Next up on the Uni Freshie Guide series, we will be covering the campus located at the heart of town – Singapore Management University (SMU)! Personally, I’ve visited SMU many times before. Whether it is to study, eat, dance or whatnot, the open concept, as well as locality of this University, draws all types of people to come flocking in! If you enjoyed the last feature on NUS, you are in for a treat this week as we will be collaborating with 2 SMU friends to bring to you special insights into the best shopping, studying and eating spots to be a true #SMUgger.

Introducing our special guests… Jaydee (Year 3, Business Administration + Accountancy) and Sam (Year 2, PLE)!


1. Shine Korea

Shine Korea is a Korean mart tucked away in a corner of SMU, right next to the Bras Basah MRT exit. From snacks to ramen to even the fruit flavoured milk packets that were all the hype amongst teenagers (including yours truly), you will be not be disappointed by this outlet’s variety of all things Korean.

Jan (the other scholar) and I were so excited by the mart that we automatically started hunting for our personal Korean guilty pleasures. (tl;dr – let’s just say we both left with a generous loot of Korean goodies, yumyum!)

Jaydee: “My fav thing to get is definitely seaweed because they have such a great variety of them. Shine Korea is a great place to get snacks and drinks for class because the snacks are all really affordable and very unique as well!”

Looks like it is also a thumbs up from Jaydee!

Address:  50 Stamford Rd, LKC School of Business, #01-24, S(178899)

Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 10.30am – 8.30pm

Tel: 6266 3506

2. Bras Basah Complex

Image Credits:

Credit: State of Building

Having a multitude of shopping choices is another perk of being located right smack in town area! Aside from Plaza Singapura and The Cathay, which are both just a stone’s throw away from the SMU compound, another convenient (less frequented aka less crowded!) shopping area is the Bras Basah Complex!

Sam: “Bras Basah Complex – a place well-known for its abundance of second-hand bookstores and printing shops – has helped this particular uni student immensely throughout her first year in uni. From printing posters to scavenging for second-hand textbooks to buying pen refills almost religiously (yes Bras Basah Complex has a popular bookstore and art friend!!) , Bras Basah Complex, a short 10 minute walk from school, has been a lifesaver on many uni days.”

(my edit: I personally find the second hand book stores really quite amazing because you’ll find all sorts of books from novels to biographies to books about history, the bible etc there at like 1/6 it’s original selling price! There are so much more hipster artsy fartsy cool stuff at Bras Basah Complex so give the place a chance the next time you drop by ya :)”

Credit: State of Building

Address: 231 Bain St, Singapore 180231

Opening Hours: Mon to Sun, most shops close around 9pm

Tel: 9111 3257

3. SMU Shop (Merch)

Have you seen the “SMUgger” shirts that your SMU friends don on to school? Or perhaps, you know of that one guy/girl constantly decked out in SMU merch? SMU, just like any other university, prides themselves in their school name and you can join the club by heading down to THE SMU SHOP for all your SMU merch needs!

From t shirts to jackets, bottles to lanyards, you name it, they have it! By the way, SMU students get 10% off!

Address: 70 Stamford Rd, S(178901)

Opening Hours:  Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm

Tel: 6808 5282

4. OCBC Frank

The on-campus OCBC Frank will be your “Guide to Smart Adulthood”. Whether you need guidance on financial planning, to apply for loans, or any other bank service really, they’ve got your back with the many workshops and tools they have to send you on your way!

Address: 70 Stamford Road, #B1-43, S(178901)

Opening Hours:  Mon – Fri, 9am – 4.30pm


Don’t be deceived by the looks of the SMU compound! Even though the school may seem smaller than its counterparts (NUS and NTU), within it lies an array of study spaces for your choosing. From quiet and spacious, to lively and cosy – SMU offers it all.

1.“Silent Mugger” – Li Ka Shing Library

Photo credits: SMU FB

Photo credit: ( – 24 hour study space

Photo credit: (SMU Libraries) – project rooms

Love absolute silence when studying? Then the Li Ka Shing Library is for you! Jaydee and Samantha are two of many loyal visitors to this mugging hotspot – here’s what they have to say!

Jaydee: “With 4 levels of study space, a newly renovated top floor and tons of discussion rooms for groups to meet for project work, this quiet study space is perfect for people to really focus without any disturbance or for group meetings. The level 2 commons is open 24/7 so if u need a place to do projects overnight this will be the go to place! There is also a book area on level 2 where you can borrow story books, magazines, non-fiction books to read during your leisure time. You can also borrow movies (although they’re quite old and not really updated!)”

Address: 70 Stamford Road, S(178901)

Opening Hours:  Mon – Fri: 8am – 12am, Sat – Sun: 10am/1pm – 9pm

2. Student Study Lounges @ School of Economics

The Student Study Lounges are scattered all over the first floor and basement of the School of Economics (alight at Bras Basah mrt station and you’re all set!). They are essentially clusters of study spaces enclosed within glass panels, giving the area a contained yet open concept.

This one’s on the first floor (and it’s probably my favourite). Imagine studying with natural sunlight streaming in and food available literally 10 steps away – perfect.

There are other mini study areas at the basement level as well! This is one of the smallest rooms available!

