What’s in a Bento?

In a place like our Lynnwood Japanese restaurant, a “bento” generally describes a good, square meal in a good, rectangular tray with compartments for your rice, your meat, your salad, and your soup. You might order one of these like you would order a combo meal at a fast food chain. They’re attractive in their simplicity, but did you know that the idea of a bento carries a weighty cultural significance in Japan?

For much of Japan, a bento is the daily lunch experience. It’s the lunch box that children take to school, the box that professionals take to work, or, indeed, the box they order at a restaurant. A lot of pride and attention goes into the presentation of these lunches. Meals are laboriously planned to look both attractive and delicious, then bundled up with a set of chopsticks tied on top. For mothers, it’s a way to show how much they care for their children. For wives, it’s a way to show how much they love their husbands. In more old-fashioned circles, girls might prepare bentos for boys in order to win their attentions. Competition rises, passions clash, and people obsess over making sure that their bentos are the best bentos at the lunch table.

Some on down for lunch at Wild Wasabi and try out one of our bento boxes. We promise you all of the satisfaction of a real Japanese bento, with none of the drama!