I can recall, with a faint sense of horror, what school lunches were like for me as a student in the US. There was cardboard-y rectangular pizza, watery canned corn, and gloopy mashed potatoes. We would supplement our so-called nutrition with whatever we could from the ubiquitous vending machines.
Things are different in here in Korea.
School lunches are pretty damn good. They’re something that I actually look forward to each day, rather than yet another thing to slog through. There are also strict guidelines about school lunches in Korea, which encompass both nutritional benefit of food as well as a calorie limit. Additionally, Korean law prohibits the sale of prohibits sales of high-calorie, low-nutrition, and high-caffeinated food and drinks at schools, which means there aren’t any vending machines around to sell junk to kids.
However, the very best thing about school lunch in Korean elementary schools is that it’s completely free to students, so no child ever has to worry about going hungry.
There are three main staples at virtually any Korean meal: rice, soup, and the pervasive kimchi. The rest of the meal usually involves different banchan or side dishes (you can read more about banchan here). As you can see in the photos below, school lunch is no exception.
Without any further ado, I give you my lunch for the week.
What’s school lunch like where you live? Let me know in the comments!