Bento lunch boxes are very popular among Japanese kids and adults alike. People take them to school, to work, on picnics, and so on.
Half of a typical Japanese bento box consists of rice, and the other half consists of several side dishes made with such ingredients as meat, vegetables, fish, and eggs. This format permits for infinite variations. The most common side dish is some sort of cooked egg, such as tamagoyaki (omelette strips cooked typically with sugar and salt), scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and omelettes with various ingredients. Another perennial bento favorite is sausage.
Moms sometimes make little cuts in the sausage to make it look like an octopus or other animal, adding to the fun of the meal.
Other popular items include fried meat, grilled fish, fish cake, and vegetables of various kinds. The vegetables may be pickled, steamed or boiled; cooked vegetables are used more often than fresh ones. For dessert, there might be a tangerine or apple.
One long-standing staple of bento is a pickled Japanese apricot, or umeboshi. This traditional food, believed to overcome rice from going bad, may be placed inside a rice ball or on top of a bed of rice.
Person who prepares the bento lunchbox, such as the mother, many times prepares the bento lunch boxes as she is cooking the side dishes for the family’s daily basis meals. She considers according to Japanese lunch boxes trends, which dishes would not go bad so quickly and sets a part of these aside for the following day’s bento.
Japanese people attach huge importance to the appearance of their food. Part of the fun of making a lunchbox is creating a visually appealing arrangement that will whet the appetite.
One of most commonly used traditional kind of bento box trends is the hangetsu (half moon) style container.
Another is the chabako (a tea box) bento.
Tea box is a vessel for storing the implements needed in an open-air tea ceremony, and this kind of bento uses the chabako as the container. There is the Shokado bento, inspired by the partitioned paint boxes that Shokado Shojo, a painter and monk of the early Edo or Tokugawa period, used regularly. The food that goes inside these boxes varies according to the occasion and the season, but the food is beautiful to look at as well as delicious to taste.
How to Prepare Japanese style Bento Box:
Since bento boxes are mainly eaten some time after they have been prepared, cooked foods have to be nicely done to overcome changes in the colour or flavour. Items that go bad easily are not used, and surplus liquid is removed before placing the food in a bento box.
Another essential consideration in packing bento is visual presentation. To make sure that the food will make a good overall impression when the eater opens the lid, the preparer should choose an attractively coloured assortment of foods and arrange them in a way that looks appetizing.
Basically a well-balanced bento box consists of rice and side dishes in a 1:1 ratio. The ratio of meat or fish dishes to vegetables should be 1:2.
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