People want to branch out with their culinary experiences these days, and the principles of fresh, seasonal ingredients paired with the simple cooking methods of Japanese cuisine have been going down a storm here in France. And there's no better way to enjoy it all than with a bento box.
What's not to love about these traditional Japanese bundles? They're healthy, convenient and packed full of our favourite things. From NeoBento 3ème's vegetarian version, to Sushiman's traditional take and the handful of options to explore at Obento, find your new lunchbox today.
The earliest mention of the bento can be traced back to around the 16th century. Taking tea has always been a lavish affair in Japan, so rather than take up valuable space at the table during one of their tea parties, people started to use wooden boxes to store their food separately.
By the 17th century, this bento culture had evolved, and its popularity spread across the country. Instead of just using them for parties, travellers and tourists alike began to tie their bento boxes around their waists while travelling. This was named the koshibentō, and meant food could be enjoyed in a more convenient way while on the move – you might say that bento was the original takeaway.
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Bentos come in all shapes, sizes and designs, and you'll find them bundling in anything from seafood, to soup and sushi. And we think it's this freedom that makes the bento so popular across the globe. Vegetarians, gluten-free-ers, vegans, picky eaters and carnivores alike will find something to love in these boxed up wonders.
While we're more concerned with what's inside, the bento box itself is super important in Japanese culture. Some aficionados have turned this dish into a fine art – on the streets of Japan, you'll find plenty of intricately decorated bento with whimsical patterns and designs, and there are even competitions where people can pit their bento-making skills against one another. This is called kyaraben, or 'character bento', and brings a bit more fun to your lunchbreak.
For loads of traditional bento favourites, Obento is the place for you. From Chicken Teryaki and Tonkatsu to Ebikatsu and Yakitori, you'll find all sorts of Japanese classics here. We love the Agesamon, where delicate grilled salmon is served up with a wholesome mix of fluffy rice, crunchy cabbage salad and fresh sushi.
Vegetarians can get in on the bento box fun too with NeoBento 3ème's offerings. The Bento Végé packs in tofu, rice onigiri, green kawaii and a zingy Oshinko salad. And for a box bursting with tempura shrimp, Sushiman is the place for you.
Have you got bento boxes on the brain? Have one delivered straight to your door or desk here on Deliveroo.