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Bentos (2003-2008)


torakris
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The Yagura Honten site features a "Loco Moco Ochazuke" bento :shock::shock: !!!

Is Hawaii Loco Moco (Hamburger on Rice with Gravy) really that popular in Japan?

a?

Loco moco is really quite popular in recent years especially with the younger generation. It seemed to ride in with the surfer "boom" a couple years back and shops have popped up all over the place especially in areas popular with young people.

There is a chain store here now called loco moco and that is all they serve. In most other places it is just one item on the menu often with other dishes like curry rice and taco rice....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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By the way, people in Japan, which of the two big bento chains do you prefers - Hokkahokkatei or Honke Kamadoya?

Sorry, I can't answer your question. This is the first time I've ever heard of Honke Kamadoya, and I have bought bentos at Hokkahokkatei several times only in my entire life.

According to the following site, Hokkahokkatei ほっかほっか亭 surpasses Honke Kamadoya 本家かまどや in almost all factors such as sales and the number of stores.

http://www.h7.dion.ne.jp/~shindan/FC.html

(You have to scroll down a great deal to view the table.)

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

What type of bento box do you like using?

pictures of traditional and modern bento boxes

Does anybody actually use the mage-wappa bentwood type? I have actually used the wicker basket type, with a cloth liner they are great for onigiri.

I'll try and take some pix of our favorites - husband likes a flat plastic one with removable inner boxes for rice and side dishes (he doesn't like flavors to mix), but I worry that the food stays lukewarm inside them for too long.

For the kids and myself, I now use a two-tier aluminum number - the second tier is a plastic insert. I like the fact that aluminum cools down quickly.

Son1 sometimes uses a supersized flat aluminum box with a single flat divider.

Spying on people at work, I notice that pretty round enameled tins with pop-off plastic lids (kitchen storage type) are popular with women. Many of the women also use their kids' discarded cutesy chopsticks because they are small and portable. I have a pair that say "Chew your food" on them...

For outings, I actually own a lacquered two-layered "gyouraku" bento box, but I never take it out, because it is too delicate to be sitting in the sun, exposed to gritty dust at school sports days and the like!

To take a nice meal to the aged Ps, I might use my 3 tier lacquered melamine New Year's box (deliberately chosen not to be too seasonal in design), but the plastic ones with removable inner boxes allow certain dishes to be reheated in a microwave quickly and cleanly :wub:

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I don’t have much to contribute to this thread, Helen, because my wife and I don’t have lunch boxes of our own; I work at home and my wife is a homemaker. For outings, we usually make rice balls and put them in ‘I-wrap’ bags, and we put side dishes in plastic Tupperware containers.

My children have theirs, though. I took a picture of them together with oshibori holders and Tupperware containers.

gallery_16375_5_1094811973.jpg

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My husband uses a 3 tiered bento everyday, it has one bowl for soup, one for rice and a third for the okazu (main dishes/small dishes). Because it stays warm we have had a couple problems with foods that don't do well for prolonged periods at that temperature and I have now learned what foods to avoid.

My kids have the typical Kitty-chan/shinkansen bento boxes and we have one large one of 3 tiers that I pull out for undokai (sports day) and family outings. That is it. :biggrin:

I will take some pictures tomorrow.....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 6 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Smallworld, that hanami bento is lovely! I'm trying to figure out how to fit a little hanami in this busy weekend.

The key question is: is it possible to make a bento that 1)is different from everyday lunches, because right now the whole family are on bento, 2) doesn't exhaust me making it!, and 3) contains things that my FIL, now 87, and his wife can eat.

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Oooh. I really wish that I could read Japanese! *sigh*

I wish my mother would have made stuff like that for me when I was a kid! (Of course, she probably had never even heard of bento...)

I'd like to learn how to make creative bento, but I don't know anybody who makes them. Does anybody have suggestions on how to start? Or is more of a practice-makes-better type of thing? I'd love to make some for myself and my husband!

