One of the greatest things about being a teacher in Korea is eating the delicious lunch every day. Compared to American lunches….well wait….there is no comparison. Korean lunches are exceptionally healthy and delicious. While in American schools, teachers sit in separate offices while eating lunch however in Korea, teachers sit in the lunchroom with the students and eat the same meal. There are many less food allergies in Korea so kids have no other options for meals. Students drink milk in the mid-morning but they aren’t given a drink at actual lunch. I was once given juice and once in awhile they give you a drinkable yogurt. Every lunch is served with rice, kimchi and some type of soup. The rice is always on the left side of the lunch tray and the soup always on the right side. I once made the mistake and put the soup in the left side and it was actually much harder to eat since I’m right handed so I understood why they set the tray up that way. We always eat with chopsticks and a spoon. Never a fork and never a knife. It’s amazing how much you can do with chopsticks. It’s actually much easier to eat with chopsticks than a fork once you learn how to use them.
I often take pictures of different lunches that I eat because I find it so fascinating how amazing our lunches are here and how absolutely awful they are in the USA. Kids also HAVE to finish their meals. The homeroom teacher assigns a student with a piece of paper that checks off whether or not the student has finished their meal. They have to finish every bite of their lunch before they can go play on the playground. I think this is also really important as it teaches kids that they can’t be too picky with food. It’s also important because it means that at least every day during the week the students have one full meal. We don’t always know their home lives but at least they can have one nutritious meal a day.
I’ve put together lots of pictures of various meals I have eaten for lunch in the past year. I think that food shows so much about a culture and I have been excited to share this post for awhile. I will try my best to add a description under the pictures to explain what is in each meal since I know that many of you will look at the lunch and have no idea what anything is. But honestly…I don’t know a lot of the names in English but I’ll do my best. So I apologize in advance for making many mistakes on these Korean traditional meals. Enjoy and hope you don’t get too hungry after look at these 🙂
Love from Korea,