Japan at its best
Wednesday July 30th 2014

Popular O-bento

This is a nostalgic photo from a company in Japan where everyone has a canteen-made obento lunch. More recently, the bento lunch has seen a comeback in popularity in Japan.

Companies Canteen
Company's Canteen

In April, this year, Japanese wages fell for an 11th month. This extended their longest losing streak in five years. So it seems that as the Japanese paychecks shrink and uncertainty over job security increases, the necessity to cut back on small daily expenses such as eating out at restaurants has meant the lunch box – ‘bento bako’ has regained its strength.

A simple but classic design
A simple but classic design

A Japanese homemade bento, typically contains rice, meat and vegetables. And the well-balanced bento is one that consists of rice to side dishes in a 1:1 ratio, and within the side dishes a 1:2 ratio of fish/meat to vegetables.The Japanese o-bento is also attractively arranged. I like that – after-all presentation should be important in consuming food.

Obento lunch has become popular again
Obento lunch has become popular again

The bento is typically wrapped in a furoshiki cloth, which acts as both bag and table mat.

The O-bento can come in many shapes, sizes and designs. Of course, the o-bento for a family concerned about the family’s finances is not the only reason for its comeback. The cute, caring and clever factors are all important too!

This o-bento takes a bit of work but portrays a special Japanese character called Rilakkuma – known as Relax Bear. He would certainly entice my kids to eat lunch regardless of the economic situation!

Rilakkuma Bento
Rilakkuma Bento

I also especially liked this Amazing Bento Food site – however I am not sure that making any of these creations would fit in with my busy lifestyle.

Link to Amazing Food Art Creations
Link to Amazing Food Art Creations
Its very festive! If you can be festive with rice that is!

Nevetheless, whatever the season the bento craze has become part of a wider trend and has prompted the best seller book on Japanese men’s lunch day meals – called simply ‘Food for Men’. “Danshi Gohan” (“Food for Men”) is the top-selling recipe book on Amazon.co.jp.

The above best seller, ‘Danshi Gohan’ is in the Japanese language but for English speakers there are also brilliant recipies to help you plan your bento daily. I like this one.

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