Culture Cuisine

By Mary Smith

Pizza. Nachos. Spaghetti. Don’t we all love food?

If I asked you what you ate for lunch this week, you’d probably start listing all of the foods that you picked in the lunch line of our cafeteria. While we’re used to our own eating habits, other countries take a different approach to lunches at school (and you have probably heard).

At McDonald County, we’re lucky to have students from everywhere, including places like Indonesia and South Korea. I have interviewed two students for insight on what lunch was like for them before they moved to America.


Indonesia is a nation of islands, many of them volcanic, located close to Thailand and New Guinea. Schools in Indonesia require at least nine years of education. There are many different classes for Indonesian students, including foreign languages like Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese, and more. Angela Deal, a senior, moved to America to start her sophomore year of high school in Missouri. I asked her about school in Indonesia and what lunch was like for her.


M: What was school like in Indonesia? 

Angela: “It was very different from here. We had to go to school from Monday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Everyone wore uniforms.”

M: What were the lunches like? What was your favorite lunch in Indonesia? 

Angela: “The lunches were amazing. Most people brought their lunches from home, but we had people that sold food, like catering. We could also order food from restaurants. My favorite lunch was always sate. This is an Indonesian traditional food.”

M: How much time did you get each day for lunch? 

Angela: “We had one hour for lunch.”

M: Finally, do you miss lunch in Indonesia?

 Angela: “I miss it a lot!”

South Korea

If you have had the privilege of meeting one of our new juniors, Tina Park, you know that she is one of the coolest foreign exchange students ever! Tina is from South Korea. South Korea is located on the Korean Peninsula. Schools in South Korea are very focused on the importance of education, and high school in South Korea is often as rigorous as studying until midnight (only getting a couple hours of sleep). I asked Tina about her experience in South Korea with school and lunch.


M: What was school like in South Korea? 

Tina: “Some schools are big and some are small. We don’t move our class (except art, music, and P.E. sometimes). During each subject, teachers come to the class so that we can stay with the same classmates.”

M: What were the lunches like? What was your favorite lunch in South Korea?

Tina: “We usually had rice, soup, and side dishes. In my school every Wednesday we had a special dish like spaghetti or some meat. My favorite lunch was Korean traditional barbecue.”

M: How much time did you get each day for lunch?

Tina: “Everyday we had one hour.”

M: Finally, do you miss lunch in South Korea? 

Tina: “Yes, I miss my country’s food.”

Pictured below is Tina’s school in South Korea!


Because different cultures have different cuisines and traditions, it’s always interesting to learn about day to day life and food. If you want to get to know some awesome students and ask them about their life in another country, I recommend getting to know Angela and Tina. They are both incredibly sweet and they are great friends. That being said, enjoy your lunch today here in America! The pizza and nuggets are waiting for you…

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