Sick of School Food: Hidden Food Gems Near Campus

After around 15 weeks of staying on campus, you might be getting rather bored of eating at the same places all the time. Not to worry – to celebrate the last stretch of the semester, Reslife has compiled a list of little-known food gems in the vicinity of campus. Let’s get straight into it!

1. NEWest


Address: 1 West Coast Drive, Singapore 128020
Directions: Take 196 from University Town to Clementi Stadium (4 stops); change to 97/197/198 and ride to NEWest (2 stops); OR Take 154/201 from Clementi Mall to NEWest (3 stops)

Located not too far from Clementi Mall, NEWest is still a relatively new shopping mall that has yet to fill up all its retail units. However, a quick exploration of the mall reveals many hidden food gems selling unique food at affordable prices. Here are some of our favourites:

a. Donburi-Ya
Address: NEWest, #01-K21
Hours: Mon – Sun (11am – 6.30pm)
Price: ~$8.45- $11.90

Donburi-Ya Menu

Craving for some delicious Japanese rice bowls but not too keen to splurge on the bowls offered at Waa-Cow? Donburi-Ya at NEWest is a cheaper but just as delicious alternative that’s sure to satisfy you!

At just $9.90, you can choose from their Wagyu, Kurobuta, Mapo Tofu Dons, or have their Unagi Don at $11.90. You may also choose to add on a side dish and a drink with an additional $2.90. To sweeten the deal, Donburi-Ya offers an additional 10% discount for students, so do remember to bring along your student ID if you decide to visit!

1 For 1 Set Meal Offer

For further discounts, bring along a friend to try their 1-for-1 Set Meal which gives you the choice of Wagyu, Kurobuta or Mapo Tofu Don with a drink or a delicious Milk Pudding for just $16.90.

Unfortunately, unlike its larger outlet at CityLink Mall, this humble eatery only allows for takeaways so you might choose to bring it back to your NUS hostel, or go to the nearby park opposite the mall to enjoy your food. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for good quality rice bowls at an affordable price near campus, Donburi-Ya is still a great option!

For more information on the food they serve, check out this full review by Daniel Food Diary.

b. Jumbadog
Address: NEWest, #01-107
Hours: Tues – Thurs & Sun (10am – 8pm); Fri & Sat (10am – 10.30pm)
Price: ~$9.90

Calling all Subway, sandwich, and hotdog lovers! While there may no longer be a Subway on campus, you can still get your customisable sandwich fix at Jumbadog.

In a unique concept similar to Subway sandwiches, Jumbadog serves footlong hotdogs that you can customise. Their classic hotdogs all go at $9.90 (ala-carte), while their specialty hotdogs and sandwiches are pricier at $13.90 (ala-carte). For those looking for #instaworthy food places, this is an eatery you must visit! With striking hand-painted murals on the walls, and a vintage arcade machine you can play while waiting for your food, Jumbadog seals the deal with a fun atmosphere in addition to its giant hotdogs.

Get crazy with your hotdog flavour combinations with Jumbadog’s Tako(yaki) dog! (Source: Eatbook)

For more information on the food they serve, check out this review by Eatbook!

c. Springleaf
Address: NEWest, #01-108/109
Hours: 24 hours
Price: ~$3 – $10

Source: SG Dabao


Sure, ordering in supper is easy and convenient – but nothing beats the thrill of going out of campus late in the night with a group of friends and enjoying some delicious food under the stars. For those looking for a late-night rendezvous, this Springleaf Prata outlet at NEWest is open 24 hours, so swing by anytime and satisfy your prata or murtabak craving. The moonlit sky combined with the twinkling fairy lights hung around their outdoor seating area creates the perfect atmosphere for some late-night deep conversations or just some laid back fun. For vegetarians and vegans, apart from the different meatless prata options, Springleaf Prata also offers some great vegan options, such as their Meatless Murtabak or Vegetarian Chapati set.

d. Up in Smoke
Address: NEWest, #01-67
Hours: Mon – Fri (11am -11pm), Sat – Sun (10am – 11pm)
Price: ~$5-12

You might have heard of the popular Gelato shop at Sunset Way, Burnt Cones, but have you heard of their sister shop, Up in Smoke? Up In Smoke serves a more extensive brunch and lunch menu than that of Burnt Cones due to its larger kitchen space, as well as the same signature artisanal hand-crafted gelato.

