School Lunch March 15-21
Thursday March 15
Milk, barley rice, sliced beef stir fry, mixed meat dumplings, Chingensai soup
This one is high on the Japanese side of things, even if beef and meat was not a normal part of traditional Japanese foods.
Friday March 16
Milk, neapolitan spaghetti, sauteed beans, fuwatto ichigo (strawberry) mochi
You might think the mochi saves this meal from being completely foreign, but the filling helps make it full on corndog. The spaghetti and beans felt like something I’d get at someone’s house back in the States. I expected the mochi to be the common kind of strawberry mochi, where a bit of berry is in the center. I was quite surprised then, to find whip cream, with only the barest strawberry taste in the mochi itself. Tasty, but surprising.
Monday March 19
Milk, chahan, vegetable gyoza, meatball soup
This meal is very Okinawan, which means its pretty much halfway between Chinese and Japanese food. Chahan is an Okinawan version of fried rice, usually with pork. In this case, a-sa pork. The soup was chicken and pork meatball soup. Gyoza are common dumplings originally from China. This meal was great, but the portions were larger than usual since a bunch of teachers took the day off. I couldn’t finish mine so I ended up with an onigiri for an after school snack.
Tuesday March 20
This was Shunbun no Hi, also known as the Spring Solstice, and was a holiday in Japan. Since everyone had the day off, there was no school lunch!
Wednesday March 21
Milk, katsu curry rice, fruit salad
This is the meal everyone smiles about in Japanese schools. This is Chef Boyardee, Mac n Cheese, and pop-tarts all in one for Japanese students. Curry Rice is a favorite, with many root vegetables in a spicy curry rue over rice. Many countries do curry well, and this particular type of brown rue is Japan’s take. Katsu is simply fried pork cutlet, which is another Japanese comfort food (though semi-modern). So, two comfort foods together is twice the win. For schools, instead of nice cuts of meat, the katsu are more like croquettes but it was all good. Not traditional Japanese, but its been adopted very strongly.