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Elementary School Lunch: 02/24 - A Viking Invitation

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Today, the 6th graders at my school swarmed the halls during play time, looking for their assigned teachers and staff to invite to their viking lunch. In Japan, a viking meal is basically an all-you-can-eat buffet. It's different from tabehoudai (all-you-can-eat) because of the buffet aspect, which isn't as common. In general, restaurants and shops tend to regulate the amount of food that's being served at a table at one time so there isn't any waste, even if you can totally eat as much as you like.

The purpose of the viking lunch is for the graduating students to do a little something special for the various teachers and staff who have looked after them in the past year (or over the years depending on how long someone's been around). Even kitchen staff and the groundskeeper are invited to this - every person who works at the school. So, we'll eat a great lunch together, they'll give us some presents (last year I got some flowers and handmade items which were super sweet), and maybe even sing songs or do little speeches. It's a nice time.

Today our lunch was some Spanish mackerel with kinpira (sauteed veggies), rice, and kenchin soup. The kinpira had some konjac, burdock root, carrot, shiitake mushroom, and sesame seeds. I think there was also pepper and sesame oil in it - there was something with a strong taste mixed in, which is rare in the school lunch. A little spicy, even.

As for the soup, it was simple but also very tasty: taro root, tofu, radish, napa cabbage, carrot, and leek.

Calorie count: 628