Elementary School Lunch: 02/25-26 - A Kindergarten Farewell

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Today was my last time teaching Kindergarten as part of my current post. The kiddos I spent time with today are going to be starting first grade in just a few weeks, which is a big leap. Since it was our final lesson, they presented me with a lovely framed photo of all of us together, which I'll treasure forever. We spent our last lesson reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar together and playing games and stuff. I'm kind of sad about it! I'm going to miss the little ones~

Wednesday, February 25th

On this day, lunch was a fab bowl of niku-jyaga (meat and potatoes), some natto, salad, and rice. Of course, there were other veggies mixed in that bowl, like carrot, konjac, onion, shiitake mushroom, and edamame. As for the salad, it was mainly spinach, but mixed with cabbage and carrot.

Good stuff. I love everything about this meal - can't go wrong with any of these dishes.

Calorie count: 669

Thursday, February 26th

Today's lunch was awesome - I wish there'd been more leftovers. We had miso ramen, gyoza, and some namul. The miso ramen's soup was full of great stuff: ground pork, carrot, bean sprouts, nira (Chinese leek), and corn. As for the namul, it had mostly spinach and radish with loads of sesame seeds. I see on the menu that lotus root was incorporated into the menu somewhere, and I think maybe it was in the gyoza along with more nira and carrot.

Calorie count: 682

Elementary School Lunch: 10/23 - Ramen Beats Fall Rain

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Man, I love noodle days.

Today's main was shoyu ramen, and it was accompanied by a bean sprouts salad, and a veggie spring roll. The noodles, of course, were on the side to be dunked in at one's pleasure.

The soup for shoyu ramen is soy-based, and ours also had bits of bamboo, pork, spinach, carrot, fungus, and spring onion. As for the salad, besides the bean sprouts we had some cabbage and carrot mixed in with Chinese-style dressing.

Great Thursday. I was a little bummed out because it was cold and rainy this morning, but this totally made up for that.

Calorie count: 636

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: 11/07 - a taste of Sapporo

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Today's lunch filled me with nostalgia, as the main dish was some yummy miso ramen. It even had some corn in there among the other veggies and bits of pork. The side dish was a crunchy salad with loads of sesame seeds, which went well with the ramen, and to round it all off: a pork and veggie harumaki.

Some of my students were telling me they prefer the regular shoyu ramen over miso ramen, but I think they just haven't experienced it in all its Hokkaido glory. Either way, it's a win for me: one of my favorite Japanese dishes for lunch is always awesome.

Calorie count: 653

Elementary School Lunch: 09/26 - tantan-men

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Today's lunch was totally new for me. We had tantan-men as the main dish, which is basically ramen, but Chinese style. It's a little spicier than typical ramen, and our bowls were chock-full of veggies and even a little ground pork and beef. The noodles, as usual, were portioned on the side to be dunked in to one's liking.

The side salad today was steamed potato, broccoli, and corn in French dressing. Basically, like awesome mashed potatoes, but without all the butter and milk. I actually ended up getting seconds of this side dish.

Bonus - we had a little orange for dessert. I love these things.

Calorie count: 647

My Summer Break According to Food: The Main Course

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

This is going to be the last, and heaviest of my three installments of "My Summer Break According to Food," since it's all Japanese food. As with the previous two, all of the images will be accompanied by brief notes.

The foods below were enjoyed at various spots in Japan, and I snuck in some local brew while I was at it. Beer is important.

This bowl of curry was enjoyed at the 5th Station of Mt. Fuji. I ate it just a few hours before starting my evening climb up it to see the sunrise. The curry tasted good, but more than that, I just liked the presentation. I kept the flag.

This was the very first bowl of ramen that I enjoyed after arriving at Sapporo. Before going to Hokkaido, I wasn't one way or the other about ramen. But this bowl of butter corn miso ramen pretty much changed my life. 

This is what a ¥500 tray with three brews from the Sapporo Beer Factory's bar looks like. All three were great, and it made me happy that a lot of the standard house draft beers around Hokkaido were Sapporo rather than what I'm used to: cheap Suntory beer. 

This is called Genghis Khan. It's grain-fed lamb meat, grilling right in front of you at your table. You cook it yourself (after coating the grill with fat), in the style of Korean BBQ, and you've got the option to grill lots of veggies like I did. This was the first time I'd really gone for lamb meat, and I liked it! 

As a side dish to my Genghis Khan, I also enjoyed some roasted corn. Corn, as it turns out, is another of Hokkaido's specialties, so I ended up having lots while I was up there. 

Otaru Beer is a micro brew located at.. Otaru! It's a sweet little sea-side town, and this particular restaurant was Bavarian style in decor, food, and beer. I was sitting in front of the copper, so I actually watched as the owner shoveled barley and hops out of them while I was enjoying a light lunch and this glass of their beer.

If you live in NYC, you might recognize the above dish from Go Go Curry. This was my first time eating at one of their original Japan locations, though I'd eaten at their chain before. Always worth it. I stopped at one of these restaurants in Akihabara for a quick lunch on a busy Sunday.

This photo was more about the beer than the veggie stir-fry, but both were great. I actually kept the bottle since it's a local brew (Enoshima Beer) and it has a nice label. 

The last image here is another plate of curry, but this one was enjoyed at Kamakura. The reason I went for it was because of the summer vegetables. It makes me almost sad that restaurants are starting to take them off their menus in preparation for the next season in foods. Eggplant, pumpkin/squashes, peppers, etc. should be enjoyed all year round!

Thanks for sticking around for my food posts! Remember to check back every school day to check out what I'm having at the Japanese elementary school I teach at. There's something different each time.