Misa

Sweet Misa

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There are a few English language bento books:

Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go -- by Naomi Kijima

Cafe Japan -- by Emi Kazuko

Fun and Fancy Sushi--by Seiko Ogawa and Ine Mizuno shows how to make those fancy panda bear sushi rolls and more unusual decorative sushi. Will probably get your kids to eat shrimp dyed pink .

I also have Ekiben: The Art of the Japanese Box Lunch, but this is a photo book of the packed lunches sold in the bullet train stations, often featuring local specialties in novelty boxes. It is not a cookbook.

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Smallword's quiz: The bento includes savouries and sweets, but no rice. Why not?

Cos it's basically drinking snacks, and you can't serve two rice products (sake and boiled rice) together....

(Am I right? Yeah? Do I get a sticker?)

Yes, you get a sticker, Helen- a big gold star!

I think my MIL bought the those bentos for our lunch because she knows I can't eat rice on my diet. Very sweet of her, and I didn't have the heart to tell her that with all the sugar in each highly seasoned delicacy, the entire bento was likely off-limits. So I had to eat the whole thing (oh, the sacrifices we make for family)...

So did you figure out a good hanami bento to make?

I'm not going to bother for today's hanami. We'll just drop by a depachika on the way and pick something up.

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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  • 2 weeks later...

Misa's probably not reading this, but I thought maybe we could talk about "bento basics".

I remember a friend saying that she thought the absolute basics of a bento were: onigiri (rice balls) with umeboshi, grilled salt salmon, boiled greens with crushed sesame seeds, and maybe a cold omelet.

I guess that's about it...it's a combination which includes contrasting colors and textures, and a grilled dish and a boiled dish. And that in turn has its roots in the most basic of Japanese meals - rice, pickles, miso soup, salt fish, and some kind of dressed vegetable.

So...rice! How do you all prepare your rice for bento? Do you like plain rice? Onigiri? Rolled fancy sushi or inari-zushi?

In winter I add a little mochi rice to my ordinary rice (or use half Milky Queen variety) to make the rice a little softer when it's cold. In summer I drop an umeboshi into the rice cooker along with the raw rice - the rice keeps better and tastes sharp and refreshing.

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My wife got up early enough this morning, so she made a bento for my son. I managed to take a picture of this okazu (side dish) box only. There are two other boxes, one for plain cooked Koshiibuki (not pricey Koshihikari) rice and another for fruit (apple).

gallery_16375_5_13061.jpg

The details later.

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Today's bento...nothing fancy with the rice, as husband likes it plain!

Sorry about the giant photo, changed my software and haven't got used to the new one yet...

gallery_7941_1113_847160.jpg

Umeboshi and shiso-pickled myouga were made during last summer's eGullet blog! Green shiso seed pickle was bought.

Egg rolls with sausage, wakame and small shiitake (cheap at the growers!) stirfried in sesame oil with shoyu/mirin, green pepper dressed with katsuo flakes, pack of concentrated miso soup with freeze-dried spinach to go with it.

Edited by helenjp (log)
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Misa's probably not reading this, but I thought maybe we could talk about "bento basics".

I remember a friend saying that she thought the absolute basics of a bento were: onigiri (rice balls) with umeboshi, grilled salt salmon, boiled greens with crushed sesame seeds, and maybe a cold omelet.

I guess that's about it...it's a combination which includes contrasting colors and textures, and a grilled dish and a boiled dish. And that in turn has its roots in the most basic of Japanese meals - rice, pickles, miso soup, salt fish, and some kind of dressed vegetable.

That's very helpful, actually! :biggrin:

So, if you're including an omelet, are the bento boxes insulated? Or is it okay without being kept cold? My mother beat into my head that carrying eggs around for even a few hours was very dangerous to my health. :wacko:

Misa

Sweet Misa

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Egg for bentos is usually well seasoned, which helps it to keep. Proportions: 2 eggs, 1 tab dashi stock, 1-2 tabs sake, 1 1/2 tsp - 1 1/2 tab sugar, 1/3 tsp salt. Dashimaki (rolled omelet) is more lightly seasoned, atsuyaki (thick baked egg) or a sturdier rolled omelet needs the heavier seasonings.

