Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bento Daisuki

Today my boyfriend packed me my favourite bento. Miso-mayo steamed salmon (I will post the recipe for this soon), rice with goma shio furikake (black sesame and salt seasoning) and mixed salad bento complete with a sweet little message cut out of seaweed on top.
I should tell you, I have a small addiction to Japanese bento. I just love them! They are perhaps, one on my most favourite things in life. I love everything about them, the special feeling you get when you see your pretty furoshiki (bento napkin) tied around your bento peeking out of the fridge, the healthy ingredients in mini-me portions, the layout and composition of the ingredients (oh dear I am still talking like a designer even when talking about food eek!)...I spend an unnatural amount of time thinking about, reading about, cooking or eating bento.

The first thing I do upon arrival in Tokyo is take myself off to LoFT, Tokyu-hands or famous Japanese 100Yen store Daiso to stock up on Bento supplies. Think polka dot and gingham patty papers, pink and canary yellow faux grass dividers, flagged toothpicks and oshibori's (KFC style wet wipes).

On my most recent trip I picked up a black metallic hologram bento (Sharon calls it my 'bling bento' or my 'star wars bento'), a love heart shaped bento, a set of polka-dot hashi (chopsticks), and lots of pretty Furoshiki. There were of course, also a few fun bento tools thrown in for good measure. Alphabet cutters to write messages in things like ham and cheese and a nori (seaweed) cutter to give onigiri (rice ball) little onigiri men faces. Clearly just the 'essentials'.

Back home, I like to visit Just Bento . The author Maki, dedicated beyond belief, has even created The Weekly Bento Planner for the serious bento maker. (I promise you I have not taken things that far yet).

Lunch in a box is another goodie. Now this is one organised bento blogger! Taking a peek inside her pantry, I think perhaps our friend Martha Stewart might be an inspiration!

Lately I have been sourcing bento recipes from some beautiful Orange page bento magazines purchased on my last Tokyo trip. However, it takes me a few nights, armed with Japanese dictionary and Kanji dictionary to translate just one recipe!

You might be aware of the 'five colour rule' that each bento should contain at least five colours, however recently that I discovered the ideal bento should be constructed according to five sets of five rules! These are:

* Goshiki (five colors): aka(red); kiiro (yellow); ao (green); kuro (black); shiro (white).

* Goho (five methods): niru (simmer); musu (steam); yaku (grill); ageru (fry); tsukuru (create).

* Gomi (five flavors): shiokarai (salty); suppai (sour); amai (sweet); Nigai (bitter); karai (spicy).

* Gokan (five senses): miru (sight); kiku (hearing); kaku (smell); ajiwau (taste); fureru (touch).

* Gokan no mon (five viewpoints or outlooks): a set of Buddhist principles on the appropriate state of mind when consuming food.

For more information about the above 'five sets of five rules' please click here.

Some colour-coded recipes to help you adhere to the five colour rule! Ganbatte! (Good luck!)

For more bento reading please click here, here, here and here. And some other bento sites you might like to swing past if you are thinking of making your cutie a bento lunch are: Cooking Cute, Kawaii Kiki, Bento Bento , and Bento Business.



  1. You are a bento addict, Ebo-chan! But all sounds tres delicieux. Can't wait for our bento picnic now! EJ x

  2. Its true Emma Japan! And you aren't that far behind! ha ha ha! yay! I can't wait either! xxx

  3. you are so cute! i want a bento box made my ebony... airmail express delivery! xo

  4. Ow if it would stay fresh I would totally make for you every day cute little Melanie! I would love to! Next time you are in town let's have a bento picnic! I can't wait to meet you in real life - though I feel like I already have!

  5. Hmmm I lurve bento, but I think sticking to those rules might be beyond me!!

    PS Found you from Hiki's blog!!

  6. Bento seems so amazing and delicious I wish I could try some. Dx