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We love them. You should too.
You can get bento boxes pretty much anywhere in Japan. Train stations, convenience stores, department stores… and they’re almost always guaranteed to be delicious.
One of our favorite things about bento boxes is the variety of foods you can get in a single bento. Rice, meats, veggies, tsukemono… all sorts of things.
Bento is a great way of using up those little bits and pieces that weren’t finished off the night before. You don’t need to have a lot of any one ingredient, but you do need variety of taste and texture. You also have to choose dishes that are tasty even when cold, ones that will not go off quickly and ones that are not too watery.
It is common to have both meat and fish in one bento box, though one is usually more predominant than the other. Deep-fried seafood or chicken is always very popular, as is teriyaki fish or meat.
Vegetables are crucial for a good bento. Crunchy, lightly cooked green beans, carrots or broccoli are all fantastic additions, providing color and texture.
Kyaraben or “character bento” are typically decorated to look like popular Japanese cartoon (anime) characters, characters from comic books (manga), or video game characters.
Oekakiben or “picture bento” are decorated to look like people, animals, building and monuments, or things like flowers and plants.
There are a bunch of bento blogs out there. Just Bento, Lunch in a Box, Happy Little Bento, Bento Lunch, and Feisty Bento (Yvo hasn’t blogged there for a while, though she still does talk about bentos on her main blog) are some good ones.
We’ve got silicon saibashi winners!
Congratualtions to Iryna and Carla! Check your emails for messages from us so we can get your shipping info and get these saibashi sent your way. ^_^