One of the reasons I fell in love with Japan was a programme I saw on “Bento” via NHK TV. The documentary simply visited workplaces in Japan and asked the staff to show them their lunch boxes or as they say in Japan, their Bento box.
Bento is a single-portion home-packed meal, which holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container.
The containers range from throw away boxes to beautiful hand crafted lacquerware boxes. Bentos are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including corrner shops, Bento shops (弁当屋bentō-ya?), railway stations, and even department.
However, the Japanese often spend time and energy on a carefully prepared Bento lunch box for their spouse, child, or themselves.
What did I have for lunch today?
For me, its about getting home and quickly putting something together. Failing that, its a trip to the supermarket for a mass produced sandwich or tin of soup..that’s a world away from Bento!
What surprised me about Bento was how factory workers, tired after a hard day at work, would spend over 1 hour producing an immaculate Bento box. The pride in their food presentation was amazing, it looked fab and tasted great. It made my humble cheese sandwich effort today look rather pathetic.
I think if we looked at the UK lunch culture versus the Japanese…we can see one clear winner.
What also came to mind, was how this was such a healthy lunch. As a diabetic, I could see it was all about getting a balance between carbs, meat or fish and fresh/pickled vegetables. Ideal for me (hooray!)
So tonight I’ve tried to follow some Bento recipes, which I have to admit took a while to prepare, however I think practice will make perfect. Click here to follow the recipe I tried for Roast Chicken Dinner ( Omugiri Bento) See image below on how it should look…
If you want to learn how to make a quick Bento Box, then I would suggest you view the following.