Epitome of Japanese food culture – bento box

Recently, Japanese traditional portable lunch, “Bento” is getting a spot light in many countries. Portable lunch have been eaten and existed in many different countries. Then what’s so special about bento? Though, usual portable lunch only contained few menus, Japanese bento included whole meal within that tiny box including main dish, side dish. Bento also considered visual and overall conformity. Thus, some say it’s an art and epitome of Japanese culture in the tiny box.

Japanese traditional bentos have been made in each household, but now a day, it can be found in many restaurants and convenience store. Usually it contains rice, main dish and few side dishes. The rice often came with side of pickle or some kind such as pickled plum, and kombu seaweed tsukudani. Kombu tsukudani and salted kombu were used for long time since it lasted long without going bad and nutritious.

With the many decorative ingredients in bento, kyaraben, has been introduced in modern times. Kyaraben is shortened form of character bento is a style of elaborately arranged bento which features food decorated to look like people, characters from popular media. Moreover, many businessmen carry bento for lunch for its nutrients and cost. As you can see, bento is still used in many places and has evolved to fit their needs and time. Though, Kombu seaweed still remains one of favorite ingredients of all time.

Kombu seaweeds are great for nutritious value and goes well with kyaraben to represent black and color contrast with white. If you ever have chance to make bento, put few slice of kombu seaweed and it’s all good to go!