Please Mind the Platform Gap: Food In RI

By Coco Liu (20S06L) and Tay Jing Xuan (20S03C)

Disclaimer: All information is accurate as of time of writing, but may be subjected to change.

The cheap and affordable, yet rich flavours of the canteen food may be what some of us are looking forward to when we return to school after the December holidays. Those looking for quick titbits to grab from Chill@RI in between tutorials and lectures can finally do so, too. But with so much to choose from when deciding on a meal or a snack, some of us may feel overwhelmed. After all, do you even remember all that’s sold at the school canteen? Fortunately, we have compiled a list of what is sold at the canteen, Chill@RI, and Professor Brawn Café for you to pick out the food you want!

The Canteen

For the canteen-goers or those curious about what else is sold besides prata and yong tau foo, we bring you a guide to all the stalls in the canteen, including the food sold and their prices.

First, some basics. While opening times of the stalls vary (more details later), every stall closes at around 3–4pm, so you’re better off going to Chill or Professor Brawn Café for an afternoon snack. There’s also a blanket school rule that no food is to be sold from 7.40–8.15am on Tuesdays to Fridays. 

All stalls also have the option of paying electronically, via NETS Scan and/or SG QR. Some stalls also have the option of paying by NETS Flashpay, so there are plenty of options if you aren’t carrying cash. Our stall aunties and uncles are also pretty flexible, and will helpfully accommodate requests like “more rice” or “less spicy” or “no tomato”, but do be prepared for any changes in price that come with such requests.

Wanton Noodles (Stall 1) sells, well, wonton noodles, along with dumpling noodles, shredded chicken noodles and pork ribs noodles, with each bowl costing $3.00 or $3.40 (for the pork ribs noodles). There are also options for add-ons like extra wontons or more noodles, which you can request from the menu displayed. Its opening hours are from 8.30 am to 3 pm, so for those looking to grab lunch, its medium-sized bowls will be the perfect meal. 

Heng’s Cafe – Drinks & Snacks (Stall 2) sells a large variety of drinks and snacks, from both hot and cold beverages to pastries and sandwiches. Pastries, including blueberry cheese tarts and slices of pandan cake, range from $0.60 to $1.20. On top of that, it also sells dim sum (halal certified!) ranging from tau sar pau (red bean bun) ($0.60) to chee cheong fun (rice noodle rolls) ($1.60), as well as bread like Sunshine Cream buns for $1.00. Its drinks, such as freshly brewed Milo, kopi-o and iced lemon tea, range from $0.60 to $1.00, with an additional $0.20 for takeaway. There is also a selection of canned and bottled drinks and a freezer full of ice cream that contain a similar, though smaller, range of items compared to Chill@RI. Since the stall opens as early as 6pm, early birds can head to the canteen for breakfast from this stall.

Yuan’s Western Food (Stall 4) sells Western cuisine, with its menu consisting of carbonara ($2.60), aglio olio ($2.00), chicken teriyaki with rice and vegetables ($2.60) and specials which are only available sometimes like beef stew with rice and vegetables ($3.30). Unbeknownst to most of the school population, they also sell mac and cheese and cheese rice, which are not easy to prepare; they don’t sell it often, usually only from April to May. Their opening hours are from 7.45 am to 4 pm, so if your tutorials or lectures end a little late, you can still swing by for a potato salad ($1.00). There’s also a breakfast set, consisting of French toast, pan-fried sunny side up, sausage, potato and baked beans, all for $1.80.

A selection of items sold at Yuan’s Western Food.

R5 Noodles & Porridge (Stall 5) sells classic noodle dishes like bak chor mee (minced pork noodles), fishball noodles, chicken mushroom noodles, braised chicken noodles and wanton noodles, all of which are sold at $3.00. If you’re lucky, you may also be able to enjoy specials like braised chicken noodles. You can choose from wholegrain mee pok (flat noodles) and mee kia (thin noodles), as well as kway teow (flat rice noodles) and mee tai mak (silver needle noodles) for each bowl. Porridge comes at $3.00 and $3.20 a bowl, with a range of toppings to choose from, such as egg, shredded chicken and meatballs (ranging from $0.30 to $0.80).

Braised chicken noodles from R5 Noodles & Porridge.

