Mastering the caf hack is key to university dining hall survival. It’s a necessity when the excitement of the new academic year wears off or when you have a specific craving that demands to be met. Caf hacks give students control over their meals as well as the opportunity to flex their creative muscles and experiment with food.

I have compiled a list of caf hacks that utilize bizarre flavour combinations that may not have been available on the menu otherwise. These hacks are guaranteed to convince your friends that you know something about cooking that they don’t, renew your relationship with caf food, and enhance your overall campus experience. Though this list was created primarily for Carleton University students who use The Caf , it can definitely be adapted for use on any campus.

1. Spicy Fries

Carleigh Reynolds

Make use of the condiments. Mix equal parts of mayo and Sriracha Sauce—maybe change up this ratio depending on your tolerance for spicy things— and drizzle your new orange goopy mixture over a good helping of fries. Celebrate how you are now cultured and refined because you just used something other than ketchup.

2. All Day Breakfast Burrito

Carleigh Reynolds

Breakfast is amazing. Burritos are essential. Together, they are unstoppable. Swipe a tortilla from either the vegan bar or the Global station, if they are serving tacos. Fill your tortilla with the entire contents of the all day breakfast bar: eggs, hash browns, bacon, ham, home fries, maple syrup, whatever. If you are extra, add some cheese from the salad bar. Proceed to transport breakfast food in the most efficient and attractive food vessel possible.

3. Chip Salad

Carleigh Reynolds

This one is for anyone that cannot live without croutons and enjoys textural diversity in their meals. Construct your ideal salad at the salad bar and then top with a generous amount of crushed chips from the deli station. Make sure to take note of the chip flavour beforehand and pair accordingly. Plain chips work with all salads. Nacho cheese chips do not. Though if you’re the kind of weirdo that puts cheese on your salad, I encourage you to attempt this with some Doritos. P.S. I am that kind of weirdo.

4. Berry Brownie Sundae

Carleigh Reynolds

I have always felt that one of the best flavour combinations was chocolate and berries. Take the standard brownie to the next level and top it with whatever gelatinous berry substance is available. Berry mush from a crumble (pictured here) or strawberry jam both work great. Take this dish one step further and top with ice cream.

5. Chicken Pasta

Carleigh Reynolds

Get your custom pasta at the pasta bar and then top it with whatever protein is being served at another station. Chicken nuggets? Yes. Beef stir-fry? Yes. Chopped up chicken burger patty? Yes. Tofu? Yes, do it. This is a great method to add some protein to your meal #gains.

6. Hummus + Pizza

Carleigh Reynolds

I’m not sure why or how this is a thing, but I assure you that people do this. Also, I tried it and it tastes like chips and dip. This one works best if you go with pizza that is light on sauce and sans toppings. Have I just created the next pineapple on pizza controversy? Perhaps.

7. Chocolate Banana Crumble

Carleigh Reynolds

This is just a creative way to consume multiple desserts at once. Break apart a pastry of your choice to create a crumble base. Muffins and scones work best. Layer with sliced banana and whatever chocolate dessert is available at the dessert station. I went with a brownie. Feel free to get creative here and add other things. I think strawberry jam, peanut butter, other fruits, or sugary cereals would all be excellent additions here.

8. Pancake Wrap

Carleigh Reynolds

When you’re craving a wrap but can’t find a tortilla, do not fear. All bread items are fair game here. Give a lonely pancake a chance to live out its dreams and take on its true identity as a wrap by grabbing some veggies from the salad bar, taking some protein from the grill, and then stacking it into a pancake taco.

Hungry for more? I gotchu, Boo. Caf hacking doesn’t end at weird flavour combinations. Here are some drink hacks and breakfast hacks that will help you continue your caf hack education. Munch on!