A draw for many to travel abroad is local food and Seoul is no exception. There are so many great places you can go to try different kinds of food in Seoul. However, while studying abroad, it is not practical to eat out at expensive restaurants that are far away from campus all of the time.
Hanyang University offers many different on-campus cafeterias to choose from if you are looking for a convenient location and a cheap meal. There are 8 different cafeterias interspersed around campus.
Meal prices range from 2,000-5,000 won, with the average being around 3,500 won. For most meals, you will receive rice, a bowl of soup, meat or fish, and two side dishes (banchan), such as kimchi or danmuji (yellow pickled radish). I personally find the meals to be quite filling, as the portion sizes are quite large.
Currently, I have eaten at the cafeterias in the Student Resident Hall 2, College of Human Ecology Building, and Haengwon Park. For these cafeterias, you pay at a kiosk or with a staff member and receive a ticket. The cafeteria accepts cash or credit card payments. You hand the ticket to the lunch staff or place it in a box at the counter. Then you can fill up your tray with different food items cafeteria-style.
Some differences I have noticed about the cafeteria and food:
- There are no designated “breakfast foods” in Korea. Food eaten for breakfast is the same food eaten for any other meal of the day. However, if you are looking for more breakfast-y items, such as bagels and pastries, there are many cafes on and around campus to go to.
- The cafeterias use metal utensils, rather than disposable plastic cutlery, as used in Drexel’s cafeterias.
- The drinking cups are a lot smaller at these cafeterias than the paper cups you use at Hans or Urban Eatery. There is no soda fountain; the beverage options are only water, except for in the morning when they give you a juice box as well.
- The cafeterias tend to open for 1.5-2 hours for a mealtime and then close before they open again for the next meal time. They are not continuously open and operating during business hours. However, the operating hours of the cafeteria do vary depending on the location.
(the small drinking cup at the cafeterias)
Please note that for the Hanyang International Summer School program, the cafeterias often get super filled and busy. Everyone in the program has a lunch hour between 12pm and 1pm, so there may be long lines to pay for food and it might be difficult to find a table. If you have a friend whose class gets let out early, it may be best if they purchase some tickets in advance and save a table for your group.
However, if you are not feeling up to cafeteria food and want to go for something different, there is definitely no shortage of restaurants within the surrounding area to check out!