Wednesday, May 21, 2014

yesterday's lunch

My campus has several cafeterias, each with its own idiom. Several students had told me about one particular cafeteria that served Western-style pasta along with Korean food; they said the food was decent, but the portions were a bit small and overpriced. I found the place and ordered cream pasta (without onions) and a chicken salad. The salad turned out to be huge, but the pasta, while not tiny, wasn't particularly large. Amusingly, both dishes were served in Korean-style metal bowls, a bizarre move that I actually enjoyed.

Click on the image below to see Tuesday's lunch up close:

The chicken salad was typically chicken-salady; it didn't hit any false notes. Even the corn, which finds its way into all manner of Koreanized Western dishes, didn't seem out of place in the salad. The pasta, meanwhile, wasn't Alfredo: as you see, it was standard spaghetti done up in a very bland but creamy white sauce (heavy cream and maybe some butter), gussied up with soft bacon, broccoli florets, and other random vegetables. In all, both dishes were passably tasty, and I felt the meal was worth my while, despite being somewhat overpriced for campus fare. Everything was recognizably Western; there was no attempt to "spin" the food in a way that would have ruined it (although I think "cream pasta" is a Korean fabrication based on any number of Italian-American pasta dishes).

A colleague had warned me that, although this cafeteria had its own soda fountain, refills would not be free. Sure enough, that was the case, but drinks were only W1,000 per tall cup, as opposed to what they'd normally cost at a regular restaurant.

So, yes: I'll give this cafeteria a thumbs-up and head back again sometime. I enjoyed its not-quite-a-cafeteria ambiance as well.



Charles said...

Madre de Dio, that pasta is positively swimming in the cream sauce. That's not cream pasta, that's cream guksu!

On a related note, I have always been appalled by what they call "carbonara" here. Carbonara should be made with eggs, cheese (e.g., pecorino), cured meat (e.g., pancetta) and black pepper. Korean carbonara, though, is (generally) the bastard offspring of a sordid and ill-fated dalliance between carbonara and alfredo.

Kevin Kim said...

And onions. At Sookdae, I ordered carbonara and got a pile of onions in my sauce.

Charles said...

Even though I do not share your dread of onions, I must admit that that is very weird.