While in Hawaii, an anonymous reader asked whether "no veggies" was typical of bento in Hawaii.
"Yes", is what I replied.
According to Wikipedia, bento in Hawaii started with the plantation days.
Since most sugar cane workers were mainly from Asia, rather than sandwiches for lunch, most would bring leftovers to share with each other and eat with some rice out in the fields.
Veggies were usually in the form of some type of pickle to withstand the heat of the day.
After the plantations closed up, bento could also be seen in the form of plate lunch and were served from lunch wagons (aka food trucks) to mainly laborers and construction workers.
A typical plate lunch in Hawaii would consist of a protein, macaroni salad and 2 scoops of rice.
Nowadays, almost any casual food establishment serves plate lunch and or bento.
Also these days, tossed salad is an option, as well as brown rice and mini-portions.
Though some places "penalize" you for choosing the "healthy choices"--tossed salad & brown rice by adding on an extra charge.
Bento in Japan is no different, there are many bento that do not serve veggies, just a lot of fried items, some pickles and white rice.
Those that do include veggies have simmered/cooked types like nishime.
Other items are either cooked or fried to prevent the foods from spoiling.
These days, more creativity and more colorful foods are being used.
Black rice or purple rice can be seen more readily in Japan these days too.
I think the word "bento" is always evolving. It is definitely becoming a household word all over the world.
Each country & household making their "bento" their own...definitely a good thing.
It's Friday here, hope you have a nice weekend!