Most of you know I am currently living in the land of the rising sun otherwise known as Japan. Here in Japan bento is a big deal. Like a really big deal. Everyone eats bento everyday! Mom, dad, grandma, big brother, little sister, office worker, company president etc... everyone! Ok some will go out to eat but you can bet they have eaten a bento. Even the grocery stores are set up that you can go in get a plastic to go like box and pick from their selections. The local convenience marts also have pre-made bento's in their fridge cases every day.
I have done my best to not get caught up in these cute little (little being accurate) boxes of love. Yes I described them as boxes of love. Whomever makes these bento's are making them with love for the recipient. I have successfully avoided them for 6 years. Well no more I am falling in love with them! The longer I live here the more they have started to grow on me and i'll admit it they are just so KAWAII!!! (^.^) Kawaii means cute for all you gajin's out there.
Oh and gaijin means foreigner by the way. (^.^)
Some of you may not know Bento so i'm going to let Wikipedia describe it for you.
Bento (弁当, bentō ) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋, bentō-ya ), train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend time and energy for their spouse, child, or themselves producing a carefully prepared lunch box.I have noticed an increase in the number of bento items being put out for sale on the shelves at the store. Cute little things like these:
Bento can be very elaborately arranged in a style called kyaraben. Contests are often held where bento arrangers compete for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements. Kyaraben is typically decorated to look like people, animals, or characters and items such as flowers and plants.
These are used to separate your bento into different sections instead of just throwing it in there. These are new to me. I have been used to seeing those paper cups in various sizes like we make muffins in.
Food Writing Pen
It has a thin tip used for making faces or writing
I am just getting started buying up all the cute little goodies that can be used for making bento. Look for pictures of the new stuff in future Bento Tuesday posts.
Here are my first bento's for myself and for my son. All of the food shown was left over from previous meal. While not "kawaii" it was my first attempt at making a bento.
Corn cut off of the cob
Shredded Chicken Breast
My bento (the pink one) is approximately 500ml or about 2 Cups
My son's bento (the blue one) is originally a 3 container bento but I only used two of them since he is only 2yrs old. His as shown I would estimate about 1 cup or maybe 1 1/4cups. I believe all three containers together holds 1 1/2 cups.
Look for more pictures of bento, and bento supplies to include bags to carry your bento in future blog posts of Bento Tuesday.
Do you bento? Would you like to bento or have recipes to share?
Don't forget to grab a Bento Tuesday button for your blog while you are here. You can find it in the right hand column of my blog.