[Watch] This is What Happens When You Bring Asian Food to School For Lunch

 

Chow mein. Pork buns. Dumplings. Fried rice. Eggrolls. Adobo. Hungry yet?

This is just a small sample of all the Asian food that I grew up with and deeply love. However, as a child, despite how often I ate Asian food (everyday) and how much I enjoyed Asian food (I wanted it everyday), you’d be hard-pressed to ever find rice and tocino in my lunch pail. Instead, my Hello Kitty lunch pail was home to PB&J sandwiches, go-gurts and of course, lunchables.

Early on, I learned to associate my beloved Asian food with home and (as 11-year-old Eddie Huang says in Fresh off the Boat after making the mistake of bringing noodles for lunch) I associated “white people food” with school.

This is probably why I laughed out loud to the Domics short animation “Asian Food.” The animator of Domics very humorously (and accurately) describes the struggle of bringing Asian food to school for lunch around non-Asian classmates.

 

 

With our grade school lunch days long behind us, it’s easy to laugh this situation off as children being children. But who am I kidding? We’ve seen adults overreact to Asian food too. Admittedly, many of our delicious dishes (like blood sausages and century eggs) look absolutely horrifying to people who are unfamiliar. But like the other kids in this animation, they just don’t know what they’re missing.

Now excuse me while I go get my hands on some sweet corn.

len

How School Lunch in America Compares to Japan, Philippines, India and Korea

 

Yesterday, Buzzfeed released a video called “School Lunches Around The World” which (as the title suggests) shows the average school lunch of children from various countries.  Most interesting of all was the difference in size, nutritional value and of course, content.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.25.31 PMAccording to the video, a typical school lunch in the United States consists of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some chips, a Go-gurt, an apple and some milk. Although many comments argued that a more typical American school lunch consists of a slice of pizza instead of a PB&J, we have to admit that this combination pretty much hits the mark when it comes to average lunches.

 

But does the video accurately show the average school lunch in Asian countries?

 

  Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.37.59 PMAlthough the image shows Japan’s lunch consisting of rice, mackerel and pickled spinach, it’s safe to assume that the vegetables and fish can be substituted with other ingredients. The main essence of a Japanese lunch is clear: food is made from scratch and made to be healthy. In fact, Japan’s child obesity rate, which is always among the world’s lowest, has declined for each of the past six years.        

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.49.14 PMFor the Philippines, the video shows rice and lechon kawali (pork) on a banana leaf rather than a plate. Admittedly, the banana leaf gave quite a few people a chuckle. Viewers recognized this as the tradition in many rural areas of the Philippines. The main issue some had with this image is that it did not feature seafood, a staple of Philippine cuisine. That aside, this simple combination is more than common. Unfortunately, a diet rich in meats like Lechon may be the reason for high rates of hypertension.          

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 5.13.50 PMIndia’s school lunch consists of rice and saag paneer (a classic Indian dish consisting of cooked spinach and fried paneer cheese with thickened cream or coconut milk) and dal makhani (another Indian staple consisting of whole black lentil and red kidney beans). The meal has become an average school lunch thanks to a massive school feeding program which aims to improve nutritional levels among children.          

 

 

  Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 1.55.19 PM Korea’s average school lunch consists of purple rice, soup, kimchi, radish and bulgogi (grilled, marinated beef). While some viewers commented that this plate is inaccurate because it should be flipped to have the rice closer to us, we can go ahead and agree with the plate. Anyone who has dined at a Korean restaurant is accustomed to the colorful meal and the numerous side dishes.  

As viewers watched this video, they couldn’t help but notice that the American meal lacked vegetables and more importantly, it contained quite a large amount of processed and sugary foods. Many have linked this to the high obesity rates in the U.S. which have more than doubled in adults and children since the 1970’s.    

 

Check out more school lunches with the complete video below.