Kosofresh and Tavalon Tea, the coveted Korean food in the Jasmine dining facility located in the Charles B. Wang Center, terminated its contract on Aug. 21, 2014 with the Faculty Student Association. However, while Kosofresh was quickly replaced over the summer, the new vendor is facing problems and students are not satisfied.
“The subcontractor who operated Kosofresh Korean cuisine and Tavalon Tea abruptly and unexpectedly terminated their contract with Lackmann on Thursday, August 21, 2014,” said Angela Agnello, director of Marketing and Communications for the FSA
Kosofresh was not available for comment on the matter.
FSA decided on Ssambap Korean BBQ, which is currently located at 2350 Nesconset Highway off of Route 347 in Stony Brook, N.Y.
While Ssambap is similar to Kosofresh, the owners of the Korean BBQ are having a hard time adjusting.
“We are in a very, very difficult place,” Yung Kim, one of the owners of SSambap Korean BBQ, said. “We are trying our best to cook really good food. The system is so bad in the kitchen because there is no space. So the food looks no good and tastes no good.”
According to Kim’s wife, Misook Kim, the university is aware of the problem and is looking to fix it.
“The school is trying very hard to accommodate and make the kitchen space more available for us,” Misook Kim said. “We are waiting for that to get going fully.”
While issues with cooking space and storage are being sorted out, the station has been open for two weeks now.
“The dishes at Ssambap Korean BBQ are authentic and traditional Korean specialties, as are the ingredients, preparation and serving techniques,” said Agnello in an email. “What makes Mrs. Kim’s, [one of the owner’s of Ssambap], restaurant and its food different than other Korean eateries is the adherence to tradition, and not being classified as a fusion food location.”
While the owners agree that their food represents a flavorful mix, Yung Kim feels that the food is not up to their standards, the students beg to differ.
“I think the new rice bowls are overall better,” Jonathan Zeng, a sophomore electrical engineering major at Stony Brook University, said. “The new bowls seem bigger in portion and healthier with a moderate spicy yet sweet taste.”
Tina Tiernan, one of the campus dining nutritionists, agrees with Zeng.
“One of my favorite dishes from the ‘Whatever Bap You Want’ station is the bibimbap rice bowl,” said Tiernan. “For students looking to eat healthy, I recommend this meal because it includes three food groups: starch, vegetables and protein. Without a sauce, the bowl averages about 500 calories, which is generally a normal amount of calories at meal time.”
However, while students are noting the good changes, they are also finding some shortcomings with the new bowls.
“I miss the Kimchi. That’s the big thing,” Norman Shipman, a junior technical systems management major at Stony Brook, said. “Besides that there is no brown rice option and the salads are a poorer quality.”
The university is already working to fix the problems expressed by Shipman.
“We will be getting Kimchi,” Misook Kim said. “What would Korean food be without it?”
The reason why there is no Kimchi now is because the lack of space within the kitchen, Misook Kim said.
And, when it comes to brown rice, “the menu will continue to expand, adding more healthy options,” Angello explained.
Jasmine will continue to see more changes over the course of the next few months and into next semester.
According to FSA, the Tea House beverage and bar station is under construction now. In addition, next semester students can expect an express sushi station and a new variety of hot Asian entrees.
Until then, the new “Whatever Bap You Want” rice bowl station is ready for tasting.
“The transition has been difficult,” said Misook Kim. “But the experience overall has been a pleasure. I am able to feed a lot of Stony Brook students, my children, who have been waiting for some good Korean food. It really brings me joy.”