Food for thought: South’s foodies share their stories

Karina Benson, asst. a&e editor

Grab a few napkins and take a seat. In 2017, Chicago was rated the number-one food city in the United States by several magazines and organizations like Bon Appétit and Conde Nast Traveler. Many Chicagoans have been taking advantage of their city’s wide variety of cuisines, including several South students.

Junior Steven Hong says that he enjoys going out with his friends, especially during his open lunch, to try different restaurants and types of food. According to Hong, he has been enjoying Chicago’s restaurants since he was seven years old and came to America from Korea.

“When I transferred to America [is when I got interested in food],” Hong said. “I used to live in Korea for a while and the only cuisine there is like a mix of Chinese and Korean. I had never had [American] food so when I migrated here, something triggered in my head and it was like a brand new world for me.”

Through the usage of Google, Hong says he and his friends are able to find greater variety than the food the cafeteria offers. Hong says the type of cuisine he and his friends eat will vary depending on the day.

“It is an on-and-off kind of thing; one day I am up for a little bit of Mexican, one day I am up for a little bit of Chinese,” Hong said. “I am usually with my friends when I am deciding so we usually take a vote to see which cuisine we want to go for that day.”

While Hong says he tends to stay around the Glenview and Northbrook area, senior Gina Yang says she utilizes the app Yelp or recommendations from friends that will sometimes lead to her venturing into the city.

“I go downtown a lot and I like going to Evanston [because] they have a lot of good restaurants there too,” Yang said. “There are some basic restaurants [in Glenview] but I don’t really go to those. I like trying new places outside of town.”

Yang says that she believes the wide range of ethnicities in the Chicagoland area has an impact on the quality and variety of foods offered. There are lots of opportunities, such as festivals and markets, where one can discover these types of food, according to Yang.

“[The different ethnicities are clear] especially during the Taste of Chicago,” Yang said. “That is when you can taste [food from] a bunch of different ethnicities and [there are] festivals as well. I think there is an Irish Food Festival, and Chicago has so many cool foods you can try.”

According to Hong, one of his favorite aspects of trying new foods is the variety. Hong says the different cuisines offer a break from the traditional food he tends to eat at home.

“My mom cooks Korean food usually every single day, so I kind of get sick of it,” Hong said. “I like the mix of the cuisines a little bit.”

A fine dining experience is about more than just the food, according to Yang. Having a truly exceptional restaurant experience is dependent upon the atmosphere and environment just as much as the food, Yang says.

“Honestly, going to a restaurant is an experience,” Yang said. “It is all about presentation and taste, and if the food is really good you are going to be really happy about it. And if it’s pretty, that’s a plus.”