You’ll need to eat eventually. You’ll get hungry and thirsty during lectures. There are four main canteens/cafeterias in the main NUS campus. I have not been to the Bukit Timah campus or UTown so I cannot say for those.
My favourite of the lot when there is no crowd. Its commonly known as engin canteen as its next to FoE and SDE. Its easily accessible since its near the central library. Also it has been rated the best for on few occasions (according to the banners they put up). There is a tau huay stall (unique stall), fruit juice stall (practically every canteen has a fruit juice stall) and the normal drinks stall. The drinks stall auntie and uncle are very friendly and its one of the three places to buy 50 cent soft drinks dispensed from a soda fountain. During chinese new year they’ll blast CNY music and dress up to the occasion.
For food, there is the cheapest economial rice I have ever eaten. Less than 2 dollars and you can be full. A halal western food, indian food, muslim food, chinese vegetarian (cheaper to eat the economical rice), noodles store (very nice and cheap), indonesian pangang, soup stall and jap food stall.
Warning: The queues and crowds during lunch is crazy. Coupled with the fact that the food stall area is very small, you’ll be squeezing in and out. Futhermore, the queues are so mangled that you’ll have to ask for which queue you are in. Many people will reply that they don’t know either. So if you queue for indonesian pangang, you might end up for the indian food. If you want MacDonalds, the Macs is next to Technoedge, at the back.
This is the arts canteen. Its found after a little walk through the ADM block and past LT9. Its also near COM1. There is a level 2 to this place that has burger king, and more expensive (attas) indonesian pangang. Only level 2 is air conditioned and students like to study here. (Personally I dont like studying at food outlets, your clothes smell of food and the smell of food distracts from the report you are supposed to write). Level 1 has 2 parts, the upper part and the lower part. Frankly, I get bored of the arts canteen because most of the food are either expensive or mediocore and expensive. However, there is the cheapest yong tau foo you’ll ever get here and therefore the queue is very very long. Theres japanese, economical rice, western snacks and chinese claypot (eat kong pao ji ting). The lower part has the drinks stall, fruit juice stall, noodle stall, roast meat stall, chinese vegetarian, indian and muslim food stalls. Lunch time is also heavily crowded.
Its known as the business canteen but as computing enroaches on the business blocks, it’ll be soon known as computing canteen. I go here becasue there is alot of seating area and far less people since its pretty out of the way for everyone else except computing and business students. Food is interesting. There is a muslim stall selling Pakistani food, a vietnamese stall, noodle stall, korean food stall, economical rice stall, northern chinese delights stall, the usual muslim and indian food. However, there is the popular western food stall which always has a very long queue. This western sells whole german sausages and has western deserts like apple pie, not the usual western you’ll usually eat.
Thats the science canteen. I’m not there very often so I only know a few stalls like the $1.80 wanton mee/ipoh hor fun, indonesian pangang, japanese food, very good nasi padang and noodle/chicken rice stall.
After all the canteens, there is yet not enough food around. If you have deeper pockets, you can eat Subway at YIH in addition to the aforementioned Burger King and Macs. At YIH there is the newly opened air-conditioned Food Junction that has the flagship pepper lunch and expensive others. Cheers convenience store is also found at YIH. Engineering is very big, so there are three cafes spread around for snacks and drinks. One is found along the main level near LT2, another is at block EA and the last is at block E2. As for the rest, I am unaware of them as I have not yet seen them or I may have missed them out so feel free to add them to comments and I’ll add them here.
There is another cafe at the new business building which looks more expensive so I dont even try. Or you can even dine at restraunts at the Alumni building. The new UTown looks set to have even more cafes so I’ll go there and see. If you stay in PGP, you’ll know of the canteen there. Otherwise, if you feel bored (wuliao) you can take the shuttle bus there and eat.