AS THE hands of the clock move towards noon, students’ stomachs start rumbling from hunger. During class, they fall into a dilemma about where they should go for lunch. Most restaurants outside school are expensive and far from campus. Snacks are not enough to satisfy one’s hunger. Therefore, they decide to go to one of the school cafeterias, because they can enjoy abundant food there in no hurry. To Yonseians, then, the school cafeterias are the most convenient place for having lunch. As they often go to the school cafeterias, they are naturally interested in these school cafeterias; school cafeterias are one of the common topics of conversation on campus. Students share their opinions with their friends regarding which school cafeteria is good or which menu is delicious. To gather general students’ opinions, The Yonsei Annals took the opportunity to ask 100 Yonseians about the school cafeterias.
No.1 school cafeteria in Yonsei
Guess what the most popular cafeteria is? Some students might choose their best school cafeteria as the Student Union for its variety of menus. On the other hand, some might think Hankyung Hall (Faculty-staff dining hall) is the best for its tasty side dishes. Other students would also have their own favorite school cafeterias. However, most students picked the house of peace in YERC (Yonsei Engineering Research Center) and chunggyunggwan in Widang Hall as the best school cafeterias in Yonsei.
Students may have their own criteria for choosing a school cafeteria, so they do not just go to any cafeteria. If so, what are their criteria? Most students (55%) said that their choice is based on distance. They consider whether the cafeteria is close to the building in which they have a class. In that sense, readers can assume the reason for the result. YERC is near the Main Gate and Engineering Halls, where many students take classes. Also, many buildings are close to chunggyunggwan. However, this might not be the only reason. A total of 29% replied that they go where their favorite menu is offered. If there is a school cafeteria which is near many buildings and has many delicious dishes, it would become every student’s it-place for lunch.
The best menu in Yonsei
Everyone has his or her own personal taste. Even with the same food, one person might think that it is delicious, while another thinks it is awful. Naturally, responses from the students were diverse, as people’s sense of taste is different. Nevertheless, if most people like a particular meal, that must be really delicious.
When asked what is the best dish in school cafeterias, an overwhelming majority said sundubu jjigae in the house of peace is the best. This Sundubu jjigae is famous not only for its cheap price but also for its delicious flavor. Also, that is one of the dishes that seniors usually recommend to freshmen. Some other students suggested the tandoori chicken noodles in Ha-Yan-Sam and ramyeon in Han-Wool-Sam. One student in engineering said that it is bad that students in other majors hardly know about the delicious ramyeon in Han-Wool-Sam.
Why students visit the school cafeterias
The school cafeterias have many advantages. They are located on campus and prices are low. However, in spi
te of such benefits, they seem to have missed one crucial point for a restaurant.
According to the results, it seems that most students enjoy the school cafeterias. A total of 44% of respondents said that they have from 3 to 6 meals in cafeterias per week during semester. Why are so many students visiting the school cafeterias? About half of students (55%) answered that they go to the school cafeterias because they are a stone’s throw away. A total of 41% of respondents replied that they go because of cheap prices. If school cafeterias had expensive menus, like other restaurants outside campus, the students might complain about that.
However, the school cafeterias have a weak point: taste. Nobody picked tasty food as the reason they visit the school cafeterias. Of course, there are some delicious menus in school cafeterias, but the students seem not to be satisfied with the overall quality of the food. Taste is the key point of restaurants. If the restaurants do not have good tasting meals, they should improve their cooking.
Episodes in school cafeterias
As much as students use the school cafeterias, there are many stories and anecdotes related to the cafeterias. Kim Hyung-jun (Soph., Dept. of Advanced Materials Engin.) recalls one episode that happened in a school cafeteria: “When I ordered a meal in the early morning, the food was awful because most ingredients were not ready to be used. That time, I was really annoyed.”
Like Kim, it seems that many students have their own stories related to school cafeterias. About a third of respondents (36%) answered that they were embarrassed when their dish was not the same as they expected. A total of 29% respondents said that they were annoyed when they had to wait holding their meals because all seats were full. This is the most common complaint. If the students talk to others about school cafeterias, they will hear many more interesting accounts.
For better school cafeterias
There might be no perfect restaurant, just as there is no perfect human. Likewise, school cafeterias do not satisfy the entire needs of students in regard to price, cleanness, and so on. As to price, most Yonseians (60%) said that prices are fair. However, the students appear not satisfied with the quality of the food. Almost half of respondents said that the quality and taste of the food should be improved.
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Students often visit the school cafeterias, and they have lots of interesting ideas about them. Even if they often complain about the quality of food in school cafeterias, their complaints can be feedback that produces better meals at the school cafeterias. To Yonseians, the school cafeterias on campus are not just places for food, but also places for precious memories of good times eating meals together with friends.