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Exploring Harvard’s Korean Community One Food Review at a Time

As a first-generation Korean student, I was more familiar with the smell of kimchi stew on Thanksgiving than I was with that of an oven-baked turkey. After a couple weeks of adjusting to campus life and HUDS food, I finally felt like it was an appropriate time to explore traditional Korean food near campus. I was feeling extremely homesick, and I knew that a warm, Korean meal would be the perfect remedy. With a couple of my Korean friends that I met through the Harvard Korean Association, I was on a mission to find the closest taste to my mom’s Korean meals while staying within the realms of my student budget. This is a list of all of the restaurants near campus that not only passed the taste test, but also the price test.

1. BonChon Chicken in Harvard Square: 3.5/5

The first on this list in BonChon Chicken in Harvard Square, mainly because it is now the only Korean restaurant in Harvard Square. A couple of the other Korean restaurants that I enjoyed dining in have permanently closed and this is the only location that is walking distance from my dorm on campus. The price range is rather reasonable if you go in during lunch time - $8.95 for 8 pieces of chicken and 2 sides. At any other time, if you go in with a crowd, you can save a ton of money by sharing a large chicken order. The taste is not quite that you would taste in Korea, but it is the closest you can get in all of Boston. Also, the spicy chicken is actually spicy, even for Korean standards.

Table with chicken at BonChon in Allston

2. H-Mart in Central Square: 4.5/5

Conveniently located one T-stop away on the Red Line from Harvard Square, H-Mart in Central Square is easily one of my favorite places to get all of my Korean snacks and meals. H-Mart is a Korean supermarket that carries everything from traditional Korean baked goods to spicy Korean ramen noodles. I love going here on the weekends to stock up on my ramen noodles that I need to eat at least once a week. The prices are similar to what you would see in a typical grocery market with various sale items every day. Another reason I love going here is that they accept Crimson Cash, which is a student account linked to the student ID cards.

bag of Korean Shin Ramen

3. Hanmaru in Allston, MA: 4/5

During the winter here, when it gets unbearably cold for this Californian (a.k.a. me), I like to take the MBTA Bus 66 to Allston, MA, which is located right by the Harvard Business School campus. Allston is like a mini Koreatown. It has dozens of Korean restaurants and small Korean shops all owned and operated by Korean immigrants. One of the main reasons I make this trek through the snow is to get a bowl of hot, Korean kimchi stew at Hanmaru. I don’t know what magical sauce they use to make this perfect bowl of soup, but a bite of hot rice drenched in this soup makes me forget about the snowmageddon outside. The prices here are extremely reasonable - the kimchi soup, which comes with side dishes and rice, is only $11.95.

hot Korean kimchi soup served at a restaurant

Korean side dishes at a restaurant

Being a part of such a large community of students from all around the world, I have found that sometimes it is so easy to lose touch with my roots. That is why I make the conscious effort to stay in touch with my Korean community. Sharing a warm Korean meal has given me just that opportunity to travel back home even for just an hour.


About the author

Hello everyone! My name is Sung Eun Kim and I am currently a senior at Harvard College living in Cabot House. Here, I am concentrating in neuroscience while pursuing a secondary degree in economics... View full profile

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