14 gelato flavours (Single $5, Double $9, Signature +$1, Supremo +$2) are on display. (Source: Daniel Food Diary)

Some of the interesting flavours you can look forward to include: Ube (Purple Yam), Thai Coconut Lychee, Black Sesame, Scamorza (Smoked Cheese), Earl Grey, Bacio (Hazelnut chocolate), and Pistachio.

As per their name, Up in Smoke features an Instagram-worthy Smoked Buttermilk Waffle that you might have seen videos of on your own Instagram feed. But at an additional $10, this Insta-worthy moment does not come cheap – so maybe save it for an after-exam treat? ☺


Smoked Buttermilk Waffles (Source: Daniel Food Diary)

Apart from their signature gelato and waffles, Up in Smoke serves main dishes such as Philly Cheesesteaks (Junior $10, Regular $12, Double $18) and various brunch dishes.

e. Moonrise Cafe
Address: Newest, #01-106
Hours: Tues – Thurs & Sun (12pm – 10pm); Fri & Sat (12pm – 12am)
Price: ~$6 – $10

(Source: TB Foo)

(Source: Moonrise Cafe)

(Source: Moonrise Cafe)

(Source: Moonrise Cafe)

If you’re craving for some ice cream and waffles but you don’t want to splurge on artisanal gelato or have smoke erupt from your waffles, you can get your ice cream fix from Moonrise Cafe at an affordable price. A simple café with a friendly owner, Moonrise Café serves up classic ice cream flavours such as Belgian Chocolate and Strawberry Cream at $3.80 per scoop, but also more unique flavours such as Cookie Monster (in a strikingly blue colour!), Pistachio and Speculoos at $4.80 a scoop. You may also add a waffle to the mix at just $2.50! For affordable dessert, Moonrise Café is definitely the place to go.

If you’re looking for a quiet spot to study, this café is also a great option as it offers free wifi (just ask the friendly owner!), and also serves main dishes such as lasagne and spaghetti.


2. Ayer Rajah Food Center
Address: Blk 503, West Coast Drive. Ayer Rajah Food Centre, Singapore 120503
Directions: Take 196 from University Town to Clementi Stadium (4 stops) and walk
Hours: Mon – Sun (6am – 1am)
Price: ~$3 – $7

(Source: Trip Advisor)

Located a short walk from NEWest, Ayer Rajah Food Centre is definitely one of the best places to go if you’re looking for the best Indian-Muslim food, especially as the Halal food options in UTown might be rather limited. Mee Goreng, Rojak, Satay, Mee Siam, Briyani – you name it, they’ve probably got it! A few of their most popular stores and food include:


a. A. Rashid Khan (Kambing Soup)

Visit A. Rashid Khan for some delicious kambing soup (Source: Trip Advisor)

Listed as the top contender for the best Kambing (Mutton) Soup in Singapore by Singapore’s Michelin Guide , A. Rashid Khan is a stall you don’t want to miss. With generous chunks of mutton and a complimentary sliced French loaf to dip into the spicy and flavourful soup, this dish is best eaten on a rainy day to warm you up.

b. Habib’s Rojak

Habib’s Rojak serves one of the best Rojak in town (Source: Seth Lui)

Habib’s Rojak has been around for more than 30 years, and the owner, Habib, is the second-generation owner of the stall (his father named the store after him when he was just a year old!). While Habib’s father has handed over the reins of the stall, he still comes down each morning to inspect the food and is strict on ensuring that the ingredients come from the best suppliers. The dedication of Habib and his father to the quality of the Rojak they sell thus makes it unsurprising that this stall has been lauded as one of the best Rojak stalls in Singapore.

