Bloggin 'bout Bento
This entry was posted on June 30, 2010.
When its lunch time, what do you eat? Do you run out to the nearest fast food joint and chow down on a greasy burger and fries? Or maybe you pack your own PB&J sandwich and a piece of fruit. Perhaps you're eating a little left over take out from a paper carton. Well we here at AsianFoodGrocer.com want to let you know that you are behind the times! In Japan, Bento Boxes are a staple in lunchtime dining.
Bento Boxes are containers that come in many different styles. Think lunch box or Tupperware that's more aesthetically pleasing. They can be constructed out of organic materials like wood and bamboo, metal, or more commonly plastic. Each Bento usually has separate compartment to house each meal item, however, some have no boarders. Most plastic and metal Bento boxes come with a resalable spill proof lid that snaps into place. Some Bento Boxes come in bundles packed with chopsticks, knives and forks, and sometimes even a thermos. As for the wooden and bamboo boxes, the food inside is usually wrapped in a thin layer of plastic wrap to help prevent spillage. The organic material boxes may not be the best at holding food but they sure do look cool!
Another uniquely Japanese trait of Bento boxes is the furoshiki. The furoshiki is a decorative piece of cloth that plays two roles. It is slipped underneath the Bento box and tied at the top to act as a carrying bag. When unwrapped, it doubles as a table cloth.
You have probably figured out by now that the foods inside of the Bento Boxes are also designed for beauty much like other Japanese foods and the boxes themselves. A lot of time and careful preparation goes into every handmade Bento meal. They usually consist of fresh and cooked veggies, seafood, a few pieces of homemade sushi, pickled veggies, and cooked rice with toppings like shredded seaweed nori, seasoned furikaki, salted spiced plum, or sesame seeds. Bento making is truly a culinary art form, hot dogs and sausages can be cut into the shape of sea creatures, fresh vegetables can be carved into flowers, and even the rice can be colored using different spices and food colorings. It is not uncommon to see popular cartoon characters or other well known icons like Hello Kitty. The artistic possibilities are endless!
Luckily for all of you, we just got in a huge shipment of brand spanking new Bento Boxes right from Japan! Check them out and tell us what ya think!