Food was an ongoing issue during the life of the hostels. Many early residents found a diet heavy in mutton difficult to stomach. Other unfamiliar foods, such as pumpkin, were often hard to get used to. Some residents disliked later attempts to diversify the menu, such as the addition of ingredients like olives, or dishes from Asian countries such as nasi goreng.
The government and hostel catering staff made valiant attempts to provide appealing food. Long reports were devoted to providing nutritious menus, particularly for children. Cooking in large quantities and for diverse tastes meant that keeping everyone happy was always going to be a challenge.
Despite these issues, some people report liking hostel food, and remember ‘crib’ (packed lunch) or fresh fruit in the dining room fondly.