Bento is a portable packed meal, usually eaten for lunch in Japan. You can buy bento at bento shops, convenience stores, grocery stores, train station shops – pretty much anywhere there. However, as we always say, the home-made kind is the best! And it’s not hard to make at all.
If you know you need to bring lunch the next day, just think ahead. Leave some food from dinner aside, and even prepare vegetables before you go to bed. It is busy in the morning for everyone, so keep the Bento making to a minimum in the morning.
For example, if you have Kabocha no Nimono and Beef Shigureni for dinner, they can become the main dishes for tomorrow’s Bento. Blanch some broccoli pieces at night and keep in the fridge, and set the timer for the rice cooker. In the morning, you’re practically done. Make Tamagoyaki, then pack it with Steamed Rice, a few tomatoes, and the food from the night before in your Bento box. Now you have a tasty, healthy, and cheap (who wants to pay $10 everyday?!) lunch for yourself. Doesn’t that sound great?
One thing you have to be careful about is the temperature: the wrong temperature may induce bacteria growth – yuck! You need to cool the Bento completely before you wrap it up. Also, raw fish or undercooked meat are not suitable for Bento. Try not to let it get too warm. You might want to use an ice pack during the summer. Treat your Bento like your ham sandwich.
For a container, you can use your old tupperware, of course, but there are tons of cute and cool Bento boxes you can get to show off your style out there. Some people also get really artistic and creative with how they cut and arrange food in the box. Faces, animals, nature scenes. Whatever makes you smile and hungry, pack it up – and don’t forget your chopsticks!
- Steamed Rice
- Gomashio (sesame and salt) Furikake
- Kabocha no Nimono
- Beef Shigureni
- broccoli, lightly blanched
- cherry tomatoes
- Pack rice with a sprinkle of Gomashio , and arrange the other dishes in the bento box.