Opening Hours: 24/7 Daily (besides vacation period)

3. SMU Labs

Credit: Straits Times

Credit: Mongabong

Credit: The Straits Times

Credit: SMU

Hands down the COOLEST study spot ever, the SMU Labs gives a hip twist to what a study space can offer with the new co-study co-work space: Lyf@SMU (“Life at SMU”)! This google-esque space is furnished with discussion rooms where you can complete your assignments or readings in any themed environment of your choice! Really! From bean bag wonderland to summer beach vibes, you name it they’ll probably have it.

Of course, if the aesthetics are too chill and distracting for you, you can always head to the more traditional study spaces at SMU Labs that still have a touch of fun colours too!

Credit: SMU

Address: 20 College Avenue West, #01-401, S(138529)

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-6pm, Sat-Sun: 10am-6pm

Tel: 6601 3551


  1. The Tea Party Express @ School of Economics

Aglio Olio (and well, pastas in general) have always had a soft spot in my heart (tummy?) and so you could imagine my excitement when Tea Party was one of our hotspots to check out during our visit to SMU! The Tea Party Express is a branch of the original Tea Party Cafe located along Bukit Timah Road and Pasir Panjang.

Our order of the day: Carbonara + Very Berry Smoothie (to be honest, the carbonara was quite bland that day so go for other items on their menu instead! I highly recommend their Aglio Olio!)

I’ve probably eaten at SMU’s The Tea Party Express well over 20 times (no kidding) and my go-to order has always been the bacon aglio olio pasta + drink meal for only $4.80!! I personally LOVE their aglio olio sauce and iced lemon tea – I think it beats many other pricier restaurants hands-down, and at such an affordable price? I’m sold!). Here’s their menu for your next trip down to SMU:

Besides their pasta dishes, Tea Party also serves a wide spread of scones and muffins that can be paired perfectly with a cup of piping hot tea (sounds like a hearty breakfast to start the day right!).

Address: #01-75, 178901, 90 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178903

Opening Hours: Mon to Sat, 9am to 9pm

Tel: 9695 0009

Price Range: $4.50 – $8 (w drink)

2. Chirashi Don @ Chirashi Tei (Food Republic)

To all sashimi and chirashi don lovers on a budget, this is for you!

Jaydee: “This Japanese shop is found in the Food Republic just opposite SMU School of Information Systems! The Food Republic serves a variety of food and one of the most popular dishes is the chirashi don. Who would have thought you could find bara chirashi UNDER $10 in town? The bara chirashi don comes with three different types of diced sashimi – salmon, tuna and swordfish. It also comes with freshly diced cucumbers and tamago. Flash your SMU student cards to get an additional 10% discount, unbelievable!”

(my edit: and if we are not wrong, passion card holders also get 10% off from Mondays to Fridays.) I am SO hunting this place down on my next visit to town!

Address: 51 Bras Basah Road, #01-03, Food Republic @ Manulife Centre, S(189554)

Opening Hours: Daily: 8am – 10pm

Tel: 6238 1601

Price: ~ $9.90

3. Merely Ice Cream

Foodography: A Singapore Blog


Merely Ice Cream Facebook Page

If you’re a lover of all things sweet, head down to the woody and cafe-like ice cream store at Sunshine Plaza and you’re in for a real treat! Merely Ice Cream has a wide range of ice cream flavours from their ever popular Salted Butterscotch (this one is to die for, it’s so creamy and flavourful, recommend!) to premium flavours such as Hokkaido Milk. Flavours are rotated and new ones are created every now and then, so no two visits will ever be the same (exciting stuff)!

Their price points are also relatively reasonable at $3.50 (single scoop), $6 (double scoop) and $8.50 (triple scoops). To upgrade for premium flavours or addition of their warm and crispy waffles, you have to top up $0.70 and $3 respectively.

Jaydee: “I hardly eat there, but I think their butterscotch flavour is nice HAHAHAH and they open till late-ish!” (my edit: nothing is better than easing the exam stress with ice cream at the end of a long study session amirite!)

Address: 91 Bencoolen Street, #01-13, Sunshine Plaza, Singapore 189652

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12pm to 11pm

Tel: 6238 0890

Price: $5-10

Thanks Jaydee and Sam for contributing to this episode of our Uni Freshie Guide Series! From good food to conducive study spots, we hope that you’ve learnt a thing or two on how to get about your uni life at SMU (or if you’re simply dropping by for a budget meal in town)!

Bonus: Sam’s Fav  – “菜贩” (mixed rice) @ Waterloo Food Centre

Opening Hours: 9:30am-9pm daily

Sam: “Waterloo Food Centre is affectionately known as Waterloo 2.0 to some to distinguish it from the other hawker centre in the building. This place has well-known, good caifan for broke SMU students looking to have a meal without breaking the bank (especially with this city campus we call home).”

Sam: “Their well-known specialities are the salted egg chicken and fish, and their prices tend to range from $2.80 – $4.50 (if you have a bigger appetite!) for student prices :)”

Sam: “Enjoying my caifan “dabao” and iced milo in school because the grind never ends :’)”

Do you love to shop, study and eat at the places we’ve shared too? Or perhaps you have other recommendations of hidden gems in SMU? Let us know in the comment box too. We have come to the very last uni of the Uni Freshie Guide Series – we hope you found our other articles covering NTU, NUS and SUTD useful as well! See you next time 🙂

  • Charmaine