Union Street Market recently replaced Fireside, which usually served comfort food like mac and cheese and barbeque chicken, with its polar opposite: Bowls without Borders.
According to the Dining Services website, Bowls without Borders sells “internationally inspired, healthy bowls served with a selection of nutritious grains, proteins and vegetables.” Monday’s menu consisted of a bibimbop bowl and a Korean salmon bowl. They were priced a little high, at $9.95 and $12.50 respectively, but ultimately were far tastier and healthier than what can be found at the dining halls.
The bibimbop bowl has a base of white rice, which is a little disappointing when compared to the bed of Korean quinoa in the other bowl. Considering the high price, it would be interesting to see if they will consider allowing customers to make custom bowls, or at least pick the grain. It’s topped with sautéed carrots, which help to add a little sweetness and crunch to the dish, as well as sautéed mushrooms and spinach. The description of the bowl says it should contain Asian pickles as well, but there appeared to be none in mine. It has two proteins: a perfectly cooked fried egg and some delicious bulgogi beef, with a mildly spicy gochujang sauce which can be drizzled on top.
It was incredibly filling and delicious, but it lacked flavor. The white rice was just a little too plain, and if you opt out of the sauce, then the beef becomes the only strong source of umami flavor within the dish.
The Korean salmon bowl was an amazing array of colors and flavors. Its bed of Korean quinoa was wonderful, and the bowl itself was packed with a variety of sweet vegetables like peas, corn and red peppers. Like the bibimbop bowl, it was also topped with sautéed spinach and mushroom, but it had the added flavor and crunch from the pear salsa that helped put it over the top. The salmon itself was perfectly cooked and practically melts in your mouth. The spicy plum sauce and the bourbon glaze packed the salmon with sweet and spicy tones that helped amplify the savory flavor of the dish.
On a whole, the Korean salmon bowl was the best of the two great meals. It’s nice to have this healthier and more enjoyable option in the Union Street Market, especially since they didn’t actually get rid of the mac and cheese and the other comfort food options—they simply switched them over to different sections of the food court.
College is a great place to begin understanding nutrition on a more personal level, since it’s often the first time in students’ lives that they can pick what they would like to eat for meals. Dining Services has been acknowledging this important transitional period in diet more and more recently, as can be seen by changes in foods like the switch from flour pasta to protein packed pasta made of chickpeas or lentils in the dining halls. By adding a place like Bowls without Borders to the food court, Dining Services is showing students that there is food out there that is beautiful and healthy, as well as tasty.
Rebecca Maher is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.