For those who are not familiar with the cafeteria system, it can be overwhelming at the start. Singapore has no such system (at least I haven’t experience it yet), and my first experience of cafeterias was in Yonsei KLI in 2010.
Unlike other cafeterias in Korea, Yonsei’s one was relatively easy to figure out. There are only a few items on the menu and they are all sets. You order at the counter (rightmost in picture), pay and take a color token representing the menu item you ordered. Next, you move to the counter (where the kitchen staff are at) and the yellow sign there says something like collect your food here (I forgot). Simply present your token to them and they will serve you the set. Take your utensils and then find a seat.
Cafeterias in Korea operate on a self service basis, so you can take your side dishes yourself and you have to return all utensils and clear your trays before you leave. I can’t remember exactly how it’s like in Yonsei, but you have to leave your tray at the counter on the left (see that yellow sign?). Oh no, I really can’t remember if you need to separate out the utensils or not….. o.O
In any case, this is one of my favorite items there!!! 순두부찌개!!! hehehe. It was cheaper in 2010 and when I went back in 2011 to eat it (yes I actually went to Yonsei just for this hahaha), the price has increased by a little! Still in the 2000+ won range!!
My first real experience of a Korean school cafe was actually in KU in 2011! ^^ It was really overwhelming at first, as I had no idea how to proceed. I just got into the line and follow what people did LOL.
The steps: get into the line, before the food area, get your tray and utensils. There are several signboards indicating the dishes of the day and unlike Yonsei’s cafeteria, the dishes are already placed nearly in plates/bowls and are put on the counter. The kitchen itself is like divided into several stations and usually you get the rice station first (where they will have a choice of brown rice / plain rice etc), then the station for the main dishes, side dishes, soup etc. At each station/section, you just take whatever you want and if you don’t want anything from that section, just move on (but keep in line still). Most of the time, you won’t be allowed to cut queue, unless it happens to be a pretty empty cafeteria Use your brain and 눈치.
hehe the idea of pick and take your dishes was really new to me then and I freaking love it!! hehe. The prices for each dish is also clearly stated at each section, so you can go according to your budget and stomach. Side dishes are usually 500 won, the main dishes 1000 – 2500 won etc The cafeteria at the KU Student Union Building is more crowded, cheaper but less nice. LOL. I usually visit the one at the Language Centre building (blue trays). A litte more expensive, but less crowded and with better food.
hehe this was my first meal in school I think!!! hahahaha It was after orientation and that day we were given a coupon (5000won I think?) to spend at the cafe so I jus GRABBED what I liked
Clearing my plates was another thing that I was unaccustomed to. In Singapore, we simply put everything back in big erm buckets (?) in front of each stall in elementary school. And put all trays to a designated area in university canteens / outside canteens. You simply leave the food as it is (in the bowl etc), and the staff will help you throw it away and separate the bowls / utensils.
In Korea, it’s very different. You do it yourself. First, after you finish your food, put all leftovers in a single bowl/plate. Carry your tray to the erm tray-clearing section and put your chopsticks / spoon / fork etc in separate containers. SEPARATE. haha. Throw your leftover food in the designated bin. (so it saves you effort if you put them all in a single plate). Throw away all tissue papers etc in the normal dustbin and then carry your tray (with empty bowls / plates and no utensils) and leave them on the conveyer belt!!
Note: Cups will go into a separate cup bin!
hehe now for some meal photos?
Apparently I don’t know how to include veggies in my diet…
And yes, if you have noticed, I eat A LOT. Sometimes I send my lunch photos to my friends and they were like OMG YOU EAT A LOT!!
hehe I finish all my food usually and yet I was slimmer then!! I have high metabolism rate in Korea. I guess it have to do with my frequent walks and my general happy mood there!
Okay, this one is more normal right? ㅋㅋㅋㅋ
I really miss the food there!!! Hope you guys enjoyed reading this!