we experienced a lot of good food in japan, not least of all the lunch boxes that ranged from simple breakfasts to elaborate works of art to be consumed on the bullet train. there was so much care put into arranging each one and so many different flavours to choose from.. and (usually) very reasonably priced! this bento was about 1,270 yen (around $15 usd). the ones you can get at convenience stores for breakfast look a bit less exciting, but the price matches at 200-600 yen ($2.50-7.50 usd). ever since i can remember, people have been telling me that japan is a very expensive place to visit. but compared to copenhagen, most things are a bargain! we walked away from most of our meals with very reasonable receipts.
upon returning home, my husband announced that he would like to try bentos for his own lunch. although some wives would have rolled their eyes at the prospect of an added workload, i was stoked! his health has deteriorated during the year and i have been bugging him to let me pack a lunch he can take to work. normally he will eat a shawarma or sandwich from a shop nearby; not the healthiest or cheapest way to go about things. pictured above is the latest one i've made for him; (canned) tuna rolls, soy sauce packet, tofu patties and a bear-ful of tonkatsu sauce, potatoes and carrots cooked in indonesian soup, and a clementine.
after a week of bentos, what's the verdict? he loves it! the convenience of not having to worry about what to eat today or when is a good time to take a break to go buy it, coupled with the money saved makes it a no-brainer. plus it gets him to eat a couple more vegetables than he normally would, and eat more rice and less wheat. i pack a lunch for myself anyway, so it's not really so much extra work for me. the only problem is that he has a fridge but no microwave at work, so i have to plan a meal that will be enjoyable (and safe!) to eat cold. over the weekend i invested in the project by buying a 20kg bag of japanese rice.. for 400kr!! omg. my mom will probably scream when she reads this. japanese and korean products are not widely available (or inexpensive..) in copenhagen, so once my stock of items from 100 yen shops has run out, it will take a bit more creativity to blend elements of the danish madpakke with the japanese bento and korean doshirak.