Boston University Upgrades Chinese Food in Dining Halls

Students from China have been moving off campus in droves
Wikimedia/Motohiko Tokuriki

Boston University hopes upgraded Chinese dishes in dining halls will keep more international students living on campus.

Plenty of international students want to study at Boston University, but apparently they don’t all want to live there while they do it. After noticing that most students from China ditch the residence halls in favor of off-campus housing, the school is making an effort to improve meals to keep them on campus.

According to BU Today, “while 75 percent of American and non-Chinese international students return to campus housing their sophomore year, fewer than half of Chinese students do.”

After surveying some undergrads, the university traced at least part of the problem back to the dining halls.

“We saw that dining is an extremely important item,” said Marc Robillard, executive director of housing and dining. “It’s a menu issue, certainly, but it’s also a preparation issue. We can think something is authentic, but it can be way off. It has to be prepared the right way.”

So BU is moving away from the fried chicken strips in sweet and sour sauce that pass for Chinese food on some college campuses and towards dishes that are at least trying to be more authentic.

“Traditional methods, such as stewing, braising, baking, steaming, and boiling are our current direction at BU,” said dining services executive chef Christopher Bee.

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While it remains to be seen if the new menu will entice more students to live on campus, better food can’t hurt the school’s case. The university has added 15 new, theoretically more authentic Chinese dishes to the monthly menus in its residential dining halls, and they’ve even added warm water dispensers in the dining halls after figuring out that the Chinese students didn’t like drinking their water ice cold.