School cafeteria lunch

Some people have been wondering what school lunch is like in Korea.  So, I’ve taken some pictures to share with you.

Please note, generally speaking – all schools serve the same sort of lunch: 3 Korean sides, 1 rice, 1 soup.  However, how each thing tastes – well, that can vary quite a bit between schools.  Fortunately, I think the head cook at our school is pretty good, so most of the time our lunches are decent.  (FYI: The head cook, just like teachers, also move to new schools every four years.  Which is a good thing if your cook sucks, and a bad thing if your cook is awesome).

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My school’s cafeteria.  So calm and peaceful it looks now, but believe me – during lunchtime, it’s chaos.  Loud, smelly, dirty chaos.

 

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Lunch #1.  Starting on upper left and going clockwise: lettuce with a sesame oil dressing (YUM), some sort of meat – probably pork, kimchi (of course), some type of tofu soup, and rice (of course).

 

As you can tell, I’m doing a great job of learning all the names of Korean foods. 🙂

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Lunch #2.  A different style kimchi (less spicy.  Oops…took the pic a little late), orange slices, fish skin (I think), and curry and rice.  Koreans love curry – Japanese style curry that is.

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Lunch #3. Picked radish kimchi, a spicy cabbage slaw, quail eggs (which I love), a seafood soup, and rice. 

 

When you are done eating, you pile all your uneaten food scraps into one part of the tray and then take it over to the food bin…and unload.  Ewwww.

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I took a pic of the bin after it’s been cleaned.  It’s usually really gross when it’s in use.

 

Next, if you are thirsty – you don’t drink water DURING lunch, but wait until after.

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Get your sterilized metal cup from the sterilizing cabinet.  These cups are about 4 inches high – roughly 3 large gulps of water.

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Here’s where you fill up.  Usually the water is a lukewarm temperature.  Kind of odd.  There’s usually a large traffic jam at this part of the cafeteria. 

 

So, there you go.  What do you think of Korean school lunches?  Some of my English teacher friends can’t stomach the school lunches – so they opt to bring in a sack lunch everyday (which ALL Koreans find very strange.  “A sandwich for lunch?”  [insert very curious and concerned looks from Korean teachers]). 

Also, I do pay for my lunches.  Each month about $35 (US) gets deducted from my paychecks.  Pretty cheap…about $1.75/school day.

 

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10 Responses to “School cafeteria lunch”


  1. 1 Naomi July 7, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I LOVE school food. With the exception of the fish, because I had a fish bone choking incident. I swear, my school has the best yellow curry, and V swears his school has the best jjajjang. I wish kids in America could have this kind of lunch.
    ps. I love quail eggs, too!

  2. 2 Mom July 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    The lunches look delish…Are the quail eggs pickled? I agree with Naomi, our school lunches need to be revamped to a healthier menu.

  3. 3 katie p July 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    We were driven crazy in Japan with the same “not really drinking with one’s meal” thing… we’d order a coke and get like 4 oz worth for our entire meal. I guess they figure you’re not thirsty since there are so many beverage vending machines everywhere. Are Koreans in love with vending machines on every corner like the Japanese are? It is rather convenient…

  4. 4 muchadoaboutlisa July 12, 2010 at 5:20 am

    @Katie: Yes, vending machines everywhere, but I think it was even crazier in Japan. From what I have tried to understand…Koreans don’t typically like to drink water and eat food at the same time b/c it interferes with digestion.

    But they don’t seem to have any problems drinking lots of beer and soju with their meals! 🙂

  5. 5 Joshua July 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Fascinating stuff – I agree with the earlier poster that we need more lunches like this (well, not food like this – the kids would freak… though that’d be funny…) in the States… and no more processed crud.

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    I was searching for this exact information 😀
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  1. 1 44 things I’ll miss about living in Korea « Much Ado About Lisa Trackback on July 9, 2010 at 5:46 am

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