One of the fun things about a train trip is eating boxed meals or snacks while enjoying the view. With the anticipation and excitement of a train ride, train meals offer a different dining experience.
But some boxed meals and snacks sold on trains or at train stations don’t live up to passengers’ expectations, and often become the reason passengers look toward arriving at their destination for a proper meal.
The Korea Railroad Corporation stepped up efforts to make train rides more memorable and fun by offering a diverse selection of fresh boxed meals that will be available for purchase on the platforms of Seoul Station starting June.
“KORAIL is presenting new menus that will meet different needs of our passengers. Boxed meals are an indispensable part of a train trip and we are bringing change to its taste and nutrition,” said Chung Chang-young, CEO of the KORAIL, at the tasting event for press on Tuesday.
It presented 40 choices, including Korean food, Japanese food, Southeast Asian noodles, Korean kimbap, rice balls, salads and fruits and rice cakes.
Korean boxed meals present five regional specialties including Eonyang bulgogi (grilled marinated beef), Chuncheon dalkgalbi (spicy grilled chicken), Damyang tteokgalbi (roasted ground rib) and Jeonju bibimbap.
“Tteokgalbi usually cost 22,000 won to 27,000 won in Damyang, but here you can eat the same regional specialty for 8,000 won,” said Oh Jae-rang, a reporter from Tour Korea, a travel magazine.
The Korean boxed meals offer, on average, four to six side dishes in addition to the main course.
Japanese boxed meals made by the bento brand Hotto Motto target Japanese tourists. These treats have shrimp tempura, grilled salmon and Japanese hamburger steak accompanied with pickled vegetables. The prices range from 6,000 won to 13,000 won.
Most of the boxed meals tasted better than the usual boxed meals, but some who sampled the food at the tasting event felt the meals were a bit on the salty side.
For young people, KORAIL presented five different kinds of Southeast Asian fried noodles including pad thai, mee goreng and khao phat.
The noodles were something that young people at the tasting event would favor over other boxed meals as they tasted good despite being served cold.
Snack options include “drug” gimbap, which is originally sold at Gwangjang market in Jongno, Seoul, and named after its addictive taste; rice cake by Nakwon Food; and rice balls, which will be made fresh right after an order is placed.
A participant suggested the boxed meals should be available nationwide and KORAIL should develop more regional specialties like Japan’s ekiben (station bento), which are sold at regional train stations. Ekiben has played a key role in attracting tourists to provinces to taste the boxed meals based on regional specialties.
“Developing more regional specialties and having them available at train stations on each regional line will boost local tourism,” the participant said.
By Lee Woo-young (firstname.lastname@example.org