School Lunch in Japan May 17-23
Thursday May 17
Milk, mushroom spaghetti, green salad, satsuma potato
This one is pretty far from traditional Japanese fare, but even so, still maintains a bit of Japanese flair. The spaghetti was nice, surprisingly not dry despite the lack of a red sauce… probably thanks to the margarine. Tossed in with several types of mushrooms and bacon was asparagus. The ‘green’ salad was mostly cabbage and cucumber in a light vinegar dressing. The Satsuma potato was a sweet potato desert from Satsuma Prefecture.
Friday May 18
Milk, barley rice, fu chanpuru, shima burger, togan soup
From completely foreign to far more Japanese. This school lunch combines my favorite and least favorite items so far at school. Fu chanpuru is by far my favorite. Fu is simply glucose that’s stir-fried up with vegetables in the classic Okinawan dish chanpuru. On the other hand, not even the kids like the shima burger. Shima means ‘sea’ in Japanese, so you can guess what’s in the ‘burger.’ No? Mostly squid, but not grilled or fried squid, which is good… processed and baked, and fishy. Tougan is winter melon, a vegetable popular in China. Its makes a great soup.
Monday May 21
Milk, barley rice, skewered meatballs, curried bean sprouts, miso soup, orange
This one is pretty close to Japanese. Though meat isn’t traditional in Japan, it is widely consumed today, and with the sweet yakitori sauce and skewer, you know they’ve got Japanese style to them. The side/main dish was a new one for me. Essentially it was the usual bean sprout and vegetable mix in a stir-fry, but this time it was flavored with curry spice. Unlike most Japanese curry, which is served as a thick stew, this one was rue-less. The miso soup had daikon and seaweed in it.
Tuesday May 22
Milk, millet rice, A-sa Egg, Tamana- Chanpuru, Nagami Soup
Ok, so this one ventures pretty far into hogen, Okinawa’s dialect, which I don’t speak. What I do know is that a-sa is a sea plant often used in soups. Here it’s folded into a slightly sweetened and fried egg. As the egg cooks, its rolled along until a layered loaf is formed then cut. You’ll often find a similar bit on sushi rice if you order egg at a sushi restaurant. I’m not completely certain on the Tamana Chanpuru, but it had mostly cabbage and komatsuna (a leafy vegetable similar to spinach. Nagami roughly translates to ‘insides’ so I think it ends up as tripe soup.
Wednesday May 23
Milk, bread, chili con carne, bean sprout and sesame salad, consomme soup
Yep, you heard right, chili for lunch in Japan. Mostly beans with a bit of meat, the chili made a nice sandwich with the bread, though I’d have preferred a different medium. The soup was a common consomme that was nonetheless delicious as usual.
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