Ramen noodle bar coming to Greenville County schools in 2024
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Ramen noodle bar coming to Greenville County schools in 2024

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Students returning to Greenville County Schools (GCS) this summer will be treated to something delicious for lunch.

On July 2, GCS announced via social media that it was testing a ramen noodle bar at its schools. Ronald Jones, director of Food & Nutrition Services at GCS, hopes the new menu item will be a hit with students, especially since it’s a popular place to eat out.

“Ramen has been popular for a long time, and our kids are used to quickly reaching for cups of ramen. But what we’re offering will be a much healthier version of that, so I think the acceptance from students will be very strong,” he said.

When can students expect ramen on the lunch menu? And what flavors will be available to order? Here’s what you need to know.

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What flavors of ramen will there be?

Ramen fans know that the dish comes in a variety of flavors, from sweet and savory to hot and spicy. GCS is currently testing two flavor samples for the ramen bar. The first sample is a Japanese tonkotsu ramen made with chicken broth or chicken and pork broth. The second sample is a lemongrass chicken broth ramen that Jones thinks students might like more.

“The samples are on their way, we’ll test them and choose the one we like,” he said. “The tonkotsu was very, very good, but we’ll try the lemongrass.”

To reduce sodium intake in students’ diets, GCS will offer well-balanced ingredients. Whole grain ramen noodles will be used, as well as low-sodium broths and sauces. A choice of proteins will also be served, and students can choose beef or chicken with a hard-boiled egg on the side. Green onions, shredded cabbage, and carrots are just some of the vegetables on the menu.

“We’ll give them (students) the option to use a little siracha to spice it up if they want,” Jones said.

At lunch, students will feel like they’re out with friends at a buffet. At the serving line, broth will be poured over noodles in a bowl by cafeteria staff, who will then serve students their preferred protein choice. For a hands-on experience, students can decorate their bowls with toppings. It’ll be a fun experience—the kind that adult ramen fans hope to experience in their schools growing up.

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When will the ramen noodle bar open in GCS?

There is no set date for when the ramen noodle bar will officially open at GCS. Workers are still in the process of sourcing products, and delivery dates will depend on when the manufacturer can guarantee deliveries to the school.

“Because we’re such a large district, it’s a big undertaking to make sure the distribution lines are complete,” Jones said.

As the project progresses, Jones expects the ramen bar to open in September and operate once every three weeks.

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GCS wants students to share their thoughts on the cafeteria menu

While working at GCS, Jones noticed a few popular menu items among students. When offered, students are more likely to grab burgers, chicken sandwiches and pizza. That’s why the school system sources certified Angus beef and whole-grain white chicken.

While these menu items aren’t going away anytime soon, Jones would like students to expand their palates to include international dishes. One limited-time dish he’s excited to add to the menu is Thai red curry, a spicy chicken product served with rice.

At the end of the school day, Jones knows it’s all about the students. As the new school year approaches, he encourages students to share their ideas for what they’d like to see on the menu during their time at school.

“We’re interested in engaging students at all levels to get information about what types of things they eat when they go out to dinner, what types of foods they cook at home, so we can create menus that will attract more students to our program,” he said.

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Nina Tran covers trending topics for The Greenville News. Contact her by email: [email protected].