I don’t know about you, but I love hearing about foods from all over the world. Since I teach in South Korea, I’m especially interested in how school lunches are different. In this post, you will see and learn about several school lunches from around the world, thanks to some fellow travel bloggers and ESL teachers! I hope you enjoy learning about the differences between each country’s offerings!
School Lunches From Around the World: South Korea
I’m at my second school as a teacher in South Korea, so I have seen and tasted various school lunches. Both the students and the teachers received the same lunches here. As teachers, we also eat in the cafeteria with the students. Everyday, we are served rice and a soup. There is always kimchi available as well. The other aspects of the lunch vary each day.
Last year, I taught at an elementary school. I feel as if the lunches were healthier there. I now teach high school, and many of the side dishes seem to be a bit “Americanized” or are a bit more fattening or have extra cheese or sauces. Of course, they’re pretty delicious! 🙂
School Lunches From Around the World: Italy
Eating is a big thing for Italians (hence the reason I’ve gained a stone since I moved here, oops!). Lunch is the biggest meal of the day and is a time for friends and/or family to get together, and man are the portions huge!
The children get a prima (first course) and seconda (main meal) , fruit and water. Pasta is always involved , it is Italy after all ! Here is the healthy and unhealthy version. Us as teachers call either choose to eat with the kids and have their diet meal or choose what we want from a bigger selection, on bad days I eat pizza, it’s good for the soul!
School Lunches From Around the World: Japan
Japanese School lunches are a deeply engrained part of Japanese culture. The students eat in their own classrooms and each student is timetabled to serve the school lunch to the other students whilst wearing chefs whites. School lunch is quite substantial and there is only one option for lunch. I was told that years ago Whale was served for school lunch but that doesn’t happen now, although I was served shark once which was quite a shock!
A usual lunch is miso soup, some vinegary salad, rice or bread, a side and a carton of milk. Teachers eat the same food as the students and both students and teachers are expected to finish the full meal, there’s no fussy eating in Japan!
School Lunches From Around the World: Uganda
At this primary school in Mukono, Uganda where I did my first ever volunteering placement, children line up for posho (porridge made from a starch called posho or ugali) for their lunch. There’s often not enough for every child so the little ones go first then its a scrum for the rest to get in line! 🙁 This cup of porridge is not only supposed to sustain them for the afternoon session of learning but is often the only food children have each day.
Teacher are provided lunch too, usually matooke (mashed green banana) with beans and sauce or with fish and peanut sauce. Children eat their porridge in the playground under the trees finding shade while staff have theirs in the staff room.
Submitted by Lottie. She works as the Director at Global Handprints and volunteered as part of her experience with this organization.
School Lunches From Around the World: Thailand
I worked in a government high school in Phangkon, Thailand. It’s the oldest part of Thailand and it’s incredibly rural. The culture in this area is a bit different to other parts of the country, including the food, which is a lot spicier.
They have a canteen at the school with about 8 different sections serving all the local dishes you would find at a street market. For example, Som Tum, sticky rice, and Tom Saep.
The food is made fresh by locals who run stores at the night market. Students pay 10 bhat (about 30 cents USD) for a meal and teachers pay 20 bhat (About 55 cents USD).
My favorite meal is pictured above. It’s fluffy white rice with a stir fried mix of pork, green beans, and chili
peppers. It also has an omelet on top. If you want, you can get fried egg instead of an omelet. I also liked to have a side of cut up fruit (pineapple, watermelon, or dragon fruit,etc.) for 10 baht.
School Lunches From Around the World: Thailand
This last school lunch also comes from Thailand! This is an example of a school lunch for Kindergarten students (age 4-7). The students usually eat rice with some kind of meat or vegetables. They also have water. If they want, they can ask for more rice.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about the school lunches that are provided in different parts of the world. As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by!