the cafe also features mains on their menu. Try their Baked Rigatoni Bolognaise ($12.90); it’s one of my go-to choices.
Pies and Coffee: Rochester Mall, 35 Rochester Drive, #01-02, Singapore 138639 | Opening Hours: 0900 – 2300 Daily | Tel: +65 6570 0080 | Website
5) Wah Chee
If I ever had to pick my favourite tze char places in Singapore, Wah Chee would be a very strong contender in my list. Found within a humble, space-constrained hawker centre, Wah Chee is highly popular with both NUS and ACJC students. Now, of course this place isn’t air-conditioned but I think the orgasmic value of the food found here will more than make up for your discomfort while dining at Wah Chee, one of the best budget eateries around.
Should you very unfortunately only be able to order one dish from Wah Chee, go for their Chicken with Salted Eggs ($12). Thank me later.
Wah Chee: #01-02, Dover Court, 5 Dover Crescent, Singapore 130005 | Opening Hours: Daily: 11:00 – 23:30 | Tel: +65 67783567
6) Sunday Folks
Well, technically this isn’t exactly near NUS – you’d have to take either 3 stops down from Kent Ridge or a stop down from Buona Vista on the circle line to Holland Village, where Sunday Folks is just right next to. Then again, Holland Village is kind of the go-to hang out place for NUS students, anyway: I never fail to bump into school mates while idly walking around Cold Storage.
An independent specialty desserts cafe, Sunday Folks is well-worth checking out. If you’re a big fan of sweet treats, the cafe will be right up your alley. Airy, light and fragrant all at once: their waffles are to die for. Do give their Freshly baked Belgian Waffles Paired with Strawberries and Blueberries ($8) a go. Also, don’t even get me started on their ice cream. You have to try them out yourselves.
Sunday Folks: 44 Jalan Merah Saga, Chip Bee Gardens #01-52, Singapore 278116 | Opening Hours: Tues – Fri: 1300 – 2200; Sat and Sun: 1200 – 2200; Closed on Mondays | Tel: 6479 9166 | Website
7) Two Chefs
Remember what I said about my list of best tze char places in Singapore? Well, even though that list hasn’t even been brought into existence yet (I should probably do a guide someday), I’m pretty sure Two Chefs will be ranked within my top 5 favourites. A humble eatery found just a leisurely 5 to 10 minutes’ walk away from Commonwealth MRT station, Two Chefs Eating Place serves up authentic, hearty Chinese food which borders on being sinful at times.Source: Wenfang @ Hungrygowhere
Why sinful? Well, just take a look at their Butter Pork Ribs ($12 for Medium). Tender, fried to perfection morsels of pork meat are sprinkled generously with an almost obscene amount of a magical powder combination of butter and condensed milk – did I just hear you mentioning that you were on a diet. Well, consider your diet a failure when you lay your eyes on this beautiful dish: it can always wait till tomorrow, right? If you share a couple of dishes with friends, your meal might not even come up to $10 per pax!
Now that we’ve come to the end of this list filled with great budget eateries, do help fellow foodies out by letting us know where else we could find cheap and good food around NUS!