As can be seen in the picture above, the stall has a large variety of ingredients that customers can choose to add to their Rojak – some of the most popular ingredients include Tepong Kelapa (coconut fritter), Tepong Telur (a fried hard boiled egg), Tepong Sayur (vegetable ball), and the Crispy Prawn. What makes this stall stand out the most might have to be their delicious secret recipe chilli gravy – a zesty yet sweet gravy that complements the Rojak ingredients well, and always has customers coming back for more.

c. Lee Kee Wanton Noodles

Visit Lee Kee Wanton Noodles for some yummy wanton noodles (Source: MissTamChiak)

While Ayer Rajah Food Centre does specialise in Indian-Muslim food, there are still some stalls selling good quality Chinese cuisine. One such stall where you might see a long line of customers in front of is Lee Kee Wanton Noodles. This stall has been around since 1979 serving generous portions of noodles with roast meats at an affordable price of just $3-4. Many food bloggers have praised the stall as selling restaurant quality food due to the tender and juicy roast meat that is served According to a review on Seth, while the Wanton Noodles serve up some thick and meaty slices of char siew which complement the noodles well, the Roast Duck Noodles serve an extraordinarily juicy and succulent roast duck which takes the cake.

It’s clear that if you’re looking for some good quality and well-cooked roast meat noodle dishes that might be even cheaper than what you can find on campus, Lee Kee Wanton Noodles is your go-to hawker stall.

d. V4Vegetarain

(Source: Happy Cow)

Looking for more vegetarian food options near campus? This unique stall opened by Mummy Yummy operates on a pay-as-you-wish scheme in order to bring affordable vegetarian food to the financially needy in Singapore. By supporting the stall, not only do you get some yummy vegetarian food, the amount you choose to pay will also sustain the stall as they continue to provide affordable and free food to those in need.

Source: Thisen Rau

Source: P Chong

Mummy Yummy serves up a generous portion of Vegetarian Chicken Rice, Vegetarian Laksa, Vegetarian Duck Rice, and more! Source: Thomas Soh

For more information about other popular stalls and food to try, check out this Eatbook Article!


3. Eng Kee Chicken Wings
Address: 505 W Coast Dr, #01-208, Singapore 120505
Directions: Take 196 from University Town to Clementi Stadium (4 stops) and walk
Hours: Tue – Sun (8am – 2pm & 4pm – 8pm)
Price: ~$3 – $7

Next to the Ayer Rajah Food Center is another smaller food court, Eng Kee Kopitiam, where the famous Eng Kee Chicken Wings are found.

These chicken wings have been lauded as one of the best in Singapore, and this writer can attest to that! The wings are meaty, juicy and full of flavour on the outside, and also crunchy on the inside. If you’re looking to eat a full meal, you can also order the chicken wings with bee hoon and other side ingredients (eg. cabbage, sausage, egg etc.).

To find out just how irresistible these chicken wings are, check out this CNA article.


4. Alexandra Village Hawker Centre
Address: 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, Singapore 150120
Directions: Take 33 from New Town Sec Sch to Alexandra Hosp (8 stops) and walk OR take 196 from New Town Sec Sch to Pk Hotel Alexandra (14 stops) and walk
Hours: Tues – Sat (7am – 9pm), Sun & Mon (11am – 9pm)
Price: ~$3 – $7

Alexandra Village is a pretty well-known hawker centre, yet it still deserves a mention for the affordable yet delicious food you can find. All of the stores are sure to serve up some quality food, but here is a selection of their most popular stores based on this writer’s observation of queue lengths and the food reviews online:

a. Shanghai La Mian Xiao Long Bao


These xiao long baos from Shanghai La Mian Xiao Long Bao are a must-try! (if you can brave the queue!) (Source:MissTamChiak)

Helmed by Zhang You Zu, a chef from Nanjing China who has over 30 years of experience in making Xiao Long Bao, Shanghai La Mian Xiao Long Bao is one of the most popular xiao long bao stalls in Singapore. This is evident as the stall has one of the longest queues in the hawker centre, but their delicious xiao long baos are worth the wait!

