Sunday, September 30, 2012

School Lunches in Korea

This blog posting has been brought to you by:

Blogcrastination - noun.

The act or habit of, putting off or delaying blog posts.

Ex. She dearly loved to blog, yet her blogcrastination led to very sparse posting indeed.

definition “borrowed” from 


Onward to the subject of this blog.  Think school meals in America are rough?  Try Korea.  Yes, if you are Korean, or a foreigner living in Korea, this food seems quite normal and causes zero (or mostly zero in the case of foreigners) apprehension.  However, I thought this would be great for all you teachers and parents that read this.  Threaten your kids with this menu and see what happens!

An appetizing first look!  Rice (an obvious staple), seaweed soup, a vegetable, a kind of kimchi, and what appears to be spicy odeng (technical definition: processed fish cake.  Think the hotdog of the fish world.  I actually think it’s quite good, but I also think hot dogs are quite good.).  To put it in perspective, I would be perfectly fine with this lunch.  Two years ago, however, I would have been, ummm, hesitant.  But, I’ll still pawn off my kimchi to anyone who expresses even the slightest interest in it.  Kimchi and I are not friends.

Important note: this is not a menu from my school. My school is an afterschool hagwon (think Sylvan Learning Center for the very advanced or wanting to be very advanced students), and we don’t serve food.  Thankfully, like all of SoKo, our academy is surrounded by convenience stores.  When my students are hungry they politely ask if they can go to “the bathroom” and come back ten minutes later with a kimbap, some candy and a Coca-Cola. (teacher fail.) This is the menu for an International School so it might vary slightly from public schools. (You can click on the photo if you prefer it larger.)


As I have been here a few weeks shy of two years, I can say that most of these foods sound completely normal to me now.  But tell’em to a 10 year American child and I’m sure it wouldn’t go over quite so well.

Some of my favorites:

April 2: Bean paste soup (which I enjoy) and seasoned gosari. (What’s a gosari?)

April 4: Stewed pork and quail eggs.  (I’ve only recently given up the battle against quail eggs.  They taste the same of course, it just creeps me out.)

April 9: Red pepper paste soup (think cayenne pepper with cabbage) with Tofu & Crown Daisy Salad. (I have no idea.)

April 11: Stir-fry squid and noodles.

April 19:  Seasoned garlic stalks. 


And I can’t source the photos because I found them quite some time ago and just never wrote the blog.  My sincerest apologies to the original posters.  In the interest of full disclosure and internet etiquette:  these are not my photos

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