The Bento: the Japanese lunch box 弁当

The bento, the Japanese-style boxed meal

Compact, aesthetic, and healthy, the bento is the essential asset for a healthy and delicious lunch. The box containing a balanced meal can sometimes appear to be a real work of art.

Bento utensils


This practice also makes it possible to give life to the famous charaben, small characters animating even the dullest of bento! This work is often facilitated by the use of suitable utensils for creativity in preparation.

To give the eggs a unique twist, the use of a mold is a great option. Once cooked and peeled, the hard-boiled egg is placed in the mold and immersed in cold water. A few moments later, your egg will be transformed into a car, a cat, or even a chick.

The box itself, too, has an important character. It is called the bento bakô (bento box) and is always compartmentalized. It is traditionally in lacquered wood, but can also be ceramic, synthetic resin, plastic, or aluminum. Home-prepared bento boxes are usually wrapped in a furoshiki, a piece of fabric surrounding the lunch box to keep it warm.




Un bento Pikachu

Wikimedia Commons


Un petit bento avec légumes taillés

Flickr Gamene

Where to buy your bento box?


It is not rare today to be able to buy your bento at the konbini, in the supermarket, or the train stations before a long trip. The stations welcoming shinkansen are home to many specialty shops that offer unique and delicious boxed meals to enjoy on the train. Ekiben (eki for the station; ben for bento ) are often less sophisticated than those prepared at home, but the presentation of the meal is nonetheless neat and high quality, as is often the case in Japanese restaurants.




Vente de bento à emporter

Flickr Raisa H


Une forme originale pour une boite à bento

Flickr Peter Morville


Boite à bento en forme de panda

Flickr Melissa

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