School Lunch in Japan May 24 – Jun 1
Thursday May 24
Milk, chahan, lotus root steamed dumpling, vegetable soup
Oh chahan, you can never go wrong with chahan. A delicious mix of rice, fried pork, egg, and vegetables all in one dish. Along side, we had two lotus blossom meat steamed dumplings (a mouth full for sure!) and a hearty Chinese vegetable soup with chingensai, pork, carrot, and mushroom, and more.
This type of meal reflects the strong Chinese influence in the Okinawan islands. A local fusion of Japanese and Chinese history in every bite.
Friday May 25
Milk, yakisoba, Chinese corn soup, brown sugar cake
Just a few weeks ago one of the third grade groups made yakisoba (fried noodles) for their ensoku bbq. The school lunch version is a bit more tame, but still delicious. To go with the noodles (yes they’re spaghetti instead of traditional soba) we had a tasty egg drop and corn soup with a mini brown sugar cake. Yakisoba are noodles, vegetables and meat fried together then topped with a slightly sweet brown sauce.
Monday May 28
Milk, chicken pilaf, croquet, hakusai soup
Ok, you caught me. Somehow I completely spaced taking pictures for two days this week. Its unforgivable, I know. Unfortunately, without the pictures this meal was pretty forgettable.
Tuesday May 29
Milk, barley rice, cabbage chanpuru, baked capalin (shishamo),cucumber salad
This meal stuck in my head a bit more, and the components we’ve had before, though not together. The cabbage chanpuru was a tasty mix of several vegetables in the usual garlic, dashi, and soy base that flavors the dish. The capalin? are small whole fishes that are stuffed with eggs (roe) and baked. They’re meant to be eaten head, bones, and all. What keeps this from being a 5 on the Japanized scale? The cucumber salad and the fact the chanpuru leaned closer to its Okinawan roots than a mainland stir fry.
Wednesday May 30
Milk, taco rice, seaweed soup, apple
Taco rice is a favorite Okinawan dish adopted during America’s administration of the island. Instead of tortillas, here the normal taco ingredients are placed on a bed of white rice. The school lunch version tastes pretty good, but with a milder seasoning than we’d get back in Arizona. The seaweed soup of course, keeps this meal from getting only one rice bowl.
Thursday May 31
This meal was high up on the More Things Japanese scale of Japan-ness. While chanpuru is an Okinawan dish, this take is far closer to a typical stir fry than goya chanpuru or the cabbage chanpuru on Tuesday. The sea plant soup was made from a-sa, daikon (giant white radish), and tofu in a dashi (seaweed and dried fish) broth. The tempura was a strip of boneless fish meat covered in the traditional batter and deep-fried.
Friday Jun 1
Milk, yukari (violet) rice, boiled conbu, mini burger, miso soup, shikuwasa jelly
Today’s meal was delicious and quite Japanese. The main carb was basic rice mixed with a pickled shiso for flavor and color. The conbu irichi is a tough seaweed dish. Conbu was sliced thinly so it acted almost as a noodle, then was tossed with other vegetables. The mini burger was a combination of root vegetables and pork with a sweet bbq sauce. Shikuwasa is an Okinawan lime that makes a tasty jelly.