Monday, January 19, 2009

Good School Lunch

The school lunches here never cease to amaze me. They are always surprsingly good considering the mass-production and distance they travel.

Today the main course was Okinawa Yakisoba, which is udon noodles stir-fried with shiitake mushrooms, carrots, greens (spinach?), bamboo shoots, fishcake, and onion.

We also had a taro croquette, which was sweet, slightly chewy, and creamily rich in taste. And fried. Mmmm, fried.

Then there was the salad. It was the good kind of seaweed (dark green, soft, easy to bite, very mild/nonexistant taste, small rectangles...sorry I don't know what it's called), corn, white thingie that I think might be daikon, very tiny slivers of carrot, and little packets of delicious sesame seed dressing to go with it. American salad dressing never tasted so healthy or delicioius. Nor did they ever bother to give it to us in individual-sized serving packets.

Dessert was a mikan, which I cannot differentiate from a clementine, tangerine, satsuma, or other small orange with thin skin. When's the last time you had fresh fruit in your US school lunch? Please don't tell me you're counting the browned, mushy-gross banana chopped into your corn-syrupy fruit cocktail.

And milk. Although today I almost didn't want to drink it because I was cold. Now tell me that doesn't sound more appetizing than many things you've had in a cheap Japanese restaurant. I was reading about the Okinawan diet yesterday, and why the 100-year-olds have arteries with the elasticity of 60-year-olds. Their diet involves meat as a flavor more than as a main course. They add little pieces of it to noodles and vegetable dishes. Most of their protein comes from soy. They eat a lot of sea plants, soba noodles, and goya (bittermelon). But so far, eating school lunch in the quantities they feed me has only made me fat! They give A LOT!

Speaking of which, I ate a lot of chicken tikka masala leftovers already! Heat it up and chop some cucumber into plain yogurt with mint to make raita--the perfect compliment for the flavors in this dish!

Yesterday, I splurged and spent 751 yen (~$8.00) on a tiny bottle of Canadian Maple Syrup. French toast or banana pancakes, here I come!


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  2. oh my sounds SO GOOD! i want to see and eat these okinawan lunchs and have great arteries like the okinawans too!