For each installment of the Race to My Place, we will be pitting two restaurants with similar cuisines, estimated delivery times, and prices against each other and see whose delivery reigns supreme!Â We will compare delivery speed, packaging & presentation, quality & taste, and value.Â For this Korean Bulgogi race, our contestants were Soma by Nature and Se Ja Meh.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Korean food, Bulgogi is a Korean BBQ dish consisting of thin sliced sirloin that is marinated in a mixture of garlic, onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, and sugar, and then grilled.Â If you eat this in house, you are often given the option of barbecuing it yourself, but this practice can often result in making your hair, clothes, and all your belongings smell like smoke!Â For this Korean race, we ordered pre-grilled Bulgogi lunch boxes from Se Ja Meh and Soma by Nature.
Delivery Speed: Tie
We have a new delivery record!Â Both restaurants delivered their food in exactly 8 minutes. I don’t know how, and I’m not sure I want to know how, but literally right after I placed my order for Se Ja Meh, Soma by Nature was already calling me to come downstairs.Â Then, Se Ja Meh called as I was in the elevator on my way back up; it was a hectic lunch hour!
Packaging & Presentation: Tie
This category was a tie because both restaurants had their pros and cons.Â The container that Soma by Nature used had really high partitions which made it very neat and stopped all the sauces from running into each other.Â However, the partitions didn’t keep the flavors from melding together, so each item had a hint of some other taste.
Se Ja Meh kept all their side dishes in separate containers which eliminated flavor contamination.Â Their Bulgogi, Jap Chae, and dumpling, on the other hand were all placed in one container with low partitions, and the Bulgogi marinade ended up infiltrating everything.
It’s difficult to keep everything separate when there are so many different parts to a meal, and neither restaurant got it quite right.
Quality & Taste: Se Ja Meh
Se Ja Meh wins this category on the basis of their Bulgogi alone.Â Both deliveries came with so many different side dishes, they would be impossible to compare.Â Soma by Nature’s Bulgogi tasted like the kind you would get at an international buffet; it was overcooked and the garlic overpowered the marinade.Â Se Ja Meh’s Bulgogi was finely grilled and the sauce wasn’t as oily or as garlicky as Soma’s.Â Their rice was also softer and stickier as Korean rice is suppose to be.
If we were to compare the side dishes separately, Soma by Nature would probably be the winner.Â While Se Ja Meh offered more traditional side dishes such as kimchi, jap chae, vegetable mandoo, and other various pickled vegetables, none of the items tasted quite right.Â The pickled zucchini was mushy, the jap chae and vegetable mandoo were drowned in bulgogi marinade, and their side salad, while fresh, had a really strange dressing that just wasn’t very appealing.
Soma by Nature’s side dishes were an eclectic hodgepodge of quasi-Asian items.Â They included two pieces of a California Roll which were actually quite tasty and brimming with avocado, two varieties of yam: one bright purple and one orange, an Asian style frittata with jap chae cooked into it, a tiny nickel-sized crab cake, a really bad seafood pancake, and oddly, a banana muffin.Â There was also a random meatball on top of the rice, but nobody dared to try it, and we weren’t quite sure how it tied into the Asian theme.
Most of the side dishes took on a hint of banana flavor from the banana muffin, but besides that oddity, eating this meal was like going on an adventure without leaving your office.Â We all had so much fun guessing what everything was, and sometimes, even after trying some of the items, we still weren’t quite sure what we had eaten!Â When I learned that Soma by Nature was in fact a buffet style eatery, the randomness of the side dishes began to make sense.Â I would definitely order this again just to see what side dishes I would get, it’s all very exciting!
Value: Soma by Nature
With all the fun side dishes, Some by Nature won this by a landslide!Â Their lunchbox, at $10.95, was also cheaper than Se Ja Meh’s $12 lunchbox.
In the end, this race is still kind of up in the air.Â Both restaurants deliver at a lightning fast speed, and both have their pros and cons.Â If you’re looking for authentic Korean food, I would order from Se Ja Meh.Â But if you’re having one of those days where you want “Asian food,” and you’d like to be taken on a flavorful adventure, Soma by Nature is your best bet!