Curry Yong Tau Foo is famous at NUS’s The Deck! I love Yong Tau Foo because in my mind, it is a bowl sized version of steamboat/hotpot, where you pick what you want to eat, it gets dunked in hot stock to warm up, and becomes delicious after. I know this is not the most accurate version of Yong Tau Foo, but this is what I think of Yong Tau Foo as, because I just love eating steamboat. Crazy in hot Singapore, I know. Also, there are fried stuff in YTF, which I love!
Anyway, Curry YTF at NUS’s The Deck is one of my favorites, and the top 3 things to eat at NUS, where I spent four years of my life as an undergraduate. The lines are always long because the food is fresh and prices are good – a little cheaper than you can get outside of campus! It used to be 7 items for $2.50, add 30c for the curry sauce. For my humongous appetite, my bowl with the curry sauce is usually around $3.50, but that’s because I like to add a lot of liao (ingredients.) Here’s what I usually get: soft tofu, tofu fishcake (at least 1, but sometimes 2), seaweed, fishball, meatball, crispy wonton, a stuffed veggie (eggplant/mushroom/chili/lady’s finger), kangkong, another veggie (xiao bai cai) with bee hoon (rice vermicelli) and curry broth. This is combination after years of fine-tuning! It offers a little bit of everything, and balances out well texture-wise.
It is also very easy to order this seemingly complicated meal. You get to pick what you want and they make your bowl individually for you? This would have been nightmare if not for the orderly ways of Singapore! You go up, grab a bowl and some tongs, then pick whatever you want and put it in the bowl. If you want some veggies, they have little bits of whatever veggie they have, and you just pick one leaf and put it in your bowl – don’t worry, you will get more when they cook the bowl! When you are done with your pickings, give the aunty your bowl and tell her what noodles/rice you’d like, and if you would like curry sauce or regular broth. She will make her markings using clothes pegs, and you can now join the ‘waiting’ line, where you will be served in order of when you gave the aunty your bowl. When you get your cooked food, you pay, then go to another station to get the sauces – the dark one is a sweet sauce and chili. Then enjoy! It’s not so complicated!
Here, you can see a typical curry YTF I would have. I love those fish cake tofu things (long slabs!) – they are the best! So, if you’re ever by NUS or the Buona Vista/Clementi area, do drop by and get a bowl of curry YTF. It is well worth making a trip to the uni and squeezing with tons of students there.
Yong Tau Foo and Laksa
Address: National University of Singapore
NUS, Blk 5, Arts Link, Level 1 (The Deck) S117570
Price Range: $ ($0 to $10 per person)