The secret to the flavourful filling of these xiao long baos is the patience and tender loving care of Zhang and his team. The fillings have to be prepared and marinated overnight for the perfect texture, moisture, and rich flavour.

What’s better is that these xiao long baos are highly affordable at $5 for 8 pieces – even cheaper than the ones you can get on campus! If you ever feel yourself craving for some delicious xiao long baos, now you know where to go.

b. Ashes Burnnit Burgers

Ashes Burnnit serves up some incredibly juicy burgers with charcoal buns
(Source: The Fat Guide)

It’s tough to find affordable yet juicy burgers under $10 that aren’t from McDonalds or Burger King, and burger options are also rather limited on campus. Enter Ashes Burnnit, aptly self-proclaimed as serving up “gormet hawker burgers”, this stall serves up high quality burgers at very affordable prices on a unique charcoal bun. To sweeten the deal, every burger comes with a generous serving of thick and crispy fries, and the stall is also halal certified. If you’re craving a burger but sick of fast food, give Ashes Burnnit a try!

c. Xiang Jiang Soya Sauce Chicken

Lauded by many as the best soya sauce chicken rice in Singapore, Xiang Jiang Soya Sauce Chicken is a must try (but beware of long queues!) (Source: Singapore Foodie)

If you’re bored of getting your usual order of steamed or roasted chicken rice on campus, why not switch it up a little with some delicious soya sauce chicken rice? Xiang Jiang Soya Sauce Chicken has a Michelin Plate and has often been compared to Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle at Chinatown, the stall that received the first ever Michelin Star awarded to a hawker stall. Many food bloggers also consider Xiang Jiang Soya Sauce Chicken to be a worthy contender for one of the best plates of soya sauce chicken in Singapore (some even think it’s better than a certain Michelin Starred hawker stall!). What’s better is that for the low price of $3 and $3.50 for rice and noodles respectively, the Soya Sauce Chicken dish is really value for money and cheaper than most options on campus.

d. Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa

This famous claypot laksa dish is listed on the Michelin Bib Gourmand (Source: Singapore Foodie)

We’re all familiar with laksa, a dish that is easily accessible on campus – but have you ever tried claypot laksa? Ever since receiving the Michelin Bib Gourmand award in 2016, and in subsequent years after that, the stall has become renowned in Singapore for its delicious claypot laksa dish. While it might look like an ordinary bowl of laksa, one taste of the rich and flavourful broth and you’ll know that this dish is something special. Apart from enhancing the flavour of the laksa, the insulating claypot also ensures that your food stays hot throughout your meal!

A small, medium, and large bowl of claypot laksa is priced at $4, $5, and $6 respectively, and is really a steal for the quality of food you are getting.

For more information about some of the most popular stalls and food in Alexandra Village, check out this article by Daniel Food Diary, or this article by Singapore Foodie.

5. Nature Café

Address: Blk 11, Jalan Bt Merah #03-4462/4460
Directions: Take 196 from New Town Sec Sch to Blk 1 (15 stops)
Hours: Mon – Sun (11.30am – 9pm)
Price: ~$7-$13

(Source: Happy Cow)

It can be difficult to find a large variety of vegetarian and vegan options on campus, so the large vegetarian menu of Nature Café is definitely well appreciated. From their Soy Chicken Rice ($6) and Korean Bibimbap Rice ($9.90) to their Nasi Briyani ($8.50) and Mushroom Baked Rice ($12.90), it is clear that they serve a wide range of cuisines. The reviews left by customers also ascertain that the food they serve is delicious and of good quality. If you’re looking for a place with numerous vegetarian options near campus, Nature Café might just check all your boxes!

With this handy list of hidden food gems near campus, you no longer have to feel constrained to the handful of food places in the vicinity of your NUS residence. Whether as a pre or post exam treat, do give these hidden gems a try, and we hope that these suggestions will fill not just your stomach but also your heart!

Know of some other little-known but delicious food places near school that we missed out? Tell us in the comments or DM us on our IG @nusresidentiallife

Bethany Low

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