My South Korean School Lunch Project

Trying new food is typically AMAZING; I’m sure all you food lovers out there can relate. When I found out I got accepted to teach English in South Korea, one of the main things I immediately looked forward to was trying Korean food. I’d eat that live octopus and triumph in front of my co-teachers! I couldn’t wait for Korean BBQ, and all the slurpy, delicious noodles they’d serve.

Today, something made me nostalgic for that time of anticipation…

I didn’t know what to expect, but now I’m here. I’m actually living life in Korea, and the reality of the situation is that food can often be hard to swallow. Don’t get me wrong, pork cutlets on a grill and gimbop from my local restaurants are delicious… but there’s one thing I’ve quickly learned is not: public school lunch. And thus, my school lunch project was born. I’ve decided that all of you must suffer with me. What are they feeding us? We can’t always be sure…

Most important of all, I decided to start this project because a huge difference between Korean and Western culture is their culinary preferences. There’s a lot I’ve had to get used to, and I think it might be enlightening to show you some of the things that are considered nutritious and delicious in South Korea.

Are you ready for this?

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Todays choices were actually not so bad for a Korean school lunch.

Clearly I wasn’t too upset because I took more than a couple bites of what I think was pork hamburger. I’m assuming it’s pork because I haven’t seen a cow in sight since I’ve been here. The rice was pretty decent; I believe it’s flavoured with red bean paste. They eat tofu out of a container. It was warm when she put it on my plate, and it tasted strangely like plastic. I can’t guarantee it was GMO free. I feel bad for all of my vegetarian friends, not only because the tofu was… something special… but also because almost every soup we’re ever served is made with some kind of meat broth. I have to say, though, the dumpling soup was the best part of the meal!

What’s different about school lunch where you come from? Is it anything like Korean school lunch? Is there something you see that looks absolutely delicious or absolutely revolting in this picture?

Next Korean Street Food: A Culinary Adventure in Photos

1 Comment

  1. September 30, 2014

    That looks pretty terrible. The school lunches in Thailand are hit or miss as well, but lunches for teachers aren’t even close to how bad the food is for the students. Luckily I’m able to sneak away for most meals 🙂

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