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College Food Staples

List produced by the Experts more info

  • Chinese: A delivery staple, seek out a good Chinese place that will satisfy your craving for crab rangoon at 2:00 a.m. Of course, Chinese food is just the tip of the iceberg these days; with any luck, you'll have a variety of delicious Asian eateries nearby, so you can get Japanese sushi, Vietnamese pho, Thai curry, Indian samosas, Korean kimchee . . .
  • Ice Cream: Whether it's all-you-can-eat soft-serve in the cafeteria or an awesome local dairy scooping hand-churned goodness, ice cream is another area where college students tend to luck out.
  • Mexican: Specifically, burritos, which may or may not be the perfect food. According a recent report from NPR, burrito fast-food chain Chipotle "is growing so quickly that it's opening about three new locations each week." People need burritos; it's a fact of life.
  • Pizza: Somewhere on or near your campus, there will be a pizza place. If the college gods smile upon you, it'll be a good one. First week (first day?) on campus, you should at least figure out where to find, if not visit, the best local pizza joint.
  • Stir Fry: This is a fun, relatively new addition to many college cafeterias. Mix and match your own stir-fry? Umm, yes please! Extra chicken and sauce. And maybe a veggie or two.
  • Tater Tots: Fried potato bits in perfect bite-sized pieces. Top them with chili, cheese, hot sauce, or all of the above.
  • Waffles: Sunday morning brunch in the cafeteria is made approximately 324% better by a make-your-own waffle bar. (In a similar vein, omelet stations are pretty great too!)
  • Wings: Hot. Really hot. Face meltingly hot. However you like your wings, they're a game-day necessity, and you should know how to acquire them at a moment's notice on any given Sunday.

Want more information on how this list was compiled? Find out more about where our Lists & Rankings come from.

About This List

Between the cafeteria and other campus eateries, we put together our top recommendations for college foods every student should eat at least once ...or every Saturday night, whatever floats your boat.

Did we miss your favorite campus snack? Let us know—contact us through email or social media!

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