School Lunch From Around the World

NOTICE: Due to passionate interest in the topic of school lunch, I have just started a blog on just school lunches. Please submit pictures of school lunches from where you live, or any that you might find interesting. The blog is: Thanks!

School lunch usually doesn't represent the best that a countries culinary scene has to offer. In America, at least, the food is usually pretty bad. This e-mail is making fun of school lunch, not of the country of origin.

I'll be the first to admit that I am no culinary expert. If the original author of this e-mail was wrong, I apologize. I mean no offense to anyone by posting it, and would personally try every item on every tray. If you know what an item is, let me know, and I will update it.


I have found some additional school lunches from other countries:

Japan (I swear the site where I found this said Thailand)




Korea: Tofu soup, a banana, some noodle stuff, broccoli?, kimchi, and rice.

Korea: Kimchi, rice, soup, some greens, and some white thingies.

Update: Mae comments: The white thingies in the Korean lunch is mandoo, kinda like potstickers.

Korea: Kimchi, a fish, some seaweed looking thing, and some colorful mystery items.

Update: valerio comments: Top right of tray is spicy squid. Top right plate is pickled radish.

Japan: Rice, some dry seaweed(?), an orange wedge, some type of coleslaw(?), tofu soup and tea.

India: Rice, curry, and sauce.

Update: rwblake comments: I can state that the "curry" in the school lunch is not a curry. Curry is not Indian, it is a UK phenomena. The yellow soup is a Dal of some kind. Which is a Lentil cooked or ground up into a soup.

Update: Ajan comments: The pic or rather the lunch looks like some truck driver's lunch or probably some cheap school out of the blue from one of the corners of India. A normal Indian lunch (...) would be consisting of 3-4 different curries (UK Phenomena), the Dal/Rasam (Soup in American Tongue) kinda thing and a sweet in some places. P.S: The brown stuff is (...) Lady's Finger curry with some Masala.

USA: A healthy lunch. Chicken, beans, milk, salad, a roll and crackers.

France: French fries, a piece of baguette, mystery meat, cake, something resembling an omelet, and a cup of something to drink.

Update: froggy commented: 1st: the "omelette stuff" looks like a typical savoury puff pastry (as a first course), with cheese and streaky bacon inside. The meat is a simple burger patty (Salisbury steak, if you prefer). Cheap and very popular for school lunch.

France: Mussels, an artichoke, grapefruit, cheesecake, baguette and fries.

Update: froggy commented: Cooked Mussels+fries, a typical Belgian/North of France meal. The cheesecake looks more like a lemon tart.

USA: Tater tots, chicken nuggets, fruit, chocolate milk and ketchup.

China: A fish, something that looks like kimchi, rice, broccoli, cauliflower, and soup.

Japan: A roll (hot dog bun?), vegetable soup, orange wedge, something that looks like lasagna, milk, and some sort of vegetable salad.

USA: orange, milk, baguette, green beans and spaghetti.

USA: Broccoli, chocolate milk, chocolate cookie, marinara sauce, and what looks like pizza or cheese bread.

USA: Applesauce, chocolate milk, hash browns, and chicken nuggets.

USA: Taco salad, soda, mashed potatoes, and something that looks like it has either cheese or corn in it.

USA: A partly eaten BBQ sandwich, potato chips, baked beans, and peach cobbler. Mmmm.

Japan: rolls, a slice of pineapple, soup, milk, and some noodle stuff.

Korea: Rice, milk, kimchi, meat looking substance, noodle things, tofu soup.

Update: Mae comments: Also, in one korean lunch the little plastic container that looks like milk is actually more like a sweet yogurt drink.

Japan: Sardines, milk, rice, orange slice, and what looks like something totally foreign to me, in a bowl.

USA: an organic lunch of chicken(?), vegetables, mashed potatoes, organic milk, and a pear. A little bland as far as my taste.

USA: A roll, some salad with ranch dressing, chocolate milk, mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets and ketchup.

USA: peas, mashed potatoes, some sort of cake with sprinkles, a biscuit and what I believe is a beef pot pie.

USA: a roll, mashed potatoes, Salisbury steak, some sort of desert, and something resembling a pile of sauteed onions.

USA: Milk, fries in the shape of smiley faces, soup, crackers, ketchup and chicken nuggets.

USA: Chocolate milk, baked beans, fruit, ketchup, french fries, a corn dog and coleslaw.

USA: A soft pretzel and mustard, chocolate milk, fruit cocktail, corn and lasagna or possibly pizza.


  1. In the first Korea lunch, the green stuff is watercress, actually.

    In the eighth USA lunch, the "chicken?" is more likely a vegetable roll of sorts.

