My two Canadian friends visited me for two wonderful, activity filled weeks! We went to Abunai!con, visited several cities in the Netherlands and Germany, ate out plenty and walked a shitton overall. We bought many things (and I received many awesome gifts!), but right now I want to talk about something else.
You may or may not be familiar with them, but in a short explanation, they are Japanese lunch boxes. With lunch! While a bento can have any food in it, the traditional Japanese style lunch generally has rice + meat + a side of veggies + a side of extra proteins in it, which makes for a pretty balanced meal. The Japanese are very skilled at cute, and you will find many adorable lunches that don’t just taste good, but look pretty dang amazing too.
My friend bought me a bento box with accessories at the con, and I have been throwing myself at online blogs and recipes to find things I like for it. My palette doesn’t enjoy a lot of vegetables that brighten up a box, and I don’t take well to sushi (that is, the vinegar and sugar they use in the rice puts me off really badly!) so I find myself improvising and compromising a lot, sometimes bastardizing traditional Japanese food for a variation I will eat.
Today I went to the dollar store and found a bunch of cupcake molds that will fit okay in the box, to help decorate it more nicely and keep my food separated. That should be useful! Other than that I’m just enjoying delicious, portable lunches. 🙂
(There was a lack of nori (dried seaweed sheets) in my life, so I substituted spinach for the rice balls. Which is weird, but it works! Sort of.)
I’m considering some mini hamburgers this week, but my main meat is likely going to be variations on chicken (grilled and fried, as shown above) for a long time. I have a lot of strawberries I need to power through, so I keep adding them to the box. I have two sauce cups, and I may bring dressing for the salad in the future besides sauce for the chicken! Nomomom.
The bento box and accessories are from MonBento, a French company. I’m very pleased with their products and customer service even though they’re the first and only brand I’ve gotten bento products from. 🙂 I had a question about one of the food cups I got and they responded within a day. Their boxes come with lids and are microwave safe, meaning that you can reheat food if you want to and have a microwave available. The molds I got are also oven safe, allowing me to straight up bake meals in the cups that will fit and are the right portion off the bat. Super convenient! And see those chopsticks? They’re portable too, you pull out the gray pieces, which reveal the other white halves you can click into the gray pieces. Full size chopsticks, like magic!
Have you ever made bentos? What is your favorite recipe? Do you stick to the traditional Japanese style bento, or do you throw in whatever you have on hand? 🙂