A bento is a traditional Japanese meal in which multiple side dishes are served in one box. Also called ‘bento,’ it is usually packed in a box, but some restaurants serve it in a bowl.
Bentos usually contain pickles, fried eggs, proteins such as fish or meat, and rice.
It is also eaten with other dishes such as tempura, sashimi, udon, and sushi.
In Japanese cuisine, besides the main component of the bento, it is often served with vegetable side dishes, such as marinated vegetables and salads, to add texture and flavor.
Small desserts such as Japanese sweets, fruits, and rice cakes are also sometimes added. The bento box made with fresh seasonal ingredients is also an opportunity for the chef to show off his skills.
In addition, there are many eye-catching presentations that incorporate the traditional Japanese aesthetic sense of “kawaii” and “shonai” and a sense of the season, such as cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves in autumn. In this way, the attention to detail and culinary artistry elevate bento from mere food to something special and an important part of everyday Japanese culture.
Ekiben, or railway bento, refers to boxed lunches for railway passengers sold at railway stations or on trains. In Japan, it is said that onigiri sold at Utsunomiya Station in Tochigi Prefecture on July 16, 1885 was the first example, but there are other theories. In addition to being sold at stations and on trains, it is sometimes sold at department stores as a local specialty.
Popular with people of all ages, it is often used as a special gift or treat for train travelers.
Ekiben come in a variety of flavors, sizes, and types, so you can choose the one that best suits your taste. Sushi, rice, salad, and pickles are common ingredients, but there are also elaborate dishes combined with tempura.
Traditionally, ekiben are sold in lacquered wooden boxes, but recently there are also plastic or styrofoam boxes printed with images of the area.
It’s especially useful for travelers because you can see the culture and history of the area at a glance. Also, many boxes contain a variety of ingredients, so you can try many different flavors and textures at once.
Ekiben shops tend to get crowded and seats are limited, so it’s important to get there early. Also, I recommend eating on the Shinkansen or inside a station rather than traveling.
If you want to eat Eki-ben, You can easily get at Tokyo Station near Shinkansen area
Soraben is a term used to refer to bento boxes sold at airports in Japan. The term quickly became established in the 2000s.
Lunch box to enjoy at the airport, commonly known as “Soraben”. Bentos originate from the traditional Japanese diet before the industrial revolution, and are designed to be portable and fun to eat outdoors.
The set comes with white rice, miso soup, boiled eggs, fried fish, pickles and other side dishes. In addition, convenience snacks that are popular with travelers, such as rice balls and sandwiches, are also included.
Drinks such as coffee, tea, beer, and sake are also available, so you can experience both traditional Japanese meals and snacks that you can easily eat on the go.
At Japanese airports, it is gaining popularity as a convenient new service for meals on the move.