  2. So other countries get real food and the U.S gets whatever slop they find in the trash? Not fair. School lunches disgust me a bit. The second I had to wonder if the 'chicken' I'm eating might actually be human meat/turkey butt is the second I drew the line on school food. Give me a brown-bag lunch any day.

  3. I actually think the 'pinapple slice' in that one Japanese meal is a pickled daikon

  4. *sigh* what I'd give to have gone to school in Japan or Korea, just for the delicious-looking lunches...

  5. Korean lunches are usually spicey, also soo many carbs on on eplate. But generally they are pretty okay..

  6. I’m hoping that we’ll end up with a slew of prototyped ideas and a bunch of happy people. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more hard work until we can turn those embryonic proofs of concept into living

  7. chocolate cookie, marinara sauce, and what looks like pizza or cheese bread.

  8. I had one of U.S. mashed potato lunches today.

  9. I work in school food service in Georgia and it is amazing how many parents place the majority of blame on school lunches and the lack of physical education in schools. But these same parents pick up Mc Donald's or Taco Bell because they are too busy to cook a healthy meal. Fortunately, my district follows the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" (which is the Federally mandated standard, despite being outdated). I am curious, how many parents of school aged children actually consult any dietary guidelines in preparation of meals at home. Second, I would love to see the percentage of parents who involve themselves in daily physical activity with their children. C'mon people!!! The time for passing the buck and not taking personal responsibility for the things we are personally responsible for is now!!

  10. I want to try to eat every kind

  11. Why do the French eat pine cones?

  12. FROM Sri Lanka,
    we only get a COKE that tastes like WATER!!!!!!!!!
    and food that are expired!!! and we should pay for those!!!


  13. I prefer Chinese food on photo upper. i want to go cooking school to try to cooking it.

  14. I'm not sure if you got the photos from the original source but please, you need to give the photographers credit when possible. If you want to use our photos, it's fine but we should all be credited. Thanks. Here's a link to my orignal Korean School Lunches. You can try finding the matching links/urls for the two photos you used but the set link is good enough.

  15. What do kids from countries around the world take to school for lunches?

  16. Wow, some of that stuff really does look nasty!!!

  17. I am surprised that there are a couple of healthy meals within the food from the USA. I guess if you want you can really eat healthy. My favorite was the organic meal with chicken, veggies and mashed potatoes. Looked good!

  18. I'm not sure if you got the photos from the original source but please, you need to give the photographers credit when possible

  19. The "something that looks like kimchi" from China seems to be eggs scrambled with tomatoes. It's often pretty sweet, since a good amount of sugar and MSG is added.

  20. Jeg er ikke sikker på, hvis du fik de billeder fra den oprindelige kilde, men husk, du skal give fotograferne kredit når det er muligt. Hvis du ønsker at bruge vores billeder, det er fint, men vi bør alle være krediteret. Tak. Her er et link til min originalkilden koreanske skolemad. Vi glade for at se dig på apotek dk her.

  21. Want to eat Sweeden one and taste Japan

  22. hello, I write a blog about school food in the UK and regularly post pics of what the children are served. You can see it at

  23. Wow, some good things to eat. Although it is not even the deluxe model.

  24. The 14th picture of the Chinese dish, the reddish yellow stuff is not kimchi, it's eggs and tomatoes.

  25. The stuff in the small Dannon container in the French lunch is plain yogurt, not a drink.

  26. Indian curry can be made in so many ways. You can absolutely use whole eggs as well. I love your post it makes me hungry all the time :)

  27. The 17th one (USA) isn't pizza... it's cheese sticks. They are bread stuffed with nasty artificial mozzarella cheese. (The reason I know this is because they serve them at my school...)

  28. i live in NY and my school lunch is:
    -flavored milk near expiration
    -canned fruit
    -iceberg lettuce
    -hot entree (hot dog, hamburger, pizza, mozzarella sticks...), pbj, nasty!!! egg salad, nasty!!! ham sandwich, or a (dry) bagel
    - for extra $:
    cookies (manufactured)
    bottled water
    cream cheese

  29. p.s. the lst usa one is pizza

  30. I'm from Bangkok, Thailand. The first pic is possible coz they serve this kind of food in expensive private schools or universities.
    I always have Japanese food like in the picture in my univerity's cafeteria for 120 Baht ($4), cheap right? :)

  31. You can absolutely use whole eggs as well. I love your post it makes me hungry all the time :)

  32. hey! "pretzel"? this "soft" thing is named "bretzel"!!! XD

  33. thanks for share information

  34. I had an enjoyable time at this blog post. I have placed several pics at my "school lunch" Pinterest page that should assist in introducing others to this very interesting page. It would be fun to have the opportunity to try all these offerings in one place along with other folks.

    The discussion afterwards about the different tastes, food types, cooking styles, etc. would be very interesting. Thanks for the nifty post!!!