Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Summer Fun: Japanese ‘Prison Cafeteria’ Food of Abashiri Prison

Prison Cafeteria

Prison Cafeteria

Prison food isn’t just for prisoners anymore, at least not in the cafeteria at the prison in Abashirishi, Japan, where anyone can go to experience reasonably-priced, authentic prison fare without the bother of first being convicted of something.

Located in the Abashirishi Prison Museum, the Prison Cafeteria seeks to stimulate the connoisseur’s palate with lunches based on real recipes prepared for real convicts in the very real prison next door. On any given day, cafeteria goers can have the same lunch served to the inmates, but in a relaxed cafeteria atmosphere rather than a prison lunchroom.

There are two lunch choices: Set A, which costs about Y800 ($8), and Set B, which costs about Y700 ($7). Both menu options include miso soup, which is the only non-authentic detail in the lunch. Real prisoners are served a less tasty and cheaper coarse tea.

The initially skeptical foodie sent by RocketNews24 gave Prison Cafeteria a thumbs-up. He found Prison Set A to be an exciting “taste-bud explosion.” While Prison Set B he simply called “amazing.”

Prison Set A

  • Rice boiled with barley
  • Fried fish (mackerel pike)
  • Thinly sliced Japanese daikon radish
  • “Harusame” noodle salad
  • Miso soup

Prison Set B

  • Rice boiled with barley
  • Fried fish (Atka mackerel)
  • Fried dish with Japanese vegetables
  • Chinese yam
  • Miso soup

Prison Cafeteria is open for lunch from 10:30 to 15:30.

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