Bento (弁当, bentō?) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋, bentō-ya?), train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend time and energy for their spouse, child, or themselves producing a carefully prepared lunch box.
Bento can be very elaborately arranged in a style called kyaraben or “character bento”. Kyaraben is typically decorated to look like popular Japanese cartoon characters (anime), characters from comic books (manga), or video game characters. Another popular bento style is “oekakiben” or “picture bento”, which is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. Contests are often held where bento arrangers compete for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements.
Locally Sonoma Bento practices Kyaraben. It’s particularly fun for children’s lunch boxes or just to brighten up the lunch of anyone who is brown-bagging.
“Sonoma Bento, locally sourced and farm fresh, bento box ideas that are just plain fun.
Sonoma Bento lives, works, cooks, and plays in Sonoma County. Our year-round farmers markets make it easy and fun to eat healthy, seasonal food”