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Kowloon Food Service Shock-Detonates in Gullet

By Matthew H. Hersch
Opinion Editor

I was getting all set to write a column on the counter-democratic Bonapartist tendencies of the Venezuelan paratrooper corps when I sucked down some really awful Chinese food.

I've had bad Chinese food before, but last night's was probably the worst. Because, you see, I ordered from Kowloon for the first time since they started accepting meal cards.

Over the past few months, ARA, seeking yet another way to compensate for its own inedible grub, has been searching for a Chinese restaurant that would accept meal cards. Kowloon won the toss.

I don't know how.

My experience with Kowloon goes back a little more than a year, when my roommate and I began sampling a number of Chinese services in the area. We quickly discovered that nearby Larry's Chinese provided the largest menus, best food, and most convenient delivery, and, we discovered equally quickly, that a late-night joint called Kowloon offered probably the worst, most expensive food in the area.

We tested Kowloon many times before dumping it, and I once even ate at Kowloon's 1,200 seat restaurant in Saugus. But Kowloon was always bad, a really interesting kind of bad. It cost more than Larry's, it had a delivery minimum, and its menu was limited. Kowloon food tasted tasted indescribably odd, and had a nasty way of sneaking back up your esophagus when you were trying to digest it.

When I heard that ARA was considering Kowloon, I refrained from expressing my doubts, in the hope that Kowloon would clean up its act, or that I could trust ARA to act in the interests of common standards of decency.

They didn't.

My roommate and I ordered Kowloon Monday night, and the food was as expensive, slow, and revolting as I remembered it. With great uneasiness I felt the roast duck shock-detonate in my gullet, the blast wave soothed only by the fat and grease coating the wretched fowl I had ingested.

Why Kowloon? Why choose that place when so many fine Chinese restaurants, like the Mandarin, the Royal East, and Larry's are so close to MIT? Was ARA so concerned with finding a Chinese restaurant open till 1 am that it forgot to check food quality?

This column really isn't about Kowloon -- it's about ARA. Once again, ARA has dropped the ball. Instead of improving the cuisine in their cafeterias and maintaining schedules that meet their patron's needs, they turn to Kowloon and Domino's.

ARA may not be able to prepare its own food, but at least it could score a deal with one of the better Chinese restaurants in the area, even if that means foregoing late-night delivery. Students want quality -- they'd rather have good food sometimes than bad food at all hours. ARA has provided this campus with enough third-party late night slop; it's about time they improved their own food or find restaurateurs that can cook.

Meanwhile, ARA has shackled me to a minimum meal plan on a use-it-or-lose-it basis. I cannot work my schedule around meal times at house cafeterias, though, so I will not eat at Walker or Next House. I will not eat Domino's or Kowloon or Networks or Lobdell, because I do not want to die.

So, it seems, I will have to buy $1,000 worth of Oreos and paper towels at the Next House Convenience Store, and seek sustenance at Fresco's Cafe and Larry's. Perhaps, if everyone ignores ARA, ARA might even pack up and go away, far away, where they will never bother us again.

So stick it to ARA, 'cause they're sticking it to you