• cart
July 28, 2015 #Beginners Guide

Beginners Guide: BENTO BOX

Forget a soggy sandwich and crisps, Bento boxes are the Japanese way to ensure you eat like a champion at lunchtimes.

Bento is the Japanese version of a packed lunch and can be made at home to take to work or school or bought at news stands, cafes or various shops when you’re out and about. They are divided into a number of different compartments for a variety of delicious foods. Traditionally they will include fish or meat, tofu, a portion of rice or onigiri rice balls, pickled vegetables or radish, other cooked vegetables and fruit. All the food is made to be eaten cold and, typically for the healthy Japanese, includes a portion of protein, fruit and vegetables.

bento boxes

Sometimes they are made of hand-crafted, lacquered wood, but also are made in wood effect plastic or hard wearing melamine. In Japan pre-mode bento lunches are often lovingly prepared by housewives for their husbands and children to take to school or work. In fact, so much attention goes into some of them there are actually national competitions to recognise the art form of Kyaraben - a form of novelty food arrangement in which the food is made into people, animals, landscapes or cartoon characters for children. It certainly a unique way of getting your kids to eat fruit and vegetables if you have the time.

While travelling in Japan, Bento meals are a real treat and much tastier and healthier than the fast food or prepackaged options we get here. I was told by my Japanese friends that it's traditional to get yourself a can of beer and a Bento to eat on the super fast bullet train. A few hours later, I found myself tucking into an amazing Bento box the size of a proper evening meal for just £5. Takeaway Bento is known as Ekiben and is often found in small shops in Japanese train stations. Because of the seasonal delicacies and regional varieties, it is possible to zoom round the country on their excellent trains and enjoy a culinary tour without leaving the railway station.


Bento boxes are popular for all sorts of outdoor eating such as picnics and packed lunches. However, they are also a common menu item in restaurants where a hot meal is served in the beautiful lacquered boxes with all the usual attention to detail and colour that Japanese cuisine is famous for. I may just be me but there is something quite pleasing about eating food from little compartments rather than mixed together on one plate and it makes each flavour quite distinct.

We are all back at work and school, the warm summer nights still feel a long way away and lots of us are keen to offset the excesses of the festive season. They are a delicious is a tasty,creative and healthy way to add some joy to your day and make lunchtimes worth waiting for.Bento Box With Lid


Subscribe to our Blog and Newsletter Now

Other posts tagged with

Is sushi gluten-free?

Sushi is a delicious and flavorsome go-to meal enjoyed by many. But is it safe to eat for people with coeliac disease, or those who have gluten..

Read More

Dassai the ultimate Sake

by Hazuki

Japanese Sake is becoming popular in the world these days . Dassai is the brand most sold due to its fine polish and the fruity flavour and it's..

Read More
March 31, 2017 #Beginners Guide #Culture

What does Sakura mean for people in Japan?

by Hazuki

Sakura is a symbolic flower of the spring and special flower for the people and the country in Japan. Every year, the Japanese track the progress..

Read More
December 14, 2016 #Beginners Guide

Japanese Food Guide: Japanese Curry

What is it?

Curry has become so popular worldwide that now every country seems to have it's own variation. Curry is one of the most popular..

Read More
December 09, 2016 #Beginners Guide

Beginners Guide: Chopsticks

What are Chopsticks?

Put simply chopsticks are the eating utensil of choice in many Asian countries such as China, Korea, Vietnam Taiwan and..

Read More