First Round of Interviews


We interviewed 8 random students at North Spine to better understand their food eating experiences in NTU. We started off the interview with general questions like where they would usually eat and their reasons for choosing the places. To get deeper insights, we had them walk us through their entire thought process from the moment they decide to eat. Finally, to end off, we asked them to recall times where eating in school brought up certain emotions like joy, frustration, embarrassment and so on.


  1. Where do you usually eat in campus?
  2. Why do you eat there?
  3. Who do you eat with?
  4. What do you usually eat and why?
  5. What time of the day do you eat?
  6. Walk me through your eating experience from the minute you decide you have to eat something to actually eating.
  7. What is your favorite food around campus?
  8. Tell me about your best eating experience in school.
  9. Tell me about your most frustrating eating experience in school.
  10. Tell me about your most embarrassing eating experience in school.
  11. Do you have any dietary preferences?


Interview Insights


  • NIE canteen is closed early, even though the food is liked by many.
  • Limited halal options, usually McDonalds or KFC.
  • Many vegetarian options available.
  • Most students that we interviewed mentioned that they usually eat with friends and don’t like eating alone because it’s “awkward”.
  • Most students really cared about the food quality and three respondents mentioned that they won’t mind paying more to get better quality food in NTU.
  • In relation to what students feel is a good eating experience: 1.Friends, 2.Convenience, 3.Environment, 4.Price

Many are frustrated by the lunch crowds, queues, and difficulty in finding seats.


Chanel – random girl eating chocolate puff

  • Usually eats at hive – the pasta
  • Eats with friends who take the same module as me
  • I eat the tom yum pasta every time I’m in school
  • The pasta place closes at 3pm now, they have opening hours for lunch and dinner now, guessing it’s to save on manpower
  • Bought the chocolate puff as part of a fundraising effort to help out kids in developing nations
  • Originally going to buy fries at macs, but was on the walkway here when they were selling chocolate puff
  • I don’t feel healthy eating the chocolate puff at all, in fact, I feel more unhealthy than eating fries because I can taste the sugar
  • Memorable eating experience: Chilli hot dog was better than expected, most people would think it would be the low-grade hot dog, but it was good – it was American style with fries
  • Frustrating eating experience: banyan hall hot pot, mala flavor, the soup was bland and weird, there’s no sweet and sour, just spicy bland, will not go back there to eat again
  • No dietary preferences, but will avoid koufu, the options are there but the food quality isn’t good


  • Kenisha – Vegetarian
    • Eats at the vegetarian store at koufu which is nicer than the canteen 1
    • Veggie crunch at Macdonalds – I don’t konow what’s inside, doesn’t look like me
    • I still eat the egg, so subway egg mayo
    • Yong tau foo @ Quad
    • Normally eats with friends who go to the lecture with her
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner, according to the timetable, but dinner is usually 5.15pm
    • Hall 11 caifan stall
    • Not picky about food
    • I prefer koufu actual vegetarian stall, compared to hall 11 because hall 11 will have small shrimps in their food
    • Repetitive eating – not really exploring new stalls
    • The first place I ate at in NTU was the vegetarian stall in koufu, was happy she could eat at a specific place
    • Most memorable eating experience: canteen 9 mala, it’s not because of the food, but the people I was with
    • People will ask because my food is different during orientation camp, and that’s when people will know that I am vegetarian
    • I just tell people “ I don’t want to eat meat”


Jia Hui & Yu Hui

  • Usually, eat at Koufu because its close to classes
    • Unfortunately very busy and hard to find a seat!
  • Eat together with friends
  • Usually, determine which food to have based on length of the queue
  • Ice Cream from McD’s my favorite food
  • Food at Koufo is okay, and the price is okay too
    • NS food is better but costs slightly more
  • No dietary restrictions or major preferences



