• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 23 comments on More Chinese Food, More Authentically Prepared

  1. “Authentic Asian preparation focuses on vegetables, rice, and noodles, with meats and seafood as a protein source and flavoring”

    Americans should take some advice from of the Chinese – perhaps if steamed vegetables rather than fried meat was more of a focus we would be a healthier society.

  2. Ok this actually kinda aggravates me. If you choose to go to college in America, you choose to deal with our customs as Americans. I’m all about diversity on campus and that the USA is a melting pot………. But this is different. This isn’t welcoming everyone to celebrate the USA… This is directly changing what is served in our dining halls to cater to an overwhelming population of Chinese students. Most of which don’t event speak English to any other students when they aren’t in class, and make no attempt to fit in with the American students. I think it’s wrong. This doesn’t promote cultural fusion…or maybe it does and it’s just how the article is written and I’m taking it the wrong way (though I don’t think that is the case). I understand that American food is still being served and that the Chinese food will most likely be enjoyed by everyone…. It’s just the idea behind this that rubs me the wrong way. I wouldn’t go to china and expect them to start preparing macaroni and hot dogs in the dining halls. Isn’t the point of studying in another country… to experience another culture??

    1. The point of this menu change is to keep these Chinese students in on campus housing and dining plans. International students tend to come from wealthy families (otherwise they wouldn’t be able to go to school here) and BU is losing potential revenue when they decide to live off campus where they can cook their own traditional Chinese dishes. Also, most of the food in the dining halls are based on other cultures. Otherwise, we’d just be eating hot dogs every day.

    2. Oh, please. Just because they’re adding more authentic Chinese food to the menu doesn’t mean that they’re not assimilating. This is a decision by BU to make more money by encouraging foreign students to remain on campus.

    3. I feel like that you were a bit harsh attacking the Chinese students and how they don’t communicate with any American students. When I studied abroad in China I stayed within my small international bubble as well. None of my friends made an effort to get to know any local Chinese people. The dining hall there served American food as well such as burgers and etc. It’s just about making foreign students feeling comfortable when they are in a foreign country.

      I do understand your point though, but at least everyone will enjoy the food in all of our dining halls right?

    4. by moving to off-campus housing, isn’t a big part of “experience another culture”, i.e. US-style dorm life, lost? During my 2 years at ENG grad school I don’t recall any non-Chinese tenant in my friends’ off-campus places. To me it’s more like that BU is trying to keep students in on-campus housing and encourage cultural fusion by easing the sharp contrast between cultures.

    5. While the motivation may be to encourage Asian students to live on campus, this benefits all BU students. Who doesn’t want a diverse menu with fine tasting dishes available? I wish there had been authentic Chinese dishes to eat in the dining hall when I went to college (a long time ago and not at BU). We thought getting yoghurt was a serious triumph!

      I am not of Asian ancestry, but I eat Asian food all the time because I like it. Those aren’t all Chinese dishes, though. Isn’t pho Vietnamese? I hope we’re not lumping Asians together. The cuisines can be distinct, and China has multiple cuisines within it. OK. Now I’m hungry! Well done, Dining Services!

      1. ^I agree. And oh yeah Student, ever thought of approaching them instead of antagonizing them? I bet you five dollars you’re gonna be eating off that Asian menu.

  3. I know BU wants to accommodate them so that they will stay on campus and BU can get their money but its possible the price of on campus living is also a deterrent. Plus if you go to a new country you shouldn’t expect them to accommodate you with things you are used to, you should try new things and embrace the new culture around you. I didn’t go to paris and expect to eat burgers and fries.I ate croissants and baguettes because that’s why you go to other countries.

    1. Well, yes, but it’s not like Chinese student doesn’t embrace U.S. culture or they “expect” U.S. colleges to accomodate them, from what I see it’s BU’s decision no? If they choose to accomodate Chinese student it’s their decision, Chinese students are not the ones to be blamed. (actually I don’t really see what’s the big deal anyway, it’s not like that because more Chinsese food come in there would be less “American food”)

    2. American food to French food isn’t really a big jump. However, traditional Asian food to American food is. That being said, of course they had to try the American food (freshman year mandatory on campus housing) and probably didn’t enjoy it. That along with the housing costs, as you mentioned, is probably why they move off campus.

  4. This is really just BU decision. If you have to say BU accommodates Chinese students, then the blame inevitability falls onto them. They came here bearing no expectation of welcoming(judging from some comments above) or familiarity. They KNOW what they are signed up for. I guess some comments are being harsh and targeting the wrong subject.

  5. I am from Beijing, China. The sad thing about this news is that none of the new added food item I have eaten or even heard of when I was in China…It is still American- Chinese food.

    1. Phyllis, maybe they’re from a different part of China? What region of China do you come from? What are some foods from home you wish you could get in the dining hall? My father (who is not Chinese) grew up in northern China and made sure my sister and I got lots of foods he remembered and loved as we grew up. I know I’d love to see some steamed bread (man t’ou?) and red cooked meat on the menu.

  6. My favorite thing about going to BU was the multicultural environment. As a white guy from North Carolina, it thought it was a lot of fun to get to know people from different cultures and to experience a more diverse cuisine than I was used to. You guys are really lucky to have the option of trying more authentic food.

    @”Student” – In my experience, a lot of Chinese immigrants can be a bit shy… especially towards Americans. I’ve found that if you make an effort to get to know them, you’ll find that most are really talkative and friendly. Instead of criticizing people who instinctively gravitate towards what they’re familiar with, why don’t we make more of an effort to get to know them and understand the cultural differences? It’s way more fun that way.

    1. I agree. We always expect the minority to come to us but maybe as Americans were the majority maybe we can welcome and put the effort to be friends with them instead?

  7. alright so you make the point about “traditional Asian” dishes being less meat-focused than “Western Asian” dishes, and then 13/15 of the new recipes appear to be meat-focused? Please explain what you mean by this.

  8. Kudos to Christopher Bee! Being a foodie born and raised in China, but living here for the past seven decades, I am glad to see this change. Italian food is accepted here without another thought–and so is some “Jewish” deli food. It is high time that students be introduced to “real” Chinese food — which is a healthier, and to my mind,tastier diet. One suggestion: Instead of combining various dishes into one serving, Mr. Bee might consider following the lead of Chinese self-serv restaurants found in various parts of China, and let the student/clientele pick and choose what combination suits them. You can check it out at Mings supermarket on Washington St. in the South End where one can pick 3 items from some 20 choices to go with rice and soup for $6.50.

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