'bento' on Serious Eats

Cook the Book: Miso Tofu Nuggets with Edamame

These Miso Tofu Nuggets with Edamame are perfect bento material—crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside croquettes of tofu mixed with big, umami flavors. The tofu is whipped together with ginger, miso, sesame oil, scallions, and edamame, forming a salty, custardy batter that's dipped in cornstarch then shallow-fried. More

Cook the Book: 'The Just Bento Cookbook'

Makiko Itoh, friend of SE and mastermind behind Japanese food blog Just Hungry has a passion for the boxed lunches known in Japan as bento. She's been blogging about the subject over at Just Bento since 2007, championing the bento as a tool for healthy, delicious, and affordable eating, making a good case for why a bento lunch is way more satisfying than brown-bagging it. Enter to win a copy of The Just Bento Cookbook, Itoh's newly released guide to all things bento. More

London's Cool New Breakfast: Bento

Seems like some London hotels are moving away from the traditional full English or continental breakfast and offering something new (at least to Western diners): Japanese bento breakfasts. The move, hoteliers hope, will increase bookings for the first meal of the day, as curious eaters may be likely to try something new. We all know that serious eaters are more adventurous than most, so what's the most outside-the-norm (for you) breakfast you've tried? More

Santa-themed Character Bento

[Photograph: bigdaikon.com] "These people hate Japan, bentos, especially charaben, and kids. They are English teachers in Japan. Surprising—not." http://bit.ly/7ZrCfk —@makiwi, referring to the forum this image was posted on There's some ugly sentiment in the discussion that Makiko Itoh (of Just Bento) links to in that tweet, but the Christmas-themed bento photo posted there is undeniably great. An Old Saint Nick made from rice, a hot dog reindeer, some other stuff I can't identify (is that an egg snowman?). What's not to love about this Japanese character bento (aka charaben)?... More

Photo of the Day: Bento, No Box

Curiosly Ravenous has a shot of what's essentially a bento set meal, minus the box. It's austerely and elegantly Japanese in its own right. Here you see "shiozake (salted salmon), asparagus in dashi broth with egg, and steamed rice topped with furikake (rice seasoning)." Be sure to click through to Curiously Ravenous for the salmon recipe.... More

The 2008 Sanrio Character Bento Grand Prix

Too cute to eat: The winners of the second Sanrio Character Bento Grand Prix 2008 were announced last week, with the top prize given to "Tenorikuma's Exciting Lunch Box" (pictured, center). Two Silver Charabenist (an amalgamation of "character" and "bento") awards were handed to the cutesy "Best Friend" set and the carblicious "How Do You Feel About a Bread Lunch?" set. Truth be told, all of the winning entries were way too cute and creative to herald a clear victory, if you ask me. [via Watashi to Tokyo]... More

Photo of the Day: Blue Rolls Bento

I like sushi. I like the color blue. I might even like blue sushi, but I have a feeling it's not something you can get at your local sushi bar. Can anyone make me a blue sushi bento box? Roy's girlfriend Reiko made one for him! Be sure to check out the rest of her intricate bento box creations. That's real love.... More

Food Safety for Packed Lunches

Great tips on food safety for packed lunches, for those of you who bring your own food to work or pack lunches for others. I work from home and usually pick lunch up while I'm out walking my dog, or have something delivered, but I totally have packed lunch envy. [via YumSugar]... More

Budget Bento Ideas

Flickr's Bento Boxes group has a great thread on budget bento ideas, well worth reading if you regularly pack lunches for yourself or for your kids, whether or not they're bento. This tip is pretty nice, especially in this age of hugely oversized meals: "Bento are small - learn to only buy what you need. I actually have saved money on food because I just don't eat as much."... More

Year of the Pig Bento

Cooking Cute made this amazing Year of the Pig bento the other day: "salmon-rice sushi shaped like little piggies, hotdog flowers with carrot-star centers, kamaboko fans, tricolor swirled sushi made from three flavors of sticky rice, sweet sticky rice flowers, pig-shaped spam nigiri, and a pig-shaped egg." Someone please make me one of these for lunch today? Thanks!... More

Make Your Own Onigiri

If you liked the look of the bento boxes we featured last week and are thinking about making your first foray into making one for yourself, Maki Itoh wrote two posts recently that should help you get started on making onigiri, the rice balls that are a classic in bento box lunches: Onigiri (Omusubi) revisited: An easier way to make Japanese rice balls, step by step and More about onigiri: keeping them fresh and more.... More

Bento Boxes on Flickr

Looking at Flickr's bento boxes group, with its thousands upon thousands of photos of neatly arranged, self-packed and often incredibly cute lunches, has got to be one of my favorite ways to start the week. Even the dreariest Monday is somehow easier to face when you know there are people in the world making crabs out of hotdogs and Ms Pacman out of egg and seaweed. (The Totoro dust mote-shaped onigiri in the photo at right almost make me wish I had to go into an office every day, just so I'd have an excuse to make them!)... More

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