Oh, back-to-school… it’s that time of year again! As a kid, I loved heading back to school to hang out with friends, show off my new clothes and get new binders to doodle on. But I wasn’t stoked for the humdrum tuna (or deli meat) sandwich, granola bar, banana (or apple) and juice box, five days a week. So I wondered… what do parents nowadays pack for lunch? And what kinds of foods do kids eat in other countries? I surveyed some of my fellow TU employees to find out!

Cristina, Claims Department

“I grew up in Mexico City and when I was in school, I loved to eat torta de Frijoles con Huevo for lunch, a traditional sandwich of fried black beans and scrambled eggs (yummy!). Or, I would ‘borrow’ tortas from my classmates.”

Annie, Project Management

“I went to school in Manila, the big, noisy, bustling capital of the Philippines. I remember opening my tiffin box at lunch to find rice, (naturally) and adobo. Adobo is a dish of pork or chicken stewed in brown sugar, vinegar, bay leaves, and soy sauce. It’s salty, sweet, and sour at the same time. The pork gets very tender, and its texture is reminiscent of pork belly. Another favourite is longganisa, which is the quintessential Filipino sausage. Longganisa is made with pork, and takes pride in its intense garlicky flavour–you’ll likely find Filipinos dipping it into a sauce of vinegar and minced garlic before eating it with rice.”

lunches from around the world
Chicken Adobo, Photo by Roberto Verzo

Jozsef, IS Department

“I grew up in Ontario, after my parents immigrated from Hungary. My mom used to make me sandwiches with Hungarian meat on them. They were absolutely yummy and I loved them. They would be accompanied with some fruit, because I hated most veggies when I was a kid. But really, who liked veggies when they were kids?”

Usha, Marketing

lunch from around the world
Lentils with spinach, Photo by Mr T in DC

“Growing up in Bombay, India, my sister and I attended a private school. Our mother used to bus it to school and back, just to ensure we had a hot meal each day! Our staple was rice with a curry and vegetable side dish; mum’s curries are outstanding and some of my favourites were brown stew, lentils with spinach, cabbage and peas, fish curry and white coconut stew. Occasionally, we’d get treated to a warm and flaky meat pastry and a slice of cake, courtesy of the neighbourhood pastry shop. Monginis, idlis, or chilli con carne with oven-warmed buns bring back delicious memories. Now with two kids, I ensure they get the same well-balanced meals mum gave us, even though curry and rice may not be on the menu!”

Fish curry, Photo by Jason D’Great

Thanks to Cristina, Annie, Jozsef and Usha for sharing! I’m hungry now!

What about you… what did you eat growing up? If you’re a parent, what do you feed your kids for lunch nowadays? Please share below!

Happy September,


What Country Is In Your Lunch Bag?

Sep 4 2013