bentö (box)


A lunch box. The term bento refers to a light meal served in a portable container, usually a compartmented lacquer box. The first bentos were created by tea masters who took the multi-tray arrangement of kaiseki and adapted it into a portable form. In the process they created another fixed style of dining. They are usually used for lunches. There are many types of bento, the best known of which is probably the ekiben, in which local regional produce of very high quality predominates, and which are sold at 5,000 railway stations throughout Japan. It is said that as many as 12,000,000 are sold daily.