School Lunch in Japan for June 4-8
Monday June 4
Milk, hijiki rice, sweet and sour chingensai, fatty tofu soup, almonds
The main course for this meal was a type of fried rice with hijiki seaweed mixed in. Hijiki is a small black plant. The salad was chingensai (a leafy vegetable), ham, and other vegetables in a aemono, or sweet pickling dressing. The soup was broken tofu and onion.
Tuesday June 5
Milk, barley rice, sautéed burdock, fried kibinago, daikon clear soup, purple potato chips
This meal is far on the side of traditional Japanese food (excepting perhaps the chips). Along with white rice cut with barley, we had whole mini fishes, a clear broth soup with giant white radish and sautéed vegetables. In this case the vegetables included beans, burdock root, and carrots.
Wednesday June 6
Milk, deep-fried flour bread, cheese salad, pumpkin omelet, minestrone soup
You might find deep-fried flour a strange topping for bread, but its a regular addition to our monthly menus. Kinako can also be found on the outside of some mochi. The cheese salad is definitely not traditional Japanese, but the small size, mayonnaise based dressing and selection of cabbage and beans is rather modern Japanese. The pumpkin omelet was an extra source of protein. Pumpkins are such a big part of western culture, but I’ve found them used far more widely, and deliciously, in Japan. Far more than carving and pie.
The soup, while labeled minestrone was mostly a tomato based broth with various vegetables. It’s too bad we didn’t have regular bread. The cheese salad would have made a decent sandwich but the kanako demanded using the bag to prevent flour dust getting everywhere.
Thursday June 7
Milk, millet rice, baked salmon, vegetable chanpuru, root vegetable soup, pineapple mouse
This was another mostly Japanese meal. The pineapple mouse is another non-traditional, yet mostly modern Japanese item. It was a white jelly with bits of pineapple. Hard to explain but delicious. The soup was also good but very strong on the seasoning. The fish was simply baked skin on salmon. With the chanpuru being the highlight of the meal.
Friday June 8
Milk, barley rice, ma-bo- eggplant, bean sprout namul, orange
Unlike the ma-bo- dofu (ie tofu) we usually get, today’s version had eggplant (nasu) which is starting to come into season here. Of course the stew-like dish had tofu as well and is one of my favorite lunches here. The Namul is a Korean dish, with marinated bean sprouts and other vegetables, a non-spicy cousin of kimchi.