Patient Posts Photos of Her Japanese Hospital Food and It Will Blow Your Mind

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It all started when Imgur user  posted the following: “I recently gave birth in Japan. Here is some of the hospital food I ate.” She then shared photos of all the meals she was served while recovering — and minds everywhere were understandably blown.

Especially those in the U.S., where hospital food isn’t exactly known for its variety, flavor, or presentation. Apparently, things are a little different in Japan.

Even if the food itself isn’t terrible, something about meals arriving in those plastic covered dishes is entirely unappealing. You never know what you’re gonna find when you lift the lid. Usually it’s all beige. “Ooooh, what’s in this dish?” “Oh. A damp sandwich. Yum.”

No damp sandwiches or jello in sight here. This meal includes mushroom pasta, potato salad, broccoli and bacon salad, chicken soup, fruit, bread, and green tea. And it’s all served in actual dishes (no disposable plastics in sight), making the patient feel more a person and less like a patient.

Rounding out the meal is macaroni salad, chicken soup, squid rings, fruit, and green tea. Let’s return to the idea of a fried-rice omelet for a moment, because that sounds amazing. How injured or sick does one have to be to get admitted to a hospital in Japan? Asking for a friend.

Here we have chicken fingers with shredded cabbage salad, bitter melon stir-fry, agedashi (fried) tofu, carrot salad, rice, and miso soup. We can’t tell what’s breakfast, what’s lunch, and what’s dinner. And, honestly, we wouldn’t recognize many of these foods — but it’s still better than day after day of graham crackers and peanut butter that recovering moms often live on in the U.S.

For this meal, maybe lunch(?), she’s served salmon with mushroom sauce, soba noodles, rice, eggplant and beef, broccoli, and hijiki (seaweed) salad. As imgur user crepsucule commented, “It’s almost like they understand how important nutrition is when you’re healing or sick….” But the amazing meals didn’t end there…


This time around, we have cod, shredded cabbage salad, pasta salad, sweet potato and peas, rice, and green tea. (Author’s note, at this point in my hospital stay post-birth, I had eaten 247 graham crackers, and 133 little tubs of peanut butter from the patient “kitchen” in the maternity ward.)

It’s hard to identify which meal of the day any of these are, but this one comes with milk. What are we washing down with said milk? Salmon, tofu, spinach salad, nattō (fermented seaweed), miso soup, and rice. Who knows — maybe all this variety of eats from various food groups has some kind of health benefit to a patient recovering from illness, injury, or childbirth? Imgur user imosltypostpicsofmycats commented:  “I work in an US hospital and the food we serve our patients is the kind of stuff that most likely landed them there in the first place.”

How lovely is this little bento box–like tray? The meal consists of chicken with mushroom sauce, braised pumpkin and pork, daikon carrot salad, rice, miso soup, and chawanmushi, which I looked up and discovered is an egg custard.

This meal she lists as, “Forget this fish name, braised vegetables, niku jaga (meat and potatoes), cucumber and baby corn salad, rice, miso soup, green tea.” How many different sets of dishes does this kitchen have? This is the first time we’ve spotted a repeat plate in the bunch. We know that’s beside the point, but we’re just trying to figure out what this hospital kitchen looks like — and how in the world it accommodates this sheer volume and variety of dishware.

So maybe a piece of mackerel for breakfast sounds weird, but I’m certain that this breakfast packs a nutritional punch that mine totally fails to. In addition to the mackerel, here is some konbu (seaweed) salad, nattō (fermented seaweed), spinach salad, miso soup, rice, milk, and green tea. We’ve been through a lot of food already, haven’t we? But wait. There’s more. Wait until you see what was on offer for her last meal before going home with her new baby!

She probably took a bunch of photos of her baby too. But look at this spread! Fried fish with tartar sauce, braised mountain potatoes, hijiki salad, spinach and carrot stir fry, rice, and green tea. So fancy.

You’d have drag us out of there kicking and screaming. Not only is this poor woman leaving the team of nurses who help take care of new moms and new babies, but she has to leave the chefs behind too! Not much to celebrate (OK, other than the new infant). This amazing meal (remember, this is HOSPITAL FOOD) includes camembert and raisins, roast beef, mashed potatoes, kabocha, lotus root with gravy, corn soup, rice, salad, tiramisu, fruit, orange juice, and green tea.