Korean food

Elementary School Lunch: 03/10 - Spicy Tuesday

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Today's lunch was Korean cuisine, which usually means there's going to be something with at least a little bit of heat in it. In this case, our heat was a kimchi soup, which was a bit spicier than we usually get considering the kiddos don't tend to like foods with a kick. The main event was bibimbap, which is one of my favorite foods.

The bibimbap was some sauteed meat and radish, scrambled eggs, and namul of spinach and bean sprouts to toss onto our rice bentou. As for the soup, it had chunks of tok (rice cake) in it, which was super tasty, as well as shrimp, bamboo, carrot, leek, cloud ear fungus, and of course, kimchi of the napa cabbage variety. I loved everything about this meal.

Calorie count: 665

Elementary School Lunch: 1/15 - Rainy Day Noodle Soup

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

It isn't quite cold enough for snow during the day yet, so it rained most of today (and still continues to as I write this in the evening). There's nothing better on these cold, rainy days than a nice, hot bowl of soup full of great flavor and veg. Today's lunch was tantan-men, which is traditionally a little spicy but because we're feeding children as young as 6, this was a milder version. Inside the soup, I spotted scallions, bean sprouts, carrot, spinach, shiitake mushroom, onion, and ground pork.

On the side, we had a radish and bean sprouts namul, which had some seaweed mixed in and lots of sesame seeds. We were also served some fried shumai (dumplings), which had shrimp as the main ingredient in the filling.

Filling and perfect. Nice blend of Chinese and Korean foods.

Calorie count: 649

Elementary School Lunch: 12/12 - Winter Bibimbap

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

It feels like forever since we last enjoyed bibimbap in our school lunch! Today's was good: some namul and scrambled egg and pork to top our rice with, and a side of Tok soup. The namul comprised spinach and bean sprouts, while the meat was mixed with some onions. As for the soup, it had the barest hint of a kick to it with a dash of pepper, but was otherwise nice and mild for the kiddos. Tok (or tteokguk) soup is a New Year's dish which consists of a thin broth and loads of rice cakes. Ours also had bits of bamboo, shiitake mushroom, onion, carrot, and cloud ear fungus.

One of my favorites.

Extra shot of the tray via Instagram.

Elementary School Lunch: 10/08 - Another Typhoon Incoming?

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

It's still kind of early to tell, but people are already talking about another typhoon, called Vongfong, which might be passing through Japan next week. My co-workers are thinking Monday or Tuesday, depending on its speed, we'll be bracing for another storm. I guess we'll see!

Today's lunch was Korean style. We had a bowl that comprised mostly kimchi and tofu, some namul, and rice. The bowl also had bits of pork, bamboo, carrots, onions, and garlic chives. Very flavorful - today was definitely one of those "I wish I had two stomachs" days. The namul wasn't one of the usual ones, though. This time it had radish, carrot, and cucumber, with some from-scratch dressing and sesame seeds.

Bonus shot of the bowl on Instagram.

Also, my students were digging up potatoes today. <3

Calorie count: 646

Elementary School Lunch Catchup: Week of July 14th

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

After a week(ish) of silence, I've returned! My adapter broke so I had to hit the pause button on blogging for a bit there. But I'm back, and thankfully my catching-up won't be too bad: last week marked the end of the Spring term, and the students are now out on summer break. Regular lunch posts will resume in September after this one.

Since I'm posting five lunches today, I've put them under a page break so it doesn't take up so much space for those just browsing. <3


Wonton soup, brown sugar age-pan, green salad, and frozen yogurt. And they weren't kidding about the frozen part - I had to wait ages before I was able to have it. Anyway, it pretty much goes without saying at this point that lunch was awesome. The salad had asparagus, lettuce, and cucumber with some Italian basil dressing. The soup had wonton, spinach, carrot, bits of pork, tofu, onion, and bamboo. Oh yeah.

Calorie count: 635


Sanma, or Pacific saury smothered in miso, green bean salad, soup, and rice. The salad plate had konjac, mushrooms, and sesame seeds apart from the green beans, while the soup had naruto, mushrooms, carrot, onion, bits of pork, and spinach in it. Very satisfying.

Calorie count: 646


Pork and kimchi rice bowl! I loooove kimchi, so I was ecstatic on this day. We had that with some seaweed soup and a slice of watermelon. The kimchi plate with pork was mixed with other veggies too, like spinach, onion, and carrot. The soup had loads and loads of sesame seeds, plus seaweed of course, carrot, onion, spinach, and garlic chives. A+++++++.

Calorie count: 673


The main item this day was chili beans, which we enjoyed along with bread, salad, and corn. The salad was nice and colorful, with bean sprouts, spinach, and carrot, and and we put some Italian dressing on it. The soup had potato, bits of chicken, sausage, mixed beans, celery, and parsley. Plain, but effective. I always love our bean soups.

