Jul 5, 2018
Living in Japan, chances are that we will be in at least several situations a year that we have to get a bento or be served one. Be it some ceremonial event, work-related meeting, getting onto the shinkansen, school lunch canceled due to the typhoon, or even just that there are no better options around than the bentos nearby. I see why bentos are attractive: they look colourful, the foods are balanced, you have different flavours in one single box, and probably most importantly, they are convenient. However, I do also have my reasons for not liking them.
1. Cold rice
This is probably my top reason. While I love sushi and the occasional onigiri, I generally despise cold white rice. I like my rice served hot. Rice cookers have the keep-warm function for a good reason. The moisture and sweetness are just not there when the rice is cold. Not to mention, you are likely eating some greasy food in the bento with the rice, so the cold rice definitely do not go as well as hot rice would.
2. Gimme more of that
On the other hand, there are certain things I really like in the bento, like the grilled chicken or the fried shrimp. But getting a single slice of chicken is a bit sad when I am a fan of it, and I don't really need the grilled fish next to it. Sure, it might lose the point of the balanced meal and the variety, but sometimes I do just want more of the certain something in the bento.
3. Plastic, plastic, plastic...
This isn't necessarily a food reason, but you probably know of the insane amount of garbage that comes with each single bento. The plastic tray itself is to be tossed out when you're done, but if you had some soysauce for the fish, that came with garbage. Every little paper tray for each little side dish was extra trash. And what I realized is, the fancy the bento is, the more garbage it generates. The world shouldn't be paying for our bentos.
I do appreciate a good bento once in a while, but as I chow down on the food, I just can't ignore the issues I have with bentos.