10 must-try NTU eateries that’ll help you survive your freshman year

·9-min read

As a freshmen in Nanyang Technological University (NTU), it can be daunting to think of what to eat with so many food choices around. 

Spending over 120 hours a week in school, I have eaten my way through NTU, so trust me when I say that these are the 10 best places to eat at in NTU

NTU has plenty of food places (with over 9 mala places in NTU alone), so do note that this list is not in any shape or form exhaustive! 

1. North Hill: A Hot Hideout 

NTU Listicle - A picture of the exterior of A Hot Hideout
NTU Listicle - A picture of the exterior of A Hot Hideout

Some say that the best mala xiang guo in Singapore can be found at NTU’s A Hot Hideout. As an NTU student and avid mala lover myself, I must certainly agree.

This mala xiang guo joint, located within North Hill, always has a queue during lunch hour and dinner hour, so if you don’t go down an hour before peak hour, you’ll definitely be hard pressed to find a seat.

NTU Listicle - A picture of A Hot Hideout Mala
NTU Listicle - A picture of A Hot Hideout Mala

A Hot Hideout’s specialty is their deep fried ingredients, such as potato crisps, lotus roots, fish and luncheon meat. Having a bite of crisp potato with the numbing spice of the noodles is truly luxurious. 

To top it all off, be sure to get an egg as it’ll be scrambled till it’s soft and fluffy, and placed on top of the mountain of ingredients. The ingredients are measured by weight, S$2.28 per 100g regardless of whether it is a meat, vegetable, or a fishball. 

You will find me here bi-weekly, chowing down on a bowl of da la (big spice) with my companions. 

62 Nanyang Crescent, #03-02, Singapore 636958
Daily: 11am – 2.30pm & 4.30 – 9pm
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2. Pioneer Canteen & Canteen 14: Make Your Sunday Thai

NTU Listicle - A picture of pioneer canteen Thai stall
NTU Listicle - A picture of pioneer canteen Thai stall

I have a serious confession to make—I’d never eaten Mookata before entering NTU. I made up for it by patronising Make Your Sunday Thai at Crespion (Crescent and Pioneer Hall) pretty often. The combination of barbeque and steamboat is actually pretty ingenious, and I can’t believe it took me this long to try it. 

NTU Listicle - A picture of the mookata at Pioneer canteen

The grill is set up in such a way that the oil from the grilled meats drip into the soup, giving the soup extra flavour. 

A picture of Pioneer Canteen Mookata Menu
A picture of Pioneer Canteen Mookata Menu

Here, you can order in sets: Set 1 – two to three persons (S$20), Set 2 – three to four persons (S$26), and Set 3 – four to five persons (S$30). Usually, the portions are generous enough to have four people sharing Set 1

NTU Listicle - A picture of the set menu from the Thai stall at canteen 14
NTU Listicle - A picture of the set menu from the Thai stall at canteen 14

Additionally, they also have set meals for Thai dishes. They have different sets, such as Set 1 – two to three pax (S$15), Set 2 – three to four pax (S$22), Set 3 – four to five pax (S$28). There are pre-chosen dishes for each set, but menu items of the same price can be exchanged.

Shrimp Omelette (S$6.50), Sambal Kang Kong (S$6.50) and Thai Honey Chicken (S$5.80) are staples that I always order.

The Shrimp Omelette comes with a Thai green chilli which is to die for, and really pairs well. The Thai Honey Chicken is coated in a savoury coat of sauce, and is fried till it’s crispy.

The presence of sets makes it easy to share meals with friends, and due to their generous portions, Set 2 can easily feed five people, making it S$4.40 per person for a hearty meal.

162 Nanyang Crescent, Pioneer Hall, Singapore 637033
4 Nanyang Crescent, Canteen 14, Singapore 637634
Daily: 11am – 8.30pm

3. Canteen 14: Big Harvest Noodle 

NTU Listicle - A picture of canteen 14 Banmian
NTU Listicle - A picture of canteen 14 Banmian

Canteen 14’s Ban Mian is famous throughout NTU for good, cheap and filling noodles. 

