Hello fellow broke students,
I’m Chad Mayo (obviously not my real name), a freshie at NUS. Whenever I surf the web and check for cheap, good eats that are within my poor student budget, I usually come up with a whole lot of suggestions but most of these articles are vaguely descriptive, sometimes going as far as to claim to be ‘below’ a certain price point but end up to exceed it once you include your dreaded 10% service charge and 7% GST, acting as if it doesn’t make a difference.
Well heads up, it may not be a lot of money to you but for a budget strapped student like me, $1-$2 can go a long way. I believe quite a few of us like to maximize the bang for our buck and not blow a crater in our wallets all the time.
So limpeh decided to start this casual site to inform all you kakis out there the good and cheap foods in Singapore! Preferably near your school or in your school (whether NUS, NTU, SMU or secondary schools/polys).
Lets’ just get this straight, I am NOT sponsored by anyone, nor will I accept any paid reviews now or in the future without any disclaimers. Because I want to give you my unbiased opinion, whether it is total shit and you should avoid like the Zika virus, or if its’ so damn good that you can get fat eating it.
So don’t expect professional advice or gastronomic description of the food, I’m a practical Singaporean that doesn’t belive in making things sound atas or over hyping something. Also, I will be using Singlish quite a bit, because why cannot leh? Got problem ah? Just kidding.
Now on the review: is it good or not?
Today’s Good or Not review features NUS’ Yusof Ishak House canteen. The picture above was taken earlier in the day, when I had some free time before my next activity in the afternoon and since it was nearby, I decided to pay this place a visit!
I heard some good things about this place from my friend, who regularly comes to this canteen because as he said ‘it got air-con mah and the food also not bad’. Given that I have eaten many a cai png in my life, some good and some barely edible, I think I am a cai png expert (just like we all are).
The queue wasn’t that long since it was cai png, so in no time it was my turn. The stall itself looked hygienic, plus the staff were really quick to serve people. Nothing against people who take close to a century to serve you, but that efficiency impressed me.
I didn’t have time to look at the selection of dishes, but meh they looked pretty ordinary to me, so I just anyhow whack 1 veg, 1 meat and 1 egg.
Above was what I got: tomato scrambled egg, kung bao pork (this stall is non-halal my Muslim friends) and some kind of spicy long beans.
Nothing amazing to look at, it came with free egg-drop soup with some seaweed, much like those Korean kopitam stalls where they give you the soup and condiments.
Looked pretty appealing, maybe it was the amount of oil used, which BOY the veg was coated in a layer of impermeable oil. On to the taste test though: Good or Not?
I wasn’t expecting much, since I paid about $3.10 for the three dishes, pretty affordable considering the amount of food they gave, so nothing to complain about that.
When i first took a mouthful of the rice and egg, I immediately realized the rice was no ordinary rice. It was Japanese shortgrain rice! Now now calm down, it wasn’t like those mind-blowingly good quality Japanese shortgrain rice, but eh for $3 not bad already hor!
What impressed me the most was the egg. I’m no chicken egg expert but having tasted some overcooked eggs in cai png, I was very surprised this scrambled egg tasted much like a fluffier, more Western-type of scrambled egg. No butter or creme-fresh but still quite smooth and cooked well.
The kung bao pork was the next winner. In NUS, there is a very horrible tasting kung bao ji (kong bao chicken) claypot at ahem-ahem canteen. I’m not going to disclose the location, I might do a review on that stall and maybe give it another chance before I condemn it to the list of food that ‘you give me free I also don’t want eat’ . This kung bao pork was slightly sweet, but you could really taste the stickiness and dried chili. I bit into one of the dried chilies to taste if they used legit ingredients and boy, did it give me a slight kick! Not very hot but still spicy enough to classify it as kung bao.
So the pork and egg were winners, but how about the soup and veg?
The vegetable I got, the minced meat with spicy long beans was albeit oily but had the requisite spice to it to make it edible. Nothing impressive, but nothing horrible. Just average vegetable. The soup too, was bland and had a slight seaweed and egg flavour, but the type that is close to dishwashing liquid but still drinkable (trust me, I know how dishwashing liquid tastes like, don’t ask how).
Overall, based on the ambience (got ambience meh) okay okay does environment sound more fitting? The environment was good, given that it wasn’t too noisy like a pasar malam, cooling due to the air-conditioning, properly lit and hygienic to say the least. The food itself lands in the above average category, some dishes may be a bit oily but the flavour of the ingredients have been fully brought out with the spices! Well done I must say and pretty worth the price!
I rate it a 3/5 – pretty good for cai png already hor. So good or not? Recommended lor, especially if you study in NUS or work around the area. Not worth travelling for though, so save your MRT fare, nowadays very expensive to travel liao.
Address: 31 Lower Kent Ridge Rd, Singapore 119078
Damage: Expected $2.50 onwards