Yong Tau Foo in NUS and Where to Find Them
Note: this is a collab article written together with Faith!
(Source: Daniel Food Diary)
In hawker centres and coffee-shops, you can often spot a particular stall displaying fresh produce stacked in rows. It looks like a tiny supermarket! Unless it’s a mala stall, the layout of raw ingredients is usually a sign that Yong Tau Foo (YTF) is around! It is a Hakka Chinese dish consisting of ingredients that customers choose themselves off the shelves and can be savoured in many ways. The dish name stands for “stuffed tofu” in Chinese, which is often the deciding factor that determines how good a YTF store is! Most popular and well-known stores are usually praised for their handmade stuffed tofus. Apart from various types of tofus, ingredients offered are primarily vegetables, eggs and processed meat (fishballs, sausages, etc).
YTF can be eaten ‘dry’ or ‘with soup’ – customers can choose if they want to have the ingredients drizzled with sauces or have them in soup. Clear soup base is the default soup option, and some stalls offer curry or laksa soup base. Some stalls also offer the frying option for certain ingredients, so that you get both fried and boiled items, experiencing greater textures in one meal! There is definitely a variety. After the ingredients and soup base are chosen, you also get to decide if you want to have your YTF with a staple food. Options offered are usually rice, noodles and bee hoon (rice vermicelli).
Yong Tau Foo stalls are common in Singapore, and they can be found in different corners of NUS too! Today, we will be reviewing the YTF stalls across campus and determine: WHICH IS THE BEST YTF?
*Disclaimer: These are the Yong Tau Foo stores that we are aware of. If there are more (hidden?) YTF stalls on campus, or there are stalls deserving of a spot in this list, please tell us HAHAH. On top of that, the reviews below are all based off our personal experiences!
1. The Deck’s Yong Tau Foo & Laksa stall
(Source: NUS Campus Life)
Yong Tau Foo from The Deck is probably the most well-known one in this list amongst NUS students! It is often the stall with the longest queue during lunch time. (In fact, there will be TWO long queues since you would have one for ingredients picking and one for payment LOL.) Based on my personal experience, one can take up to 40 minutes to get a bowl of YTF when the queue gets really long.
Located in FASS, this YTF stall is known for its affordability and its laksa soup base. A standard clear soup base YTF with six ingredients and one staple food of your choice is only $2.80! It is not a price that you get to see in any food courts these days….
(Source: Faith :))
This is a warm bowl of foodstuff that you can enjoy during a colder or windy day. While both clear and laksa soup bases are on the bland side, this is good news because it means that the YTF will 1) have a balanced taste that allows you to finish the soup and 2) be healthier. The aunties are very generous with the rice and noodles too, so it’s guaranteed that you’ll feel full even just by ordering the minimum amount.
There is no doubt that you’ll be getting a bang for your buck here, however, there’s precious time being poured into acquiring this banger. Moreover, the selection of ingredients is often limited because there are simply too many people! By the time it is your turn to pick ingredients, the racks may be partially empty, or left with less fresh items. In a way, you’ll be getting what you pay for: a student-friendly, but not the most flavourful Yong Tau Foo.
PLUS POINTS ✅ :
affordable to the common broke uni student
accessible to the local FASS Student (and COM students)
SAD POINTS 😢 :
the ingredients disappear faster than my CAP can drop
no beancurd skin (Faith likes beancurd skin in YTF)
2. Red Spot in One@KentRidge
As an alternative to the lack of Yong Tau Foo in Science, we took the shuttle bus down a stop further and had the YTF in One@KentRidge! Sounds unfamiliar? That’s the name of the NUH mall….With an entrance right next to Kent Ridge MRT station, this YTF stall can be easily accessed by both the public and NUS students. However, this accessibility also causes the food court to be super crowded. It was as bad as The Deck during its lunch hour rush.
We ordered one with clear soup base and one with curry soup base, which were the two available soup options. For the standard amount of ingredients (6 pieces), the price ranges from $5 - $7.
(What we got)
The portion was good for the price, which is expected for a stall in a public mall (instead of school). Both our soups were very flavourful; they came with a hint of fish head. The stuffed tofu also had a strong soybean taste, just like handmade tofus, which is amazing! NUH’s Yong Tau Foo stall that is definitely worth a visit if you prefer having YTF on the richer and more savoury side.
(Us visiting! Ogod it was super crowded during lunch hours)
PLUS POINTS ✅ :
filling for the average female stomach
can get KOI once you’re content
SAD POINTS 😢 :
fighting for your life getting a table at Red Spot
still no beancurd skin…
3. UTown’s FoodClique Yong Tau Foo
Zi Jia Yong Tau Foo in UTown’s Flavours @ FoodClique may be familiar to frequent visitors of UTown (University Town). Whilst its queue length may not be able to beat its fellow stalls, it is definitely an option not to be overlooked!
The stall offers clear, spicy and laksa soup bases, and it is known for its laksa soup, its ’dry’ option and the option to fry some ingredients! For the range of ingredients available, this stall actually has the most choices out of all the above-mentioned ones. The price range is similar to NUH’s, ranging from $4 - 7 for a base cost.
PLUS POINTS ✅ :
accessible to a large student population (if you can get on D1/D2)
has beancurd skin 😀
a wide variety of ingredients
SAD POINTS 😢 :
far for the common FASS student (is it really worth the fight for the bus?)
does not fill the average female stomach (for Faith)
kinda expensive…for school food… 🤔
Our final verdict:
Faith’s Ranking of campus YTF: Red Spot>Deck>Utown>Frontier👎🏻
Valerie’s Ranking of campus YTF: Utown>Red Spot>Deck>Frontier
Having visited all the YTF stalls we could find, we are glad to find out that every Yong Tau Foo tasted super different in terms of flavour! If you are intrigued by our post, why not visit one of them someday? :D