Nestled within the humble Canteen 14, there’s usually a queue during peak lunch hours, but rest assured that your noodles should be served within fifteen minutes, given the speed that the canteen uncle and aunty take orders and cook.

A picture of the dry ramen from canteen 14
A picture of the dry ramen from canteen 14

One of the most ordered dishes here is the DryRamen(S$3.30), which turned me into a Ban Mian lover. It comes with a savoury dark soy sauce, and is topped with minced meat, ikan bilis, and an egg with a runny yolk. Within it there are also some pork lard bits that completely spruce up the meal. 

This was always my go-to if I were rushing an assignment and needed a quick bite. 

4 Nanyang Crescent, Canteen 14, Singapore 637634
Daily: 8.30am – 8.30pm 

4. The Hive: Co-op Cafe @ NTU

NTU Listicle - A picture of the co-op cafe
NTU Listicle - A picture of the co-op cafe

The Hive, affectionately known as ‘The Dim-sum Building’, is home to the Co-op Cafe on Basement 5, which is actually the first floor if you enter the hive from the main entrance. As confusing as that is, Co-op Cafe has some delicious fusion western food that always satisfies my cravings.

A picture of tomyum pasta from co-op cafe

Every time I eat at Co-op Cafe, I get one thing – Tom Yum Seafood Pasta (S$6.50). It is the perfect meal for me as it’s spicy, savoury, has seafood, and is pasta. The seafood is always served in generous portions, with numerous prawns and squid rings found inside. The tom yum has a slight sour kick, which complements the fresh seafood well. I can’t stress this enough that this is a must-try at NTU.

52 Nanyang Avenue, Basement 5, The Hive, Singapore 639816
Mon to Fri: 9.30am – 6.30pm
Closed on Sat & Sun
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5. Canteen 11: Kiso Japanese Cuisine

NTU Listicle - A picture of Kiso Japanese cuisine
NTU Listicle - A picture of Kiso Japanese cuisine

Canteen 11 is home to some of the better foods on campus – cai fan, Japanese, sichuan food… the list is endless. I have patronised the Japanese stall, Kiso Japanese Cuisine, many times, and the food here is affordable and good. 

A picture of ramen from Kiso Japanese cuisine

Tonkotsu Ramen (S$4.50) comes with a savoury broth that soothes one’s soul. The noodles are cooked al dente, and are topped with chopped spring onions and thinly sliced black fungus. Served with a decent slice of charred cha shu, the cha shu is meaty and smoky, and goes well with the noodles. 

20 Nanyang Ave, Canteen 11, Singapore 639809
Daily: 10.30am – 8.30pm, Closed on alternate Sat

6. Fine Food: Beverages

A picture of the beverages stall in fine foods
A picture of the beverages stall in fine foods

The Beverages stall at Fine Food sells breakfast sets too, which is convenient for me as I study at the Hive and usually have morning classes there. At 8.45am, I will be in the queue for my breakfast staple – kaya toast, soft boiled eggs and a cup of teh peng

A picture of Breakfast Set A from beverages stall
A picture of Breakfast Set A from beverages stall

Set A – Kaya Butter Toast Set (S$2.20) consists of two soft boiled eggs, two slices of kaya toast, and coffee or tea. I usually top up S$0.30 to upgrade my drink to a small teh peng. 

The pepper and soy sauce come in a basket, which is self-service. After trying numerous breakfast sets around campus, I have come to the conclusion that the breakfast set at Fine Food is the best. 

The kaya toasts are appropriately toasted, and are slightly crunchy while the soft boiled eggs are always boiled to perfection. 

Meanwhile in some other canteens, we play “how cooked is the egg?” on a daily basis. More often than not, the egg is undercooked, which is worse due to the primal fear of getting salmonella.

NTU Listicle - A picture of the menu of the beverages stall
NTU Listicle - A picture of the menu of the beverages stall

If you find yourself needing to be awake at 7am for morning classes, this breakfast is a great pick-me-up.

