Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the United Kingdom version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points

What is a Bento?

The bento format is flexible to include any food you like – Sara Kiyo Popowa looks at its Japanese origin and what makes a bento

The food

A bento is based on the Japanese everyday meal. That is, rice bowl in one hand, eating it chopstickful by chopstickful together with bites of many small dishes, served in many small bowls. Each dish is made to taste, look and feel different, while still complementing each other and the rice. The very simplest example is one bowl each of rice, miso soup, grilled vegetables and pickles to eat with the rice. Even though there are a few elements, each can be made very simply (and often appreciating the natural form and flavour of each main ingredient). But, as you may have guessed – there’s a lot of washing up!

A bento is the boxed-up version of this way of eating. Rice, yes, because it is the Japanese (and Asian) backbone, and many small dishes, yes, because that is how the rice is made interesting to eat. Food history tells us that while my ancestors were hard at work harvesting crops from the land, grains were the overwhelming bulk of their diet. Other dishes would have been accents, treats of whatever was available at the time.

The way of packing

So, we have rice, we have small dishes. Now is it a bento? Almost there – we need to pack it in a box (more about the box itself soon), another thing that makes it a bento! In Japan, visual presentation is very important, in food and in culture in general. As with many other activities, packing bento is rooted in practicality and blossoms in attraction.

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Vegan Food & Living Magazine - Feb 2019
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - Feb 2019
Or 499 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only £ 2.33 per issue
Was £40.99
Now £27.99
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only £ 2.99 per issue
Was £3.99
Now £2.99

View Issues

About Vegan Food & Living Magazine

In the mood for a warming one pot? We've got plenty of delicious vegan options waiting for you in the February issue of Vegan Food & Living. Also this issue, we reveal how to take your new lifestyle into February and beyond for anyone who has been doing Veganuary, plus we show you how Bento boxes can transform your lunches. If that's not enough, you can discover how to reduce your food waste, uncover the truth behind the B vitamins and whip up a Friday night fakeaway. Plus check out the hot new vegan fabrics set to hit the high street and explore the common misconceptions of being vegan.