Friday, September 21, 2012

bento vs bento

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!


K said...

I love the purple color of that rice!

Kim said...

Hey Kat! Stupid question but, are bento lunches in Japan eaten cold or room temperature? I know in the states, moms who pack their kids bento lunches say they're hardly ever heated up. Don't know if I can do cold rice and meat. Lol

K and S said...

me too, K!

I think room temp Kim :)

Take care you two.

KirkK said...

Hey Kat - Very nice, I recently had to write an article about bento.

K and S said...

ooh, when it comes out send me a link, would love to read it Kirk!

Take care.

Dennis K. said...

Yeah if I see any leafy lettuce it's usually used as a divider! haha. Though I occasionally see a cherry tomato maybe for color as well.

K and S said...

lol yeah the leaf of lettuce and cherry tomato, classic, Dennis!

Take care.

Rowena said...

This made me laugh!

Regarding your 2 sentences
[It is definitely becoming a household word all over the world.
Each country & household making their "bento" their own...definitely a good thing.

I first started out putting MotH's lunches (rice salad, pasta salad, etc.) in a flat, rectangular, covered container and he was happy with his "bento". Then I started making bagelsandwiches and other things that only required a small square container with higher sides. Well those are still "bento" to him. I could throw chips and an apple in a paper bag and it would still be bento! Bento = home lunch and not crappy food at the company cafeteria. Too funny!

K and S said...

glad to make you smile, Rowena :)

Take care.