NoHo Nibbles: KASS Lunchboxes

Photo courtesy of Veronica Brown '16 | The Korean American Students at Smith sold assorted lunchboxes of Korean food for $7.

Photo courtesy of Veronica Brown ’16 | The Korean American Students at Smith sold assorted lunchboxes of Korean food for $7.


Michelle S. Lee ’16

Price: $

Rating: ★★★★★

Sunday nights are (hopefully) studious nights. Particularly at the onset of yet another midterm season and with such minimal dining options available at Smith after 7 p.m., the hungry question “Do you have food?” is tossed around in conversation so frequently that it might as well be a House Council agenda item. This past Sunday, the Korean American Students at Smith (KASS) had Smithies covered – for its annual KASS lunchbox event, the student organization delivered orders of Korean food, lunchbox style, for $7 across Smith campus and UMass Amherst.

KASS offered two different lunchboxes, a meat entrée and a vegetarian entrée. I ordered the meat lunchbox and was not disappointed by the selection. Opening the assortment of meat pancakes (soegogi jeon), spring onion pancakes (pa jeon), kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap) and pork dumplings (mandu) was a blissful experience. As Korean cuisine goes, these dishes are supreme comfort foods, full of umami and cooked to a crunchy exterior that bursted into savory goodness. The portions were large enough to constitute a small meal, much to my delight.

The kimchi flavor was mixed evenly across the fried rice, achieving the sweet and salty balance often found in Korean food. My only complaint would be that I prefer kimchi fried rice to be a tad spicy, but otherwise there were generous quantities of the kimchi itself chopped into the rice. The meat pancakes (also affectionately called “circles” in colloquial Korean) which is a mixture of fried egg, flour and beef, were cooked to a sweet, tangy flavor and each the size of small doughnuts. The beef was slightly sweet and tender, retaining its heartiness under the egg-flour coating. The inclusion of cabbage in the dish added a certain crunch to the otherwise meaty texture. Its vegetarian counterpart, the spring onion pancakes, is a choice combination for the healthier diet. The spring onion pancakes were fried to a delectable tang – the spring onions left a distinct bite that harmonized quite nicely with the wholesomeness of the flour mix. The pork dumplings, which were my favorite of the selection, were stuffed full of pork and crisply fried to perfection – the kind Smith students stock up on during Comstock/Wilder’s Korean nights but larger in size and rolled, filled and cooked by hand.

All in all, I finished the lunchbox extremely content. Ten out of ten, would eat again.

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