Entries in School Lunch in Japan (1)


School Lunch

My wife visited our son's elementary school today to attend a lecture about kyūshoku, or school lunch. The presentation ended up being more interesting than she had expected.

In Fukuoka City, there are 144 elementary schools (grades 1-6) with a total of 80,077 students. The schools are divided into five blocks to prevent shortages in ingredients as almost all of them are sourced locally from within the prefecture.

To my surprise, each school has its own kitchen and a staff of up to 8, including licensed nutritionists. (I had been under the impression that a central kitchen was being used.) Vegetables are hand washed and hand cut. Although most dishes are made from scratch, some of the items, such as today's paozi (steamed dumplings), are prepared in advance by third party producers.

The lunches, as I have noted before, include many international dishes as a way of introducing kids to other cultures ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and World Swimming Championship that are going to be held in Fukuoka.

Today's lunch included a Chinese style stir-fry, paozi dumplings, bread with locally grown fig jam, and milk.

Each meal costs on average ¥243 ($2.23) and contains about 530 calories. Meals for junior high kids contain 640 calories; those for high schoolers, 740.

And, no, the food is not gluten-free and may contain lethal quantities of peanuts.

Thai-style Gapao Rice and Japanese-style White Stew

Pork and Beans, Raisin Bread, and Cabbage/Kelp Stir Fry

Fish flavored with Sesame, Miso Soup, and Rice