October 2011 | issue #07
ith the opening of H&M andSingapore International FilmFestival, it’s inevitable that our
nances are stretched a little too thin this
month and probably also the next. So thisissue, a challenge was posed to three of our writers- to have two meals in school totallingbelow $4.50. So read on to learn our penny-
pinching ways and still be able to aord a run
of the mill H&M dress and up your culturalcapital at the same time. We’ve also included a Popsicle special that willhopefully spell the demise of the fro-yo waveand the sickeningly humid weather. Winifred
F o o d / T r a v e l
ondays are always plagued with retrospective vibes. Youget up early in the morn-ing, and the accumulated fatigue overthe past weekend, of late parties and/or term papers (likely the former forthe majority), tears at your loins like a
frenzied beast. Of course, you make it
to school, as you do every Monday, witha resolution to prevent all followingMondays from experiencing the samenausea and hangovers. Not to mentionthe guilt of over-expenditure. You finish 5 straight hours of lectures(or at least the hand behind this pendid), and simply desire some semblance
of normalcy from a crazy weekend –
something non-extravagant, conven-tional and most importantly, cheap.Good taste would be a plus. Enter FoodConnection’s Steamed Chicken Rice,a $2.20 serving of Spartan goodness.The chicken was austere and nothingto rave about. It was not too oily or dry and slightly bland, but it well suitedmy Monday disposition. The rice on theother hand was a fragrant affair, unlikethe clumpy sort we’re accustomed to inlocal coffee-shops.Canteen 2’s waffles for dinner, on theother hand, made a delightful expe-rience. The first thing that caughtmy attention was the absence of thesynthetic pandan taste, synonymous with usual waffles and pandan cakes.This waffle actually delivered. Freshly made on the spot, the kaya waffle had just the right amount of crispiness to it.I’m quite a stickler as to how my kaya isspread over my waffles, so the fact thatthe spread was evenly done was a huge
plus. On the overall, the waffle had
neither any overpowering sensationsnor blandness, and I bet my bottomdollar that the students in Hall 2 areglad that they stay right beside these.Plain waffles go at a dollar each andflavoured ones go at $1.50. Verdict: Keeping my budget under$4.50 is actually possible. Eating cheapand good is no better end to the day and start to the week.Stall A) Lunch: Canteen B Yong Tau FooThis stall is a lifesaver for strugglingstudents who wish for a healthy and wholesome solution to their starving wallets. With a variety of ingredients tochoose from – a non-fried piece startingat just $0.30 – it is no wonder a giganticsnake of a queue forms at this stall every lunch-break. Pick a few choice vegetables(I recommend the bundle of cai xin), afew meats (perhaps the everyday sausage,luncheon meat or fatty pork) and maybeeven some tofu, an egg, wanton, tau pok– and you are good to go!Next, choose your preferred noodles orrice: bee hoon, kway teow or yellow noo-dles. Lastly, choose your form of broth.The plain broth is absolutely free, butif you fancy spicing it up – the pork rib(bak kut teh), tom yam and laksa brothsare just an additional $0.50 each.
On a particularly chilly day, I decided to
go with the thick, oily goodness of a lak-sa broth, with cai xin, a sausage, a carrot,2 slices of tau pok and a prawn wanton –all for just $2.50. My fellow thrifty friendusually picks a bowlful of vegetables andtofu, with bee hoon and plain broth –and ends up paying a negligible $1.90 fora full, healthy lunch. Stall B) Dinner: Canteen B Nasi PadangThey say “breakfast like a king and din-ner like a pauper.” This saying does notring true in the NTU context, where afull dinner is available at less than $2.
The Nasi Padang stall offers a dazzling
array of ingredients to choose from –from traditional Indonesian foods likerendang to the sumptuous everyday friedchicken. They have a wide selection of staples too – rice, noodles; even ready-made meals like mee goreng, mee rebus,mee soto. If you are one who likes heavy foods but lacks the luxury of money, thisstall should appeal to you. I picked friedspiced bee hoon with acar, sambal tofuand long beans. This meal only cost me$1.80. Verdict: In total, my 2 meals were a mere$4.30. Economical!
The Cheap Challenge: What Challenge?The CheapChallenge:Possible PlusChange to Spare
The Cheap Challenge: Near Impossible
t’s not yet the middle of semester, but we poor students are already drown-ing in our readings and reports. I am,personally, floundering in thousands of lines of unintelligible Middle Englishpoetry. To relieve our affliction, we canrepress our worries with alcohol, smoky smelly clubs or… food. Dreaded long daysin school with equally long breaks canonly bring about the munchies. Have aton of spare change ready for your newbest friend: the vending machine forsnacks. For the sake of this article, how-
ever, I am required to shove the Oreos
and chips aside for two big meals instead.Canteen B is nearest to my favourite spotfor slaving away to schoolwork. Witha budget of only $4.50 for two meals, Isniffed around for the best (and cheap-est) deals. For lunch, I picked the Indianstall’s white rice with beef in thick spicy curry, as well as potato masala andbeansprouts as the obligatory veggie sidedish. The beef was exceedingly tender,but the potato masala was a guilty carbaddition to the heap of rice already piledon my plate. The dish was a total of $2.50. At 7 pm, I could hardly imagine whatto have for dinner. With the constraintof the $2 budget that remained, I sadly turned away from the Western stall’sspaghetti and resignedly queued at theMalay food stall. I confess – I failed tokeep to the budget. My simple (and deli-cious) meal of fried maggi, fried chickenand hotdogs in sambal totaled $2.30. I was sadly $0.30 over the budget. My daily bubble tea was even cruelly sacrificed forthis article. Verdict: The challenge was interestingbut a girl like me needs her fussy drinksand little snacks. You don’t need muchconvincing - it’s near impossible to havetwo full meals with a budget of $4.50.