“Wah, cookhouse food not bad siah,” said my reservist buddies. Having just returned from a 3-week long In-Camp-Training, most of the perpetually hungry NSMan were surprised with the improvement of cookhouse food.

Rewind the shoddy days as a recruit. Fish balls bounced like ping pongs, meat broke plastic forks, rice looked like rocks, and vegetables were yellow.

Guys may remember a decade ago when some grouchy angry ‘chefs’ shouted “f***” all the time. Pure added misery. Now, they are all replaced with smiley uncles and aunties who make you feel right at home.

This ICT, we were practically bombarded with variety from Western Food, Satay Bee Hoon, and Bak Kuk Teh. Plus syrup drinks. Plus desserts. Plus ice cream. Enough to make us fat.

Cpl (NS) Sim remarked, “Sure, got survey lah. Every time got ice cream means survey.”

He was right. There is a difference though. But the receptivity of the feedback have been encouraging, with most respondents saying SAF food was ‘satisfactory’.  Somehow after a survey, the food went back to boring chye peng.

Furthermore, as soldiers were computing responses, they were watched eagle-eyed by a Master Sergeant and a supervisor.

Cpl (NS) Quek grudgingly complained about every meal but said, “Don’t want to key Lousy. They right behind watching. Paiseh .”

There is this auntie who walked around with a clipboard file every meal and sat beside me one lunch. “Boy, like the food? Auntie and uncle came in 3am to prepare you know. Very xin ku, you know?  By the way, tomorrow got survey ah.  You know?“

I definitely know. Both acts were subtle hints to convey You-better-know-what-to-do.

With credit given, I commented to her that there was at least colour in the meals (no longer all pale green), and I no longer have to eat that same chicken patty every meal.

How many eateries out there actually conduct regular surveys to keep on improving? How many restaurant surpervisors would go the extra mile to speak to their customers? Unforunately few and lacking. Having free food dutifully prepared by dependable cooks, what more can I ask for? Let’s not complain too much.

By the way, I keyed “Great”.

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Army Cookhouse Food


  1. my bro used to tabao this army ration back. think it was some curry chicken and dessert! although quite strange in the taste, its not too bad.

  2. Dear nsf, my camp is restricted so I can’t bring any cameras in. This photo is taken from another food blogger with permission. I trust that this is cookhouse food, because that’s it looks like what I get, or even better.

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