What is res food like at UCT?


I’ve heard that res food isn’t so great. What is it really like? Are there different options and do they cater for different dietary requirements? Is there always enough to eat?


This is one of the most common questions asked by students about to join a residence. The simple answer is that it depends on the individual. Personally, I have always enjoyed res meals, and have always been satisfied by the available options, but I also know several students for whom this is not the case. The portion sizes are normally sufficient, and there’s unlimited bread etc available to top it up. I’d say that if you are particularly picky about what you eat, or have very particular dietary requirements, res food is not for you, but otherwise you won’t have a problem.

When applying for residence, you are allowed to choose a specific meal plan. The options are

  • 3 meals a day, 7 days a week
  • breakfast and dinner, 7 days a week
  • lunch and dinner, 7 days a week
  • 3 meals a day, only during weekdays

You are allowed to adjust your choice in the middle of the year.

As for the food itself, UCT states that it does not cater for specific dietary requirements. However, they do make provisions for students who require their food to be halaal. Furthermore, there is a decent amount of choice when it comes to meals.

At all meals, bread, tomato sauce, mayonnaise, butter, peanut butter, jam, milk, tea and coffee is available, as well as access to toasters. Furthermore, you can choose between two 250ml juices, or a 500ml bottle of water. At every meal, the ‘cold option’ may be selected as an alternative to the main meal, which consists of either a combination of yoghurt, fruit and fruit juice, or cheese and ham.

At breakfast, you may either choose one of two hot options (one of which is vegetarian friendly, eg. egg), or take a muesli/yogurt combination. There is also a variety of cereals available.

At lunch and dinner, there are two meat options and two vegetarian options from which to choose, as well as a variety of salads, and soup and gravy. During the week, you can take a lunch voucher at breakfast which can be spent on campus (currently worth R28.60), or a packed lunch. If you’re going to be away during a mealtime, you can also get a cold option preemptively, or a late supper in the evening.

Overall, I have been very impressed by the range of options available, and am almost always satisfied with my meals. My advice is not to worry, and remember that if you find it’s really not for you, you can always change your meal plan. Hope this helps!

For more info about meal options, go to http://www.dsa.uct.ac.za/student-housing/residence-life/meal-options