Japanese Bento

The Art of Preparing Your Own Bento Set

The selections for the most affordable snacks or meals are everywhere in Japan. Whether it's sushi or ramen, you can easily find the best one to suit your budget but of quality taste. Meanwhile, there's also the most common way that most Japanese people prefer when preparing lunch. It's none other than the bento box or a Japanese-style lunchbox that, aside from being very affordable, it's the most convenient way to have a midday meal.

This article will walk you through the art and fun of making your own bento lunch! Read along and discover the history that comes with it and why it is popular to any age!

What is Bento?

The word bento is from the Chinese Southern slang term Biandang, which means convenient. A bento is a single-portion boxed meal consisting of carbs (either rice or noodles), a protein (meat or fish), a portion of pickled or cooked vegetables, and sometimes, fruits or some sweets as a dessert. The good thing about bento is you can prepare a portion of food for all the categories, which helps in more healthy and balanced nutrition. Plus, it gives portability as you can prepare it in one lunch box, making it ideal for school or work meals. Of course, the convenience it brings is a courtesy of the perfectly designed and crafted bento box.

History of Bento Box

Starting in Kamakura Period around 1185, the word bento was yet to be used during the earliest days of the lunchbox's conception. The term used was hoshi-ii or dried meal because it only had dried rice without any packaging. In 1568, wooden lacquered boxes were produced to create boxed bento during the Azuchi-Monoyama Period.

Meanwhile, during the Edo period in 1603 - 1867, the idea of bento became an everyday meal with ingredients and serving style, depending on people's social classes and occupations. In this era, the birth of koshibento or waist bento existed for travelers and sightseers. Koshibento, during that period, often included riceballs wrapped in bamboo leaves. Since then, bento boxes have become a symbol of Japanese culture and ideals that can still be witnessed today.

Bento Starter Pack

How to Prepare Your Own Bento Lunch?

It's absolutely fun making a bento or lunch meal. Whether you want to prepare it for others or yourself, the art of making one comes with love and care that makes the bento more special. The preparation of bento in either mass-produced or homemade is just the same. What you need the most is the lunch container divided into designated sections for the food. The biggest section goes to carbohydrates meal, and the smallest is for fruits or vegetables. Did you know there's an unspoken rule when creating a bento meal? There should be at least one dish in the following colors: red, orange, yellow, green, white, and black.

Creative Japanese Bento in a school setting

Now that you know things about bento boxes and what should be in them, the next part will be arranging them. You can use silicone cups or dividers to avoid unnecessary movement of the food once packed inside a bag. Remember that it should be left to cool completely before closing the lid to avoid the growth of bacteria, which can lead to food spoiling.

The food or meal you can put inside your bento is up to your imagination. You can include whatever you want. But for some ideas, Japanese bento is often filled with tamagoyaki or a rolled omelet, nori, and furikake seasonings for additional flavors to taste. Lastly, you can also include cute food picks and small sauce containers.

Create Your Own School Bento Box

Well, get ready to live up to your dream school setting in Japan, like the ones in your anime favorites! It's now your chance to experience the art of eating and the fun of making a bento box no matter where you are and even though you're not in Japan. You can style it on your own and become more familiar with the tools used to prepare bento meals. The Bento Experience Set lets you enjoy bento meals with your loved ones, regardless of generation.

It's now already up on the website, and good news because no subscription needed to avail of one! The set includes: a Bento box (two-tiered) & carry bag, seaweed art, food dividers, food picks, a utensil set, and a sauce container.

Bento making set up

Final Thoughts

Japanese bentos are indeed popular anywhere in the world. It's not a surprise that many people also want to experience the fun of making one for themselves. Thanks to Japan Crate, you can now experience having one with our Experience Sets. For additional information about how to order, learn more here and get your Bento Experience Set now!



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