School Lunch in Japan for June 18-22

Monday June 18

Milk, millet rice, minced meat stuffed inari, stir fry vegetables, kenchin soup, apple

 This lunch was a somewhat strange mix of flavors.  Inari is a soybean product similar to tofu.  They are little pockets made from bean curd in a slightly sweet sauce.  Usually they are stuffed with sushi rice and served cold.  This version paired the same slightly sweet inari flavor with meat, which was strange for me but quite edible.  The rest of the meal was pretty straight forward with a clear broth soup with root vegetables and tofu, and an apple to finish. 

Tuesday June 19

 Milk, barley rice, egg, winter melon nbushi-

Ok, right off the bat: What’s nbushi-?  “Nbushi-” is hogen for boiled miso.  Thanks to http://hougen.ajima.jp for the translation.  This Okinawan dish has tougan (winter melon) root vegetables, conbu (a type of seaweed) in bow ties, and pork boiled together with miso.  Along side was fried egg with more vegetables inside.

Wednesday June 20

 Milk, bread, tofu hamburger, broccoli salad, consomme soup

For much of Japan’s history, meat was an uncommon food item.  There is little grazing land for cattle, and what other animals were for working or pets.  With that in mind, it’s no wonder Japanese cuisine has so many interesting ways to work with vegetables and alternative protein sources.  The burger had the texture of meat, and while a little dry was still very tasty.  With the bread and a bit of the cheese and broccoli salad it made a nice sandwich.  The consomme soup had big chunks of potato which didn’t go as nicely with the bread.  Overall, not a very Japanese lunch,,, except of course for the tofu. 

Thursday June 21

Milk, pumpkin curry rice, fruit cocktail

This was probably one of the tastiest school lunch curries I’ve ever had, though it was a little on the sweet side for my taste.  Addition of kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) was an interesting twist on a school favorite. It was definitely a quiet meal, even among the teachers (everyone was too busy eating!)  One teacher even commented that if there was a curry cooking competition, the school lunch center would win.

Friday June 22

Milk, barley rice, baked fish, bean sprout chanpuru, winter melon and mozuku soup, amagashi

This week’s final meal was very Japanese.  The ‘ideal’ Japanese meal is white rice, vegetables, and a bit of fish.  Today we got all that plus some delicious soup with tougan (winter melon) and mozuku (a type of seaweed).  The dessert was made from sweetened beans popular in Japanese desserts.

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