The popular Tan’s Chinese Cooked Food stall (Stall 6) sees long lines every day for its wide selection of dishes. It sells rice with two vegetables and one meat item for $2.80 and an extra meat item for $0.50. Aside from mixed rice, they also sell hor fun and carrot cake (with the option of added chilli) if you’re willing to wait an extra five minutes.

Carrot cake from Tan’s Chinese Cooked Food, with added side dishes.

J&E Yong Tau Fu (Stall 7) is one of the newer stalls, replacing the RI Yong Tau Foo stall that ceased operations in 2019. It sells five pieces of items and noodles (with the option of dry or soup noodles) for $3.00, and an extra $0.50 for laksa gravy. One of their most popular items is the dumplings, a clear favourite among most patrons. They offer laksa noodles for just $3.00 as well, if you aren’t up for all five items from the selection. Just note that the waiting time can be quite long as they handle many orders at once, so plan your break times wisely if you plan to eat from this stall.

Fruitful Fruits Stall (Stall 8) sells a wide variety of fruits, juices, milkshakes and desserts, with special blends like butterfly pea tea and snacks like agar-agar. The stall owners are fond of experimentation too, blending milkshakes with unconventional items like nuts and sesame. The prices of their juices and milkshakes range from $1.40 to $1.80, and you can request to add milk and Nata de Coco or for less ice, all for $0.30 extra. Not feeling up for drinks? You can still grab individual pieces of fruit like a small banana for $0.40 or a fruit cup for $1.00, or even a bowl of beancurd for $1.50.

The display case at Fruitful Fruits Stall.

One of the first generation stalls from the 1980s, Lum & Chan Chicken Rice (Stall 9) sells classic chicken rice for $2.30 and offers other dishes such as char siew rice and roasted pork rice ($2.30 each). Each plate of rice comes with chicken soup, and you also have the option of add-ons like bean sprouts, broccoli and curry vegetables for $0.30 to $0.50. While not as frequented as other stalls, the quality of food is high and a good choice for crowded canteen days.

Haw’s Kitchen (Stall 10) is known for its large bowls of ban mian and you mian (each with a base price of $3.00) which come with the options of sliced fish or minced meat and addition of eggs, as well as the tom yum option. Chicken shredded porridge is also sold at the stall for $2.00, with an added $0.30 for egg and another extra $0.40 for more porridge or egg. You can also order mixed rice from the stall, though the selection of dishes is rather small compared to Tan’s Chinese Cooked Food. The stall usually has a slightly longer wait time than other stalls, so do note that you might not have enough time to finish your food during peak periods if you patronise this stall.

Porridge from Haw’s Kitchen.
You mian from Haw’s Kitchen (with added fried shallots and chilli padi).

Aminah Nasi Padang (Stall 11) sells traditional Malay food items like beef rendang and satay chicken with rice. They also offer lontong, mee siam and tahu goreng on some days, and even have tomato sauce macaroni at $2.50 in place of rice. Fried beehoon and kway teow go for $2.00 a plate, too. Each side dish costs from $0.50 to $1.50—if you’re not sure whether you can afford certain items, you can take a look at the menu provided at the side or just ask the friendly uncle or auntie. It also has the benefit of being one of the only two stalls in the Y5–6 canteen that is completely halal.

Nasi Padang with beef rendang and lady’s fingers from Aminah Nasi Padang.

Joy’s Vegetarian (Stall 12) is one of the newer stalls in RI, selling fried rice, spring rolls and beehoon along with clear and herbal soups. Their side dishes go for $0.60 for each serving of vegetables and $1.00 for each serving of mock meat, and egg is sold at $0.50. Most of their items are made out of beans, such as the beancurd skin and mock char siew. What some of us might not know, however, is that they sell desserts such as red bean or green bean soup as well, so if you’re craving some hot desserts, you can pop over to check their menu for a hot bowl.

Asia Ghani’s Prata Hut (Stall 13) is one of, if not the most, popular stalls in the canteen. They sell the usual assortment of prata, with plain prata at $1.00, egg or onion prata at $1.50 and cheese prata at $2.00—the minimum order is two pieces of prata. All murtabak sold (chicken, mutton or mushroom) are priced at $3.50 and come with a side of spicy potatoes and fish curry. If you prefer your prata sweet, they also have sugar available. Aside from prata and murtabak, another popular dish is fried rice: the options with meat (chicken or beef) go for $3.50 while egg fried rice costs $2.50. Spice is added as a default, so if you aren’t a fan of spicy food, remember to inform the uncle or auntie. Along with the Nasi Padang stall, it is one of the few halal options available at the school canteen.

