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By Masatoshi Takara 

Have you ever wondered how to get the most bang out of your yen at the cafeteria? At the same time did you want to splurge and gorge yourself into some delicious food? This comprehensive guide will tell you how to eat on the cheap and have a hearty meal, as well as certain items worth splurging for once in a while.

Keep your wallet fat and your stomach full.

Keep your wallet fat and your stomach full.

Now many of you are probably thinking, if I wanted to eat on the cheap I would bring my own food and make my own bentou! That is without a doubt the cheapest way to eat, but some of us want some fresh food or aren’t good enough cooks to do so! With that being said the frugal way to eat at the shokudou is to bring your own rice. If you bring your own rice the only thing you will need to buy is the okazu! If you follow this method you can keep your lunch spending under 300 yen no problem. Items to look for are the *“saba no misoni” or *“saba no himono”. What better item to add a little variety to you lunch than the *“misoshiru” which is a baffling 20yen! The tip here is to go to the “cafeteria” section of the food line and cherry pick from an assortment of options which won’t break your wallet so you can save money for that new jacket, a fun night out, or even more important, paying rent.

Did you know that the cafeteria offers different menu items for the changing seasons? With the temperature starting to drop and Christmas being around the corner, the cafeteriaintroduces new items that will be with us this season. They are the *“milky miso ramen”, *“shyake oyako-don”, *“butter shio ramen” and the *“buta don.” On a quest to find out how they tasted my trusty group of reporters, who are actually just hungry friends at lunch time, got a different item from the special season limited menu. I got to try each and every one of these delicious creations. They say to each his own, but to me to each his all! Every single menu item I tried was delicious and definitely worth giving a shot.

So grab your jackets and bring your appetite, because the cafeteria has something to offer for everybody.

*“saba no misoni” – Miso sautéed mackerel
*“saba no himono” – dried mackerel
*“misoshiru” – miso soup
*“milky miso ramen” – miso ramen with milk
*“shyake oyako-don” – salmon egg and salmon on a bed of rice
*“butter shio ramen” – salty, butter ramen noodles
*“buta don.” – pork bowl

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