Calorie count: 642


This meal was a little different than originally planned, so I actually don't have a calorie count for it. We had summer veggie curry, which had been planned for the previous week on a day we all had off because of the typhoon. The curry had eggplant, pumpkin, onion, carrot, bits of pork, and even peppers. It's one of my favorite summertime meals. Besides the curry and rice, we enjoyed some salad and a frozen quarter of an apple as dessert. As with the frozen yogurt earlier in the week, I had to wait a while to enjoy the fruit since it was way too cold. I think it was about half an hour before I was able to bite into it. Yeesh.

But... worth it!

See you back in September! In the meanwhile, book reviews, link dumps, and all the other usual stuff will continue as usual.

Elementary School Lunch: 06/18-06/19 - strawberry swirl

Kristina PinoComment

Whoops, I forgot to do this yesterday. Wednesday's lunch was awesome, though, one of my favorites: bibimbap. We had it with some tok soup.

The contents this time around were some yakiniku (beef and onion), scrambled eggs, and spinach with bean sprouts and sesame seeds, which we piled onto our rice bentous. The tok soup wasn't spicy or anything, and had loads of mochi in it. It also had green onion, carrot, mushroom, tofu, cabbage, and some bamboo.

Perfect. Bonus picture of the bibimbap over on my Instagram feed.

Calorie count: 653

 Today's lunch was pretty awesome, too. You'll notice from the sign in my picture it's my birthday, so that was a nice little gesture from my co-workers. The little drawing is my school's mascot, hehe.

Anywho, we enjoyed some spaghetti napolitan today, with some Caesar salad on the side, and a bit of strawberry ice cream for dessert. I'm surprised we didn't have bread or anything to go with it, since we usually end up with two carb items on pasta days, but I'm not complaining - this was already super filling. The spaghetti had sausage, onion, carrot, green peppers, and mushroom in it. Lettuce, asparagus, cheese cubes, croutons, cucumber, corn, and some Caesar dressing comprised our salad.

Our dessert was great - it was more like a strawberry sherbert mixed with regular vanilla ice cream. Great end to the meal, and a nice cool treat on a warm day. This shot was originally posted on Instagram but I included it here because it came while we were halfway through the rest of our meal.

Calorie count: 629

Elementary School Lunch: .04/11 - mochi in the kimchi

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

First Friday back! We enjoyed Korean food - bibimbap and kimchi soup. The rice came separate from the fixings, as usual, and the soup wasn't actually spicy at all since it's for kids.

The bibimbap had some meat with onions, veggies, and scrambled egg which we got to dump on our rice - always a winner at my school. The soup, though it did had a tiny, tiny amount of kimchi in it for taste, was loaded with veggies (like onion, carrot, and mushroom), tofu, and mochi instead. Very tasty, of course.

Hurray for bibimbap! It's seriously one of my favorite recurring meals here.

Calorie count: 651

Elementary School Lunch: 02/27 - best sesame balls

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Another crowded lunch! And today's lunch was a first for this school year, I think.

The main plate today was tonkotsu ramen, which looks a little milkier than you'd expect because of the way the broth is made. In the soup, we had some boiled quail eggs, onions, carrots, naruto (minced fish meat made into ornate little medallions), "cloud ear fungus," seaweed, bits of chicken, bamboo, and garlic chives. As usual, the noodles were bagged on the side so we can add to the soup as desired.

The salad plate had our usual boiled cabbage, spinach, and some crunchy bean sprouts seasoned in the kitchen and topped with sesame seeds. The two balls on the side were for dessert: mochi with anko (red bean paste) filling and sesame seeds on the outside, which my principal told me is Chinese style. All that means that our trays were international, since namul (the type of salad we had, which incorporates seasonal veggies) is Korean.

Calorie count: 650

Elementary School Lunch: 02/21 - bibimbap returns

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Ah yes, one of my favorite school lunches is back. Bibimbap! This Korean dish lends itself to many variations since it's so easy to change up. For school, we have it with scrambled eggs instead of the fried, some chicken cooked with onions, and boiled veggies (spinach, noodly bits, sesame seeds) to top our rice with. Bonus: the veggies were seasoned in the kitchen.

We also enjoyed some soup this day, which had a little bit of kimchi flavor in it, along with tofu, radish, onion, spinach, carrots, and mushrooms. It went rather well with the bibimbap, and I was sad I didn't have a second stomach to get a refill of both.

Calorie count: 665

Elementary School Lunch: bibimbap

Food, JapanKristina Pino2 Comments

Today was bibimbap day! It's one of my very favorites, so I was looking forward to it. I even had seconds of the veggies.

The main dish was accompanied by rice and some Korean style soup called tokkuk. Nothing too fancy, and not too much to distract from the main course.

As usual, the main elements of our bibimbap were separated: meat and onions were in one bin, the scrambled eggs in a second, and our crunchy veggies seasoned in sesame seeds in the last one. The soup uses a kind of rice cake as a main ingredient, and ours had  loads of naruto and seaweed added to it along with carrots and onions.

Calorie count: 663