Back to School: Lunches in Korea 🍎

By Avery Souders

In school, lunch is an important time for students to interact with one another and eat. With the busy schedules and strenuous courses they take, students need to make sure they get filling meals throughout their day. Let’s take a look at what delectable lunches are available!

School lunches in Korea consist of soup, rice, kimchi, and two other sides. This is consistent over different establishments, but can vary food choices, such as making one lunch day food from another country. To top it all off, the meals are free. You read that right, free!

Below is a perfect example of what your tray will look like once you’ve chosen your food. At the top are strawberries, kimchi, and tangsuyuk, while the bottom is mixed grain rice, a steamed egg, and spicy mushroom soup. The placement of the food should never change. Rice is always in the lower left, soup is the lower right, and above the side dishes are located. 

Students’ lives can be very school and activity-oriented, leaving little room to enjoy breaks. They go to school at 8:00 in the morning then finish classes at around 3:00 in the afternoon. However, even after the school day is over, there may be extracurricular activities—either sports or club-related—that follows right after school. On top of that, many attend an evening school for extra studies, which often goes well into the night and ends at 10:00 p.m. With such a full schedule, students will need as much fuel as they can get!

Teachers eat at the same time as students, so they can be seen in the cafeteria with them. They can also get their lunches for free. So, if you find yourself in Korea as either a teacher or a student then definitely take advantage of these meals.

The trays, plates, and even utensils are made of metal, so there is not much plastic that is used and thrown out. Much of this has to do with wanting to be less wasteful and focuses on recycling. It is also common practice to have metal silverware in South Korea compared to other Asian countries.

Remember the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” Actually, the most important meal is lunch because it can be energizing! If you end up as a student or teacher in South Korea, make sure to try new dishes while you’re at school; show off your eagerness towards eating new and different foods, and you might make some new friends!

Have you ever tried school lunches while in Korea?

Written by Avery Souders

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