Beef fried rice from Asia Ghani’s Prata Hut.
Chicken murtabak from Asia Ghani’s Prata Hut, with a little apple on the side.

Chill@RI

The favourite haunt of many students at break times (or, indeed, the short five minutes between periods), Chill@RI is more than just a convenience stall: it is the convenience stall at RI. It helps that everything sold there is halal, so everyone can enjoy the food. Open from 8am to 7pm on weekdays and 8am to 5pm on Saturdays, Chill@RI has a wide variety of snacks, from classic snacks reminiscent of one’s primary school days (think nitrogen-filled packaging with a “Healthier Choice” sticker) to chocolate and blueberry muffins ($2.20) to small plastic packs of iced gems and biscuits ($1 per pack).

You’re sure to find something you like for a quick bite, or, indeed, a light lunch (sandwiches go for $1.30 to $1.60). If you want some pastries like cheese sticks and chicken pies, be sure to get them quick: they sell out fast and are usually gone by noon. And if you fancy something to combat the heat, there’s a small freezer stocked with ice cream and frozen yogurt. There’s also a wide selection of drinks, from the typical bottles and cans of coffee and various teas to even 1 litre cartons of milk.

Chicken ham and cheese sandwich with vegetables and a pack of Pola Snack from Chill@RI.

If you’re willing (and allowed, given the current climate) to make the trip to the Chill@RI at the Y1–4 campus, you’ll be able to enjoy an even greater variety of options, including the crowd favourite, freshly-made waffles, and other snacks unavailable at the Y5–6 Chill@RI. (Editor’s note: unfortunately, Y5–6 students are currently not allowed to visit the Y1–4 Chill@RI.)

Besides the edibles, Chill@RI also sells various other things, from medicines like Panadol and Strepsils to sanitary pads and tissue paper, and, perhaps surprisingly (and fortunately, if you’re celebrating a friend’s birthday and need to light candles), lighters. The microwave at the back of the shop is also free-to-use, if you need to heat something up.

Professor Brawn Café 

Last but not least, we come to the RI branch of Professor Brawn Café. Located close to the main gate, the café is slightly further away from the other food haunts in the Y5–6 campus. It opens on weekdays from 8am to 5pm. Do note that it only accepts cashless payment (EZ-Link or NETS will do).  (Editor’s note: Professor Brawn Café now sets up a mini stall at the Y5–6 canteen daily due to the COVID-19 situation and hence the current options may be limited.)

Main menu items include breaded fish ($6), chicken bolognese ($3.80), and truffle chicken ($5.50). There is also a selection of pizza, such as Hawaiian pizza and vegetarian pizza, with prices ranging from $4.50 to $5.50. Besides these, Professor Brawn Café also offers bites like a small bowl of potato wedges ($1.80), chicken wings ($2.50 for 4 pieces), Caesar salad ($3.50) and chicken burger ($3.50), subject to availability. Desserts like a slice of chocolate mud cake ($2.90) and butter cupcakes ($1.20) are also available. 

Drinks sold at the café are split into two categories: drinks from Gong Cha and other drinks. Unfortunately, Gong Cha drinks do not include some favourites; in an effort to provide healthier drinks, only a few options are available, such as Earl Grey Milk Tea ($2.80), Mango Green Tea ($2.70), and Oolong Tea ($2.00). Addition of either white pearls or herbal jelly costs an extra $0.30. Besides the selection from Gong Cha, Professor Brawn café also offers classic hot drinks like cappuccino ($2.00), latte ($2.00), and chamomile tea ($1.60).

One boon of the café is that it’s the only place where you can enjoy dining in an air-conditioning place (Chill@RI is also air-conditioned, but you can’t eat in the shop) except for classrooms and LTs, which can provide some much-desired respite from the heat. 

In conclusion…

School isn’t just all about studying, extracurricular activities and exams—take some time to appreciate the finer things in school life, like the wide variety of food offered alongside H3 subjects and RA. You won’t have to worry about going hungry in the middle of the day with affordable fare all around the school, satisfying the indecisive, the perpetually hungry and the light stomachs.

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