As culturally diverse as USC’s student body is, many students fail to recognize and appreciate the international food court located just across the street from USC’s campus, on Hoover Street and Jefferson Boulevard.
Hidden within the shabby depths of the University Village is a treasure trove of delicious and affordable eateries. The selections are endless, as the U.V.’s international food court has an assemblage of restaurants, which all have their own expansive menus.
Take advantage of the U.V.’s food court, as USC will soon start to renovate the U.V. and neighboring university-owned property — expect some of the eateries to vacate circa 2013.
These are among the hidden treats found a five-minute walk away:
Located in the middle of the food court is Nahm San, a luncheonette that serves traditional Korean barbecue in vast quantities and reasonable prices.
The Bibimbap combo not only comes with a superb rendition of the signature Korean dish, but also comes with a small side of soup and veggies. The bibimbap’s vegetables are fresh and crunchy, and the meat options are all tenderly delicious. With the option of adding an egg and Nahm San’s special gochujang, this bibimbap is a surefire hit.
Nahm San also offers tantalizing dishes with its chicken and beef, fried egg and spicy beef noodle soup dishes.
Next to Nahm San is Thai Trio. As the name implies, Thai Trio serves its own respective array of customary Thai repasts.
If you are looking for a good noodle dish, try Thai Trio’s Pad See Ew — with chicken, shrimp or both. Thai Trio’s kitchen does an excellent job of preparing the rice noodles, and the Chinese broccoli and chicken combination successfully complements the noodles, rounding out the dish to create a meal that is truly sufficient for the stomach and satisfying for the palette.
Thai Trio also has great crispy, crunchy egg rolls that are worth a try, and, while you’re there, don’t forget to try the Thai Iced Tea or Thai Iced Coffee — both are superb-yet-unique drinks.
One of the U.V.’s newer food joints is Corcovado, a Brazilian grill that serves a gallimaufry of meat skewers and veggie-oriented sides.
Corcovado charges by the pound. It would behoove students to be conscientious of this when perusing the vast, buffet-style assortment of victuals; it is easy to get carried away.
The chicken breast wrapped in bacon is an utter delight with its crispy exterior and succulent interior, but if you want to be more daring, try the Brazilian sausage, as it will most assuredly be a new experience.
If you like Corcovado, pick up one of its meal cards. After 10 meals, you get one pound of meat for free.
Back to the Oriental hub of the food court — amid Thai Trio and Nahm San — is Manna, a sushi bar that offers fresh and delectable Japanese cuisine.
Like Nahm San, Manna has multiple options that supply a lot of food for affordable prices. One of the best frugal-but-appetizing options on the menu is the Salmon Plate, which comes with fresh grilled teriyaki salmon, vegetable brochette, Asian coleslaw, tossed green salad and a small side of rice.
Manna offers the same plate with teriyaki chicken and has a wide variety of sushi rolls, including the notorious Dragon Roll.
If you aren’t in the mood for international cuisine, the U.V. also has an American deli counter that serves home-style sandwiches.
Situated near the back entrance of the food court is Sandwich Island, a family-run, classier version of Subway. Unlike Subway, Sandwich Island has meat, fish, fruits and vegetables that redefine “eating fresh.”
The service is also something to brag about, compared to the monotonous, conveyer-belt-like experience you get at the Subway just around the corner.
There are no limits with Sandwich Island; anything on its menu is subject to your own, personal experimentation. Try a pastrami sandwich topped with melted Swiss cheese and jalapeños, or perhaps a tuna sandwich with crisp tomatoes and lettuce.
The U.V.’s food court is also home to Kabob Master (Mediterranean), Cilantro (Mexican), Taste of India (Indian), Health Hut (Salads), Mongo Fresh (Mongolian), Viztango Café (Italian), Bamboo Express (Chinese) and a Boba teahouse.