Popular Sanrio character Gudetama may claim to be a lazy egg, but he just might find himself busy decorating people’s plates and lunch boxes this spring.
Reformed fish paste has never looked so good.
Pokémon lovers rejoice! There’s now a whole new way to celebrate your fandom with these Pikachu-themed lunch boxes now on sale in South Korea!
If you’re riding the rails in Japan, here’s how you should be stuffing your face.
This Culture Day, our reporter Yuichiro Wasai went straight to Fuchu Prison. He did not pass Go. He did not collect 200 dollars.
There is no way you’ll leave this place without feeling like you got your yen’s worth.
Just how far can you go before you run out of Shinkansen?
Come for the bullet trains, stay for the delicious seafood and anime statue.
Rice balls and sushi pieces have never looked more adorable!
When this high-school kid opened up the last hand-made bento lunch of his high school life, he found a note from his mother with a sweet and surprising message…
From Pikachu to Totoro, these onigiri rice balls are as cute as they are delicious-looking!
There’s a new take-out place in Tokyo selling kangaroo bento boxed lunches, so we hopped on over to try them for ourselves.
If we had to pick one thing that represented how Japanese food maybe isn’t quite as healthy as generally perceived, it would probably have to be the bento lunchbox. Bento are readily available practically everywhere in Japan—when not being handmade for you by a parent or spouse, usually in the shape of Pokémon characters and the like—and are widely consumed by office workers and other day laborers as a cheap, convenient lunch.
Despite healthy origins back in the old days, bento—perhaps by design—have become increasingly unhealthy, with your standard box available from a retailer or food truck usually weighing in at a thousand calories (or frequently even more) and containing a bunch of fried food in addition to huge portions of rice.
But heck, when a filling, albeit cholesterol and calorie-packed bento sets you back only a measly 200 yen (US$1.50) over at discount supermarket Lamu, well, we’ll happily do the extra time on the treadmill.
Japanese often say that a good view makes a meal taste better, so it goes without saying that a cute-looking lunchbox would also enhance the contents inside. From meals served in Shinkansen-shaped containers or rabbit-faced boxes that can be reused as coin banks, to lunch boxes that play music or have collector’s items hidden inside, Japan’s ekiben take Japanese food to a whole new level.
Today we’d like to tell you about “Ekiben”, a little book by Aki Tomura which introduces the best and most unique train station lunch boxes in Japan. We’ve chosen just a few to highlight from this gorgeously photographed, pocket-size book. The word Ekiben is a combination of two Japanese words: eki (station) and bento (lunchbox), so make your next train trip a gourmet ride with these bento available at various JR stations—just waiting for you to buy, smile, and devour.
Let the fun begin!
Lunch-making parents in Japan have long been infusing their midday meals with fun characters designed to please the eye along with the taste buds. A common ingredient used for detail and decoration is the humble dried seaweed sheet called nori. The dark color makes it perfect for creating lines and patterns, and since it comes in a flat sheet you can cut out some fairly detailed shapes with a knife. If you quickly browse through some amazing character bento we’ve shared with you before, you’ll see the important role that seaweed plays in their design.
However, it’s not only good in a supporting role; world-renowned seaweed shop Kozen wants to elevate it to a star in the art world! Forget all the other ingredients you might find in a bento, “Nori Art” is all you need to turn your next meal into an unforgettable feast.
In just about every major train station in Japan, you’ll find a stand selling boxed lunches called ekiben. A combination of the words eki (“station”) and bento (“boxed lunch”), ekiben serve as a tasty, convenient meal for travelers to dine on as they watch the scenery slip by outside their window.
Given that trains are terrestrial transportation, and that Japan is an island nation, until now you’ve generally had to come to Japan in order to get your hands on authentic station bento. That’s changing soon, though, with the opening of an ekiben stand in a rail station in Paris.
Many foreigners who travel to Japan are relieved to find that it’s common for restaurants here to have a display window filled with plastic models of the food they serve, which is a huge help in getting around the language barrier. That’s not really why restaurants have them, though. After all, the potential number of foreign customers is a drop in the bucket compared to the native Japanese population that has no trouble reading the menu or placing an order.
The real reason for those plastic models is that they catch the eye and stimulate the appetite of passersby, be they foreign tourist, local resident, or adorable cat.
As we expect you already know, character lunch boxes or “chara-ben,” short for “character bento,” are all the rage in Japan. And their creators are rarely shy about sharing their awesome work, so you can find hundreds of examples of how to make lunch time more adorable on social media networks like Instagram and Twitter.
One of the biggest themes for chara-ben right now is Disney’s Tsum Tsum, a line of stuffed toys that has been adapted into a smartphone game by Line. There were so many great photos, we had to compile our favorite Tsum Tsum chara-ben shots from Instagram for you to check out. But don’t forget to grab a snack, because you’re definitely going to get hungry!
Maybe we’re just predisposed to thinking with our stomachs, but even with all the brightly colored pleated skirts and magical monster battles in Sailor Moon, we always find our attention drawn to the food that shows up in the hit anime series. So when we heard that the official Sailor Jupiter bento boxed lunch is now being offered by a Tokyo cafe, took a break from marathoning episodes of the magical girl saga to go and try it for ourselves.
The art of bento making is one that truly forces the creator to plan out every single move ahead. You can’t just plate and then decorate; you need a game-plan right from the start. Plus, it’s not just about presentation – the food has to taste good too. There are plenty of amazing bento artists in Japan (basically any creative mom) but the craft is slowly making its way off the island nation.
A passionate chef from Singapore has been wowing us with her creative and stunning bento that are practically too good-looking to eat. But, any good chef knows that we eat with our eyes first, which means we have been absolutely devouring her cute food.