Without actually getting arrested and being thrust into the confines of a prison cell, there is little if any chance of us being able to taste real prison food. However, this doesn’t stop many of us wondering on the odd occasion what all those guys doing hard labor actually eat day after day. It could possibly be the most revolting thing known to man but if only there were a way to at least try it. In this vain, RocketNews24 reporter Kuzo searched high and low for a place where all of us upstanding citizens can try the stuff without resorting to breaking the law. Thankfully, this is Japan, so it didn’t take long for him to track down a cafeteria in northern part of Japan that specializes solely in Japanese prison food.
All dishes are based on actual recipes of the food served inside Japanese prisons
Located in the town of Abashiri, Hokkaido, this alternative dining room goes by the name of Prison Cafeteria. Here it is possible to eat the same food that the genuine inmates of Abashirishi prison eat for lunch each day. This food is served to the general public just like any normal cafeteria.
Prison food Set A
- Rice boiled with barley,
- Fried fish (mackerel pike)
- Thinly sliced Japanese daikon radish
- “Harusame” noodle salad,
- Miso soup
Perhaps Kuzo’s biggest apprehension was just how the food would taste. Being prison food, it’s hard not to hold the preconception of things being a little on the bland side. However, to his surprise, the meal was not wanting in flavor, with the sweetness of the Japanese radish complementing the rice and the aroma of the mackerel creating a taste-bud explosion.
Prison food set B
- Rice boiled with barley
- Fried fish (Atka mackerel)
- Fried dish with Japanese vegetables
- Chinese yam
- Miso soup
The mackerel on offer here is garnished with grated Japanese radish which complements the mackerel superbly. To make an already delicious meal even more tantalizing, sprinkling a little soy sauce on the fish and taking a mouthful along with the rice really does give the meal a sophisticated edge. Adding the Chinese yam to the equation, our reporter couldn’t contain his emotion any more, softly muttering “amazing” as he looked down at his tray of prison food.
Obviously no one wants to be sent to prison, but judging from the sheer quality of the food on offer here, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that this is something you wouldn’t get fed up with eating everyday. There’s everything from your dietary fibers, to your daily intake of salt and carbohydrates. Admittedly, the food that real inmates eat is lacking in miso soup, carrying the dumbed-down coarse tea. However, this arguably could be seen as a form of “punishment” for the prisoners. After all, for them, complimenting this all off with miso soup might just make offenders of the law a little too accustomed to that longed-for home-cooked flavor.
Prison Cafeteria (in Japanese “Kangoku Shokudo”) Address: Abashirishi Prison Museum, Abashiri city, Hokkaido Opening hours: 10:30 – 15:30 Holidays: November – March
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