School Lunch in Okinawa Japan for July 2-6
Monday July 2
Milk, barley rice, mozuku stuffed fried egg, daikon bushii, orange
Monday’s meal was on the far side of tasty, but for me it wasn’t much of a surprise since daikon was featured so heavily in the bushii. Stewed daikon (giant white radish) isn’t something you’ll find a whole lot in the West, but its got such a unique mild flavor to it. The bushii is essentially a light stew of pork, daikon, and other root vegetables that combine with hints of soy and other Japanese flavors for a hearty and delicious meal. Along side was a bit of fried egg with mozuku (a local seaweed) for extra protein and a bit of orange. Not a completely Japanese meal, but rather close. 4 Bowls.
Tuesday July 3
Milk, whole wheat bread, ‘cup’ baked fish, goya salad, tougan soup, apple jam
This meal was one of those odd mixes of East and West that hit far from any kind of fusion. The fish was topped with cheese and was actually quite moist. I used it to make a sandwich, though the flavors didn’t mesh all that well with the whole wheat. The goya salad was bitter as to be expected, but would have been fine except that the apple jam provided for the bread was sweet and made the acidity of and bitterness of the salad and its dressing all the more apparent. About half the elementary school kids around me kept trying to get rid of more of the goya salad by putting it on a friends’ plate. The soup which had winter melon in it was tasty. Overall confused. 3 Bowls.
Wednesday July 4
Milk, barley rice, chikina chanpuru, meat stuffed inari, root vegetable soup
If the stuffed inari looks familiar to you, it is because we had it just two weeks ago. This time it tasted a little better to me, less of the normal sweetness of the bean curd pocket, to go against the savory meat inside. The chanpuru was made with chikina (mustard greens), tofu, and other vegetables and was very good. The soup was mostly daikon and burdock root. Tasty, rather traditional. 5 Bowls.
Thursday July 5
Milk, 3 item rice, fish somen soup, tanabata jelly
This meal was served as a ‘don,’ a rice bowl topped with fried egg, chicken, and spinach. Along side was a soup with noodles made from fish as well as other vegetables. The desert was a special type of jelly for this weekend’s Tanabata star festival. I’ll be posting more on it tomorrow! A simple traditional meal. 5 Bowls.
Friday July 6
Milk, barley rice, papaya irichi, fish tempura, a-sa soup, shikuwasa jelly
Today’s meal was in honor of a group of students visiting from Nigata Prefecture. In order to give them a sense of Okinawa, the meal was designed to show unique Okinawan foods. The papaya irichi was a stir fry with shaved green (unripe) papaya, canned tuna, and other vegetables. The fish was a local variety called manbika- in tempura. The soup was a usual dashi broth with a-sa a light sea plant and tofu. Finally desert was a jelly made from shikuwasa, an Okinawan lime that is a little sour but very tasty. Very Okinawan, and Japanese in style, but not quite all Japan. 4 Bowls.