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Kyushoku: Delicious School Lunch

September 15, 2010

Japanese school lunch (Kyushoku) is a completely different world than the cafeteria lunches seen in the U.S.A..  Growing up a bagged lunch kid, I don’t have an intimate knowledge of the food, but it was from what I’d call well planned or good.

Here in Japan the meals are extensively planned, balanced and, best of all, I love it.  There have only been a handful of time where I did not enjoy my lunch, but even then, there’s always one kid in the class who absolutely loves it and will gladly add yours to his mountain hawked off other kids.

99% of students at junior high school eat school lunch, a pretty solid testimony to both its nutritional value for parents and its taste for the kids.  The menu is planned out in advanced by dietitians and is extremely balanced.  Almost every meal has a starch (bread, rice or noodles), a protein (fish or chicken), “greens” as my southern family may call them (vegetables), a sweet (often fruit, sometimes pudding, jelly or some topping for the rice, all with a cold milk carton to go along with it.  In addition to all that, as a teacher I get some green tea too.

Each classroom has a printout of the upcoming lunch schedule (typically monthly) telling them what that food is going to be as well as the caloric, protein and fat content of the food (it averages to about 800 calories per meal).

The food itself is really varied.  I’ve had curry, udon, Italian (udon with meat sauce and a side of salad with Italian dressing, to be fair), clam chowder and tons more.  There’s also a lot of Japanese foods, obviously.  I feel that it’s a pretty good sample of what a typical Japanese person eats at home.  Lots of fish, rice and miso soup.

I took photos of three weeks of school lunches to check them out click “Read More”.

Japanese style curry rice, veggies and yogurt

Bread, chicken and cheese to be used for a sandwich, miso soup, cucumbers and an apple.

Sakura Rice (I believe), fried fish, sauced veggies and miso soup with quail eggs.

Rice, kiwi, beef stew and miso soup

Rice, tofu stew, some fruit and veggies.

Chinese food, I think, stir fried fish and veggies, soup, rice with Umeboshi and an Orange.

Here we have bread (big foreigner me gets two pieces!), clam chowder and veggies

Sekihan (red rice and beans), soup with Quail eggs, fish, greens and a jelly.

Fried fish (whole, but not bad at all), various veggies, rice and a meat stew (probably chicken).

Bread (there is only white bread in this country), chowder to dip it in, marinated veggies and jelly.

Seasoned rice, beans, chicken, and veggies in a sauce, and miso soup

An egg based stew of sorts, fried fish, green beans and rice.

  1. September 15, 2010 10:17 pm

    Your school lunch is served in a much classier way than mine! I get it served on a plastic yellow prison-style sections tray, no bowls for me except the soup bowl!

  2. September 16, 2010 10:41 pm

    Hey Jon,
    Looks like you are well fed. It sure is a change from school lunch here. That will make your Mom happy. I am looking forward to more pics of your vacation.
    Your #1 fan!!

  3. Don Murphy permalink
    September 18, 2010 8:47 am

    Hay Jon i was looking at your pics of the food and Keenan seen it and said eewwww thats Biscusting with a B. right Dad . Looks ok to me but i would rather have a Arbetter Hot Dog.

  4. October 25, 2011 3:25 am

    I also am a fan of Kyushoku! Nice explanation

  5. bull permalink
    February 28, 2012 3:18 pm

    i have to take my own food to school

  6. Milkman permalink
    February 28, 2012 3:20 pm

    Good buissness for me. so much mik to sell
    me very rich

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