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Bento lunch boxes

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A Bento, nowadays

Akazuki – The Japanese Goods Shop offers many different styles and sizes of bentos from which to choose.

A “bento” is a multi-layered box made of plastic, metal or lacquered wood, and divided into several compartments.  They are most commonly used to carry food and snacks by people-on-the-go.

Bentos are superior to traditional “brown bags”, Tupperware and lunch boxes because of the increased pleasure that people get from eating food from a bento, as well as creating a better awareness of eating healthy foods. Its practical size has made it well-known around the world. There are even restaurants in Europe and the USA that serve their famous dishes in these stylish boxes, also called “bento bako”.  

When choosing a bento, the design is very important but don’t forget to check the capacity. Of course, there are different sizes of bento lunch boxes for different types of appetite.

When choosing a bento, consider the healthful aspects. Bentos are usually compartmentalized into a balance meal. Although, it is easy to just put in yesterday’s dinner, the box being beautiful, it will increase the awareness of your food and will assist you in getting the proper balanced meal, and thus your overall enjoyment of what you are eating.

In Japan, bentos are usually compartmentalized into a balance of 40% rice (or other starchy food), 30% proteins, such as fish or meat, 20% vegetables and 10% tsukemono (pickled vegetables) which can be substituted by fruits or dessert.

Many people use a bento as a means of creating “food-art, using their imagination and putting some creativity into the presentation of the food inside.  They take pride in opening their bento for their meal at school, the office, or picnic.

Have leftovers?  Bentos are ideal for leftovers!

Akazuki Bentos are are re-usable and ecological because they last for years. There are also re-usable accessories like cutlery, sauce containers, and cups made from plastic or silicon. 

A Bento, history and stories

Where does the bento come from?

The bento was developed around the twelfth century as the Japanese practice of carrying their food in a compartmentalized “bento” became popular. Initially, containing rice and dried fish, the bento was designed to store their food and transport it easily. Later, as food tastes changed, vinegary rice balls, called onigiri, were added to the o-bento.

These meals were mainly made by wives or mothers. Which Japanese do not remember their mother getting up at dawn to prepare the bento? Any Japanese could testify that as children, they were waiting all morning to finally open the box that their mother had prepared with care, forbidding them to open the bento before lunch time.

The typical bento story could be: The bento is given every morning and is open only at noon. "Itadakimasu!" All together, Japanese schoolboys wish a ‘bon appétit’ to everybody. While the green pepper (disliked by most of the Japanese children) was placed in a compartment of the lunchbox, it is alright to eat, because it is so well presented. But not all the students have got a bento made by their mothers. The group without bentos looks timidly at the group with home-made bentos, hiding their own lunches behind their textbooks. Those who stay take out their instant noodles or their bento bought from the konbini, a convenient store .The two groups look at each other jealously. One envies the box made at home, while the other looks at the box from a konbini which he has never the right to get. Then the trade begins. Some exchange a piece of their bento with a friends’, often the closest comrades, while others try to fill their boxes with food bought at the convenience store.

The trick of eating a bento hidden behind the textbook during morning class has become a classic in the Japanese literature and manga.

In Japan, the bento is a gift you show. Whether at the sport festival (undôkai), or hanami (picnic under the cherry trees in spring), there are many opportunities for mothers to compete with each other. Not only fashion but also the presentation plays an important role and the lunch box is not an exception to the rule. For Japanese, a home prepared bento can also contain a message, a thought. Japanese girls prepare bento for their loved one, hoping that he will eat it well and say “gochisousamadeshita” (thank you for the fest), rather than saying “I love you" or giving a kiss.

Today we see many more bento in the streets than before. These can be found in any supermarket to takeaway. Specialized stores are spreading, and big train stations sell passengers bentos containing the local specialties. Workers and students are buying them on their way home. This is a revolution in the history of bento, which had traditionally been made in the kitchen to accompany the trip, but now we go home with. In Japan, frozen or can food is rarely eaten as it is easy to find delicious fresh bento around the corner.

A big change seen lately in Japan is the emergence of Danshi bento. Often, now, men prepare their own bento. It now comes out of the women typical framework. Everyone can prepare lunch and spend less, while taking care of their diet. In short, enjoy cooking, playing with colors, and why not, as in Japan, offer these little boxes to those you love.

 

A lunch in a cute box

Cute...For kids...Good quality...Good price...The lunchbox you were looking for are here!

Japanese lunch box from Japan

Tired of eating sandwiches for lunch? Tired of carrying your lunch in a paper or a plastic bag? Bento (弁当) is a Japanese term that refers to a meal contained in a box. Used to eat on-the-go, your lunch will look great in this lunch box.

This small and convenient box is usually used for lunch. In Japan, kids and office workers (called salary men here) bring their bento lunch box to be able to have a quick but healthy lunch (yes, it's possible!). The Japanese bento lunch boxes are almost always prepared at home and show great inventiveness. They have to be a real pleasure for the mouth of course but also for the eyes. Lately, bentos have become popular all around the world and one might wonder why.

First of all, the box itself is always nicely designed and original. Many people started to use Japanese lunch box to lose weight as it's quite easy to control the amount of food and the meal they make is made with healthy food. The number of blogs showing how to prepare a well-balanced and good-looking lunch box is quite impressive. Of course if you want to put sausages with mayonnaise or yesterday’s leftover’s pasta, it's up to you!! We have chosen for you a selection of popular bento lunch boxes in Japan. Just remember, there are different sizes, different features for each bento, so make sure to read well all the information provided!

Finally, we would like to reassure everyone and especially every parent. All our Japanese lunch boxes, bento are Bisphenol A (BPA) free.