These omelets are cooked in separate layers, and I think that exposing each thin layer to the higher heat at the bottom of the omelet pan probably helps ensure that the egg is well cooked.

Even so, I use less stock and more seasonings in summer, and I don't include egg at all at the height of summer (when temps are round 100deg.F.)

Summers are hotter in Japan than they used to be, and people use vacuum-sealed plastic lunchboxes (as in my photo), which can keep the lunch at a dangerously warm temperature. Aluminum is better, because the lunch cools more rapidly, and these days, many people pop a frozen handwipe towel (or Kris' favorite frozen edamame in the bag!) or frozen drink on top of the lunchbox to cool it further).

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I also have Ekiben: The Art of the Japanese Box Lunch, but this is a photo book of the packed lunches sold in the bullet train stations, often featuring local specialties in novelty boxes. It is not a cookbook.

I have that book too, and every once in a while I just look at the pictures and try to imagine living in a country where you buy food in works of art like that at train stations! The book is SO beautiful. The photos are amazing. And the color is fantastic.

SusieQ

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I remember a friend saying that she thought the absolute basics of a bento were: onigiri (rice balls) with umeboshi, grilled salt salmon, boiled greens with crushed sesame seeds, and maybe a cold omelet.

this sounds like the perfect bento to me!

To me the simplest beto should have rice (usually with some kind of garnish/seasoning), a protein of either fish or meat, something green and an omelet. The omelet is optional but it does add nice color.

This is usually what I go for when making a bento for the kids, when it comes to my husbands bento anything goes! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Hi all,

My son's birthday is next week and he loves Japanese food! I'd like to get a bento box and let him take that to school for his lunch. As next weekend will be full of japanese food per his request, what can I make that would start the weekend off well and yet be just an opener for the weekend?

I should tell you that he's pretty adventurous and can and will eat anything(except shrimp).

Also, forget decent seafood as it isn't really an option here. I can get frozen fish however.

Thanks in advance :biggrin:

If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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  • 2 weeks later...
My wife got up early enough this morning, so she made a bento for my son.  I managed to take a picture of this okazu (side dish) box only.  There are two other boxes, one for plain cooked Koshiibuki (not pricey Koshihikari) rice and another for fruit (apple).

gallery_16375_5_13061.jpg

The details later.

Here are the details:

At my son's elementary school, they have a special food-related program called ozora chushoku 大空昼食 (lunch under the great sky); once a month (except the wintertime), students must bring a lunch with them, which they eat at lunchtime instead of a regular school lunch.

According to the interviews conducted by members of the kenshu bu (training division) of the PTA (I am the head of that division this school year), 75 to 80 percent of the students prefer ozora chushoku mainly because they can have a lunch they like with friends they like at a place they like. Others prefer a regular school lunch mainly because it is hot and tastes better.

I have been busy preparing for the workshop to be held on June 25. The main theme of the workshop is tanoshiku taberu (eat joyfully). I hope I can report on it when it's over.

Lunch boxes of four third-graders:

gallery_16375_5_317906.jpg

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Hi everyone. I just finished reading the thread and checked out some of the websites. Wow! :shock: The mothers that prepare this for their kids are awesome. I started preparing obento lunches for my mother recently, as she works hard during the day and doesn't have much time in the morning to prepare lunch for herself. I was reading this one Japanese cooking magazine (trying to, since I just started learning kanji :rolleyes: ) and it had an advertisement for an obento design competition. To those living in Japan, have you guys seen anything like this? Sounds pretty cool, I'd like to be able to make cool designs like these moms can. Oh yeah, are there any good obento recipe books in either English or Nihongo that are really good? Thanks. :biggrin:

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There are tons of bento making/design contests put on by various groups, cities, food companies every year.

As to bento books, There are hundreds of them and this is one of the best times to be looking for them as it is the beginning of the school year. All the bookstores currently have special displays of them and some can be very specific. Bentos for high school girls, bentos for pre-school boys, bentos for a newlywed wifr to make for her husband....

If you have access to a Japanese bookstore you should be able to find a couple.

There don't seem to be too many in English but I did find

Bento Boxes: Japanese meals on the go

Cafe Japan

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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