Updated: August 31, 2018
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What Is a Japanese Bento & How To Make It?

Here's some information on how to make Japanese bentos, but first what are they? And if you're feeling lazy, here are where to buy some delicious ready-made ones. Especially if you're about the ride the shinkansen!

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What is a Japanese bento?

Restaurant_Bento_box
"Bento" simply means lunch box in Japanese, but Japan is really where it's at in terms of beautifully prepared bento boxes. In order to encourage their children to eat healthily, Japanese parents make fun to eat and cute bento boxes.
But bento boxes can also be bought at restaurants or at major stations across Japan before boarding the shinkansen.

How to make it

Bento_box_with_sandwich
In terms of cute Japanese bento boxes, Japan is definitely way advanced.
Homemade_Panda_bento_box
Here's how to make this cute panda box:

<Ingredients>
-white rice
-eggs
-cooked sausage
-nori sheets
-shiso leaf (if available)
-cooked carrot
-okra
-cookie/food cutter (this is available at ¥100 stores)

<Directions>
1. Shape the white rice into 2 onigiri balls.
2. Cut out the nori sheet to form the panda's face (this part is harder than it seems).
3. Cook the egg to make a tamagoyaki (fried egg), then cut it into 1-inch slices. You can use the shiso leaf as a separator between ingredients.
4. Take the cooked sausage and carrot and cut them into different shapes.
5. Cut the okra in 2 pieces.

Where to buy it ready-made

ekiben
I think there's nothing more exciting than browsing the "ekiben" ("eki" means station and "ben" is short for bento) at the station stores. There are so many original and delicious looking bentos to choose from. You get a nice and filling bento with a nice cold beer and hop on the train. There's really nothing more relaxing than eating on the train while enjoying the beautiful Japanese view.
Train-shaped_ekiben
This bento is aimed at children (I bought one on my way to Kyoto though). There are tons of different things to try, it's almost overwhelming.

Here's where to get bento boxes at Tokyo Station.
Some restos also offer them, such as this huge Japanese chain, HottoMotto.
Lili Wanderlust
I love travelling and discovering new cuisines. Japan has a panoply of local dishes to try. I also love yoga, coffee, reading, and cycling.

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