50 Nanyang Avenue, South Spine, B Food Court Canteen, Singapore 639798
Mon to Fri: 7am – 9pm
Sat: 7am – 3pm
Closed on Sun

7. Canteen 11: Mixed Veg Rice

NTU Listicle - A picture of the mixed veg rice stall
NTU Listicle - A picture of the mixed veg rice stall

Some consider Canteen 11’s Mixed Veg Rice to be the best cai fan in NTU, and I agree. Their dishes are always delicious and affordable, and there’s always plenty of choices to choose from.

NTU Listicle - A picture of Cai fan from mixed veg rice from canteen 11

A plate of cai fan with two meat and two vegetables cost S$4.50, so one can get a generous meal that is scrumptious and cheap. With their large selection of food choices, one can eat at the stall everyday without getting tired of the food. 

20 Nanyang Ave, Canteen 11, Singapore 639809
Mon to Sat: 10.30am – 8.30pm
Closed on Sun

8. Saraca Canteen: Korean Cuisine

NTU Listicle - A picture of the Saraca Korean stall
NTU Listicle - A picture of the Saraca Korean stall

There are many Korean stalls in NTU, but Saraca’s Korean Cuisine is one of the more notable ones. During peak lunch and dinner crowds, you’ll be sure to find long snaking queues at the cashier. 

NTU Listicle - A picture of the chicken kimchi fried rice from Korean Cuisine at Saraca

The Chicken Kimchi Fried Rice (S$5.60) has generous portions of chicken within the fried rice, and the rice are fried to perfection. The egg on top is a sunny side up, with a runny yolk. It is a great fix if you’re craving Korean food in Pulau NTU

There’s a breaktime from 2.30pm to 5pm, so do not come down during this time period if you don’t want to be disappointed!

38 Nanyang Crescent, Saraca, Singapore 637121
Daily: 11.15am – 2.30pm & 5pm – 8.30pm

9. Koufu: Xiao Guan Zi

NTU Listicle - A picture of the exterior of Xiao guan zi
NTU Listicle - A picture of the exterior of Xiao guan zi

It has been said that Xiao Guan Zi at Koufu sells North Korean-style noodles, which was why I tried it in the first place. Turns out, it sells Chinese food from an area in China that borders North Korea. 

It is found on the other side of the bridge of the North Spine Canteen. The people manning the counter speak Chinese, so I had to bring out my non-existent Chinese skills and put them to the test.

NTU Listicle - A picture of spicy beef noodles from Xiao guan zi

Spicy Beef Mi Xian (S$7.80) consists of mala-esque spice with many different toppings such as fried chickpeas, beef slices, strips of beancurd skin, quail eggs, beansprouts, and parsley. If your nose runs while eating spicy food, this spicy bowl of noodles will guarantee you’ll need a whole lot of tissues.

Nevertheless, if you’re a mala lover, this will definitely satisfy you.

76 Nanyang Drive, North Spine Food Court, N2.1, #02-03, Singapore 637331
Mon to Sat: 10.30am – 9pm
Closed on Sun
Website

10. The Arc: The Tea Party

A picture of the exterior of The Tea Party
A picture of the exterior of The Tea Party

The Tea Party is a cute little cafe found on the first floor of The Arc, and sells mainly western food. My friends and I always come down to The Tea Party after a certain professor’s class and it has been our tradition ever since.

NTU Listicle - A picture of pinky pasta from The Tea Party

I am a woman of consistency and I usually get only one item on the menu, Pinky Pasta (S$6.50). All mains come with a drink, either Lemonade or Ice Lemon Tea, which is perfect to wash down the greasiness of the main. 

Pinky Pasta is a kind of rose pasta, where the sauce is a combination of cream and tomato sauce. It is topped with minced beef, so take note for non-beef eaters. While the pasta is definitely creamy, it is not at all cloying which is what I love about it.

When I’m feeling fancy, I occasionally opt for the Steak Pasta (S$7.50) which has pepper flakes and some chunks of beef scattered within. It is on the oiler side, and guarantees a full meal.

63 Nanyang Drive, The Arc, Singapore 636922
+65 9180 9691
Mon to Sat: 9am – 9pm
Closed on Sun
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