  • Lower quality food at Koufu – “mass produced”
  • Prefer NS food, even though it’s more expensive
  • Eats with friends when he has classes with them, eats alone otherwise (most friends on the exchange this semester)
  • Usually, eat Malay food at NS cause he’s half Indonesian
  • Typically eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • But for this semester, due to packed lessons, he has late lunch
  • Usually, eat when hungry
  • Find a table first, walk from first to the last stall to check out offerings, but always go back to Malay food & mini wok stall.
  • Doesn’t like queueing – the number of people queuing effects choice of stall
  • If have lessons and rushed for time, will just get a quick snack
  • Frustrating experience: Lunch crowds at Koufu, hard to find a seat. Will not eat there if alone, but will take time to find seats if with a group of friends. Disappointing because his school is nearby.
  • When eating alone, dabao to a study corner. “Doesn’t feel right, feel alone. Doing things that not much people are doing”
  • Won’t feel as alone if eating alone in Koufu
  • No pleasant eating experience.
  • Dietary preference: No beef, not so spicy.

Anonymous 1 (Malay girl, Mechanical engineering)

  • Usually eat at Macs or NIE, because near the school, but will still eat around NS even if no classes.
  • Doesn’t really like the NS Malay food stall
  • Don’t eat a lot
  • Sometimes cook in the hall
  • Eat with friends outside, doesn’t like eating alone “I think it’s awkward”
  • Wakes up after breakfast, so no breakfast.
  • Sometimes eat one main meal (lunch and dinner) cause “broke” and saving money.
  • Ask friends if want to eat. Hard part is deciding where to eat. Friends usually make her decide since she’s the “burden” one that needs Halal food, but she is very indecisive. Usually, go to NS so friends can dabao from the food court as well. Goes for the least oily food – chooses KFC $5 meal Shroomz burger (has the impression that KFC is less oily than Macs).
  • Has a fridge in the hall, but does not buy many fresh groceries. Groceries can last her a few weeks (macaroni, udon, Maggi, mac&cheese, soba, miso soup). Cooks steamboat in the hall with friends. More healthy than eating outside
  • Doesn’t consider herself to be a healthy eater (eats only 1 meal a day), but tries her best.
  • Embarrassing moment: ordered food at macs, spilled drinks and fries on the floor. Asked cleaner to help clean up. Just ate a burger.
  • Frustrating experience: someone cut her queue. Ignored her even when she confronted the person.
  • Dietary preference: Halal. Limits options. But makes do!

When she fell sick: asked her friend to dabao soup spoon even though it’s not halal, but did not have pork.


Wei Liang

  • Usually only here once per week as p.t. master student
    • When living in hall, usually ate at Can 14 for convenience
  • Often eats at NIE canteen for convenience
    • Value for money is good
    • Not picky about quality
  • For specific foods goes to specific places
    • Can 2 for beef rice
  • Now eats with colleagues during day and family in the evening
    • Usually eaten with girlfriend or hallmates, classmates or friends during UG
  • Likes noodles at NIE, also Nasi padang
    • Nasi Padang is favorite because it is tastier!
  • McD’s is okay at NS
    • Right now chicken prosperity burger is sold out!
    • He likes it because it is open late compared to canteens
  • As a master student, classes from 6 till 9 usually
    • Eats at 5 pm often
    • Canteen A, anything easy
  • Today had eaten Subway because McD’s didn’t have what he wanted, but he doesn’t have it often. Just gets cheapest option
    • Chooses veggies based on the sauce
  • The most special experience was getting the mini hot pot and eating in the room for Valentine’s day dinner with girlfriend
  • Most frustrating thing is queuing, especially around lunch
    • At restaurant would have higher expectations, but for canteens, only paying a few dollars, he has low expectations about service
  • No dietary restrictions like spicy stuff but embrace many cuisines.
  • Likes to have balance in diet, and doesn’t want to pay too much

Anonymous 2 (Crespin guy) (Not Recorded)

  • Usually eat at Koufu, since nearest to his school
  • Eats with friends
  • What brings you here to NS today? My car is parked nearby at hall 14
  • Meals depend on the schedule. Usually skips breakfast and has lunch at 11-ish. If have lessons, might have lunch later.
  • Deciding what to eat: Must not be the same kind of food eaten the day before, and avoid stalls with queues.
  • Fav food: Japanese cuisine
  • Memorable eating experience: None in NTU. But gyudon at Yoshinoya was good “the egg was good”
  • No dietary preferences