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UON Food Hunt: Where are the cheapest meals on campus?

With so many food options on Callaghan campus, it can be hard to choose where to eat. Yak took a look at the food on campus, what options you have and where you can get the best value for money.

Every student probably has a favourite food outlet on campus and could tell you at least thirteen reasons why their favourite is better than the rest. It might be because of the service, the menu or how well they cater for students with specific dietary needs. For many students, however, one of the most important factors in deciding where to eat at Callaghan is the price. But what is the cheapest place to get a meal on campus? We looked at some of the options to find out.

Starting with Shortland side, there are a fair few options in the Shortland Building with a variety of prices. Bakehouse is almost universally considered the cheapest with its campus-famous $7.50 meal deal which gets you a pie or roll, a pastry or muffin, and a drink. That’s a fair bit of food for a low price but the vegetarian quiche and spinach and ricotta roll are the only vegetarian options and there aren’t any vegan options.

Although Pinkies is most often known for snacks and sugar, they did start selling frozen meals last year. Options include pasta dishes like mac and cheese or lasagna, curries and potato bakes. Most appear to be meat-based with few vegetarian or vegan options. A small frozen meal will cost you $5 while a larger meal with cost you $8.50. There doesn’t seem to be any deals attached to the frozen meals but they do tend to be a bit more filling than a pie. Also, take into account that these meals aren’t ready-to-go like some other options and will take approximately five to ten minutes reheating in a microwave depending on the size of the size of the meal. Fortunately enough, Pinkies does have a microwave in the store. Refrigerated meals that have a shorter reheat time are also available but check in-store for the prices and options available.

Subway has a wide variety of options that range in price. Depending on the main filling, a six-inch sub can cost anywhere from $6.50 to $9.20 while a foot long sub can be from $8.65 to $12.30. If you’re looking to avoid the gluten in the bread, you can get any sub made as a salad in a bowl instead for a similar price to a foot long. If you’re trying to keep track of what you’re eating, Subway has the most easily available dietary information accessible on their website.

The Brennan Room Cafeteria has a few competitive meal options as well with the $10 deals being the most obvious. With the burger deal, the roast roll deal, the fish fillet deal and the chicken schnitzel deal you get the main item with chips and a 375ml can of soft drink for $10 The drink can be substituted for water or juice or any other drink but it cost more. For a few healthier options you can get a salad (either Greek or Chicken Caesar) for $7.95. Sandwiches are $4.40, full wraps are $8.50, half wraps are $4.95. Vegetarian focaccias are $7.95 while meat focaccias are $8.95. No deals appear to be available for these items.

On the slightly pricier side of things, there are a few options. In terms of meals at Godfrey Tanner Bar, you have a few choices ranging from $10 to $12 such as a House Chopped Salad, New York Dog, Classic Cheeseburger, Beef Ruben, Fried Bologna Sub as well as several types of filled bagel for $10. Gluten-free bread is available and meat can be substituted for mushrooms in dish.

Mamaduke has a fairly extensive menu across a range of prices. On their ‘Light Meals menu, they have wedges with a choice of toppings for $10, several varieties of pizza breads that come with fries for $11.50 and a few choices of baguettes with a side of fries for $13.50. Their burger menu has a few options, including a veggie burger and several burgers that can be made gluten-free, for $14. All burgers come with fries as well. All chicken schnitzel options come with fries too. A plain schnitzel will cost you $16.50 while the topped schnitzel options cost $18 each.

It was also recently announced that after a brief hiatus in service, The Vegetarian Club of Newcastle University’s Veggie Lunch will be back this semester. According to the club, UON’s Infrastructure and Facility Services were reviewing food providers on campus and the Veggie Lunch service was halted until they club received further notice. Based on last year’s prices, for a recommended $6 donation you’ll get a vegetarian meal that changes from week to week. As they’ve only just announced their return, check for yourself to see if there have been any price changes. This year, the Veggie Lunch will only be in the Auchmuty Courtyard once a week on Thursdays but they’ve also been invited by NUSA to join them in serving lunch from the NUSA buildings on Tuesdays as well.

Alex, Sophie and Monique tested some of the food options on campus on the latest episode of Yak TV. Check it out below and then continue reading for all the details on the food of the Hunter side.

Looking at Hunter side, there are fewer options for places you can get a meal. Aromas in the Hunter Building has a wide range and is one of the only places on campus that have an explicitly vegan option like the $9.30 oat porridge. Though that’s the only vegan option there are several vegetarian options like $13.50 green bowl,  $9.50 mushroom burger (or $12.70 with a side of chips), and $10 mushroom and sage pasta. Other options on the menu include burgers that range from $10.20 to $13.50 with the option to add chips for $3.20, $9.50 fish and chips, $10 steak and chips and the $13 chicken parmigiana with chips. There’s also a $2 charge to switch to gluten-free bread.

Bar on the Hill’s a menu is a bit harder to pin down. Staff told us that the menu often consists of specials and is subject to change frequently. To give some sense of prices and what’s on offer, as of Week 4 their menu includes items like a $14 cheeseburger, chicken burger or mushroom burger, and $12 chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy. There is also a range of salads starting at $10, fish and chips with a choice of one side for $14 and a vegetarian dish that comes with your choice of two sides for $14. Check regularly for yourself to see what is on offer.

In the Huxley Library, there’s the Fast Fuel Cafe, which also has a second location in the Auchmuty Information Common. Their selection across the two locations is pretty broad including $9.90 toasted Turkishes, and a range of salads – including gluten-free and vegetarian options – that cost from $9.50 to $11.90. They also have a few wraps, including one vegetarian option, priced at $8.50. They also offer a selection of meals like the satay beef noodle bowl and gluten-free beef korma for $10.95 and the vegan curry for $9.90.

So there are some of the options and deals on offer for food at Callaghan campus. If you know where to look, there are quite a few options priced $10 or under but how healthy and filling those options definitely varies by location. Vegans and vegetarians may have a harder time finding something that cheap across campus, with vegetarian options more present on campus than vegan options. Options that cater to other dietary requirements like gluten-free are available on campus but are often priced higher or incur an extra charge.

Think we got it wrong? Any deals we missed? Let us know in a comment here or on Facebook and help your fellow hungry students out!

Video Credits:

  • Director: Nikola Jokanovic
  • Co-Director/Production Assistant: Edward Tebay
  • Camera 1: Tiana Edwards
  • Camera 2: Nick Smit
  • Sound: Oliver Schultz
  • Editors: Layla Beech and Mitchell Catt
  • Presenters: Alexandra Mangano, Sophie Austin, Monique Aganovic
  • Writers: Jessica Muspratt, Sophie Austin

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