Eating Your Way Home
by Kady Matsuzaki
Photography by Angela Wang
Boston University may be our home away from home, but sooner or later we all get hit with that overwhelming sense of homesickness. No, it’s not just a feeling reserved for freshmen—especially when it comes to the foods we grew up with. Here is a list of restaurants to satisfy those cravings, classified by state/region.
The Pacific/West Coast:
Hawaii: Food yearnings appear endless when hailing from the home of the (now super trendy) poke bowl, spam musubi, shave ice and dozens of other unique foods.
“I could go on and on about my cravings,” said Grace Lei (SAR ’18).
No matter what island you’re from, check out Yamato for all-you-can-eat sushi, Jugo’s for acai bowls and the soon-to-open Pokeworks for poke in Davis Square.
California: California is mostly known for the ubiquitous In-N-Out diner burger. When in Boston, head over to Tasty Burger for an East Coast spin or, if you’re looking for something a little classier, try “Our Way” at The Gallows.
California is also home to a multitude of great ethnic foods. Sam Kim (COM ’19) says her strongest food cravings are for anything Korean because there’s “nothing like K-town anywhere else.” Check out Bibim in Allston or Kaju Tofu House to get on that aegyo train. Craving authentic Mexican? Anna’s Taqueria and El Pelon have some of the best burritos in town. One foodie review even considers El Pelon home to some of the best burritos in the U.S.
Olivia Calabrese (CAS ’19) said, “Nothing can really beat a New York bagel but [Bagelsaurus in Cambridge] is as close as it gets.”
Other students from New York and Jersey experience overwhelming cravings for Italian food—luckily the North End is only a short T-ride away. Old-school joints like Giancomo’s and Regina Pizzeria serve up delicious Italian at reasonable prices. Pennsylvania native Julia Yoder (CAS ’19) says her ultimate homesick food craving is the whoopie pie. Traditionally two rounds of cake with frosting sandwiched in-between, the sweet treat is a proud product of the Pittsburgh area. You don’t have to travel far to get your hands on one in Boston: Bova’s Bakery and Modern Pastry both serve the dessert.
Chicago: Nowhere outside of Chi-town can safely claim that they have the best deep-dish pizza, but Galleria Umberto does an honorable job churning out Sicilian-style deep-dish in the North End. Give it a try and you may find yourself distracted from those relentless cravings.
“The big Southern eats I always miss are things like cheese grits, buttermilk biscuits, peach cobbler, barbecue and Publix subs,” says Holly Gunder (CAS ’19). Sweet Cheeks in Fenway serves some of the most buttery biscuits in Boston and all the pulled pork, brisket and grits you could crave. If you’re looking to put the “sweet” in “Sweet Home Alabama,” keep an eye out for the seasonal peach cobbler at Petsi Pies in Cambridge.
It is no secret that BU is also home to a vast number of international students. Fortunately, Boston has innumerable restaurants and food trucks to cater to any homesickness-induced craving.
Canadians, rejoice! After a long night out, your drunchies can be satisfied the same way they are up north at Saus. There’s nothing better than cheese curds and gravy on fries, and us Americans are definitely grateful that your homesickness has brought this amazing creation over the border.
For Chinese students, authentic dim sum is only a short T-ride away. Boston’s Chinatown houses some great treasures like Winsor Dim Sum Cafe and Hei La Moon. This area is perfect for when American brunch on Newbury Street isn’t hitting the spot for mid-morning char siu bao and chicken feet.
Get a taste of the Middle East with Sevan Bakery in Watertown. Here you can find Armenian staples such as baba ganoush, dolmas and kibbe. Sevan’s is also a wholesale market, so stock up on kitchen essentials if you live off campus! Side note: the baklava is legendary.
Cafe Madeleine on Newbury has all of the pastries French students need to sooth their ennui. Try the ham and cheese croissant for a buttery, savory treat. If you’re willing to make the trek, MA-France in Lexington provides delicious crepes and galettes, perfect for a light lunch. For a more substantial meal, Le Petit Robert Bistro in the South End has great duck confit, escargot and other French staples.
Students from South America can try Muqueca Restaurant for Brazilian, Orinoco for Caribbean and Cabana Grill for Salvadoran cuisine. Fresh seafood, fried yucca and (for those of you 21+) caipirinha are popular at Muqueca and Cabana Grill has a huge buffet for only $11.50 on weeknights. Quelling homesickness has never been easier or more delicious.
While nothing can truly beat the food from our hometowns, Boston has us covered when our homesickness gets a little too intense. Whether you’re from the middle of the Pacific Ocean or from a different continent, the food we associate with home can be found in the city we all call our own.