Ah Bento! *sigh* There is nothing quite as amazing as a small box with a menagerie of food. It’s a fantastic way to try lots of different foods here in Japan and it’s also the most common (if not only) form of take-out food. Most commonly a bento box has rice, a form of meat or fish, and vegetables that are either cooked or pickled. (They pickle a LOT of veggies here in Japan and, so far, it’s not really my thing. >.>)
Still, I love bento boxes! I’ve tried one from a take-out/fast food store called ‘Hotto Motto’. Of course, I had no idea what I was ordering so I just clicked on an image on a touch-screen to order my food. (That’s right! It’s all automated in the Hotto Motto I went to, which was super cool), and waited to pick up my food a few minutes later.
Don’t get me wrong. Take-out bento is not nearly as good as home-made bento, but that’s like saying a fast food burger is as good as one from a nice restaurant. It’s not. :p Still, it’s a quick, easy, relatively cheap way to grab dinner or lunch. It’s also a great way to try new foods, which is exactly what I did when I got my bento box because while I thought I was ordering some type of fries to go along with my bento box (because that’s what it kind of looked like on the menu), I actually ordered chicken wings. :p Whoops! Good thing I’m open to trying new foods and now I know for next time. Haha!
Yet, my favorite bento boxes are the home-made kind because the food is just fresher and usually not deep-fried and well… made by someone you know and care about. Because let’s be honest, meals made for you by someone who cares about you taste way better than those from restaurants or fast-food joints. The food is also quite a bit different in home-made bento.
Like the bento box at the top of this post was made by one of my Japanese friends for when we had a picnic on the beach. It had tamagoyaki, noodles, cooked veggies with a dipping sauce, a potato salad of sorts, chikuwa(fish sausages) with cucumber inside, little sausages carved to look like octopus, and lettuce underneath it all. Basically, it was amazing! And it was even better because I was eating with friends.