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Monday, December 13, 2010

Japanese Bento Boxes

A Japanese bento (弁当) is a single portion takeout or home packed meal very common in Japanese cuisine. The typical Japanese bento lunch box consist of a meat, rice and some vegetables and/or pickles. The meat can be a variety of fish such as salmon, or fried chicken, pork cutlets, sausage, hamburger. The rice can be plain or consist of a topping sprinkled on called “furikake”. Most bento`s are eaten cold but it is not a problem to heat them up in the microwave depending on what they contain.

Bento can be very simple or very elaborately arranged. In Japan, there is a bento style called kyaraben or “character bento”, where the bento is designed to look like popular Japanese cartoon characters (anime) such as Anpanman, Doraemon and Mickey Mouse.

For an easy Japanese bento lunch box try some boiled white rice or onigiri (rice ball) with a rolled omlette and a few small main dishes like karaage (Japanese fried chicken), hamburger, tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet), gyoza (dumpling), spring rolls, mini sausages, potato or pasta salad.

A Japanese bento is usually in a boxed-shaped container. Containers or bento boxes usually range from disposable mass produced boxes to beautiful hand crafted lacquerware. A traditional bento box in Japan is shokado bento (松花堂弁当) which is a black-lacquered Japanese bento box.

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