All in One

-Samridhi Goyal

Want to eat a delicious lunch? That too out of a box? We tell you how.

Looks matter
Food is about two things, taste, and presentation. If food looks good that is half the battle won. It attracts people to itself increasing their appetite. In the Japanese style lunch box. i.e., the bento, there are two ways of doing it. One is kyarben, or character bento, which is typically designed to look like characters from Japanese cartoons (anime), comic books (manga), and video games. Another popular style is oekaiben, or picture bento, in which lunches are decorated to look like people, animals, buildings, and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. Elaborately designed bento shows higher status.

Japanese and Korean lunch boxes
A typical bento uses very little oil, making it a favorite of health conscious people, and it can be served cold as well if you don’t want to take the hassle of heating it. The most common and popular bento style is makunochi, which consists of plain rice, prawn, butter fried fish or fish cutlet, chicken teriyaki, deep fried tofu or meatball simmered in shiru stock flavored with sage, soy sauce, and sweetening. In addition, it includes boiled carrot, radish, green beans, and vinegared vegetables dressed with sesame. Rice is accompanied by dried plum fruit. All meals have a soybean based miso soup, a sweet Japanese soy sauce, and a sweet and spicy horseradish flavored wasabi paste as sides. Japanese food is an acquired taste and takes patience.

Korean bento boxes are known as doisrak. They have a soup which has fish sauce and boiled radish. It has a unique flavor. Kimchi is basically fermented vegetables such as radish, cucumber, and cabbage enhanced with seasonings such as red chilly power, ginger, salt to taste, and so on. The main doisrak is pork barbecue doisrak, which has coleslaw, rice, sweetened fried potato, sauted green vegetable, fried mushroom, egg roll, seasoned mung bean sprouts, seasoned radish, cucumber, and pork barbecue.

Where to eat
There are a number of restaurants serving Japanese food in Nepal. Koto, in the heart of the city, Durbarmag, is one such place. Momotraou is another one which specializes in Japanese cuisine. The best among the lot is Hotel Kido’s Tamura Restaurant, in Thapathali. The ambience, decor, and seating are all very Japanese. The manager is very helpful and will guide you through the intricacies of the cuisine. Picnic Restaurant in Thamel does Korean lunch boxes. Hidden away in a little alley in Thamel, don’t let its size fool you for they have delicious fare.

Food in workplace
For working professionals, lunch is the most hurried meal of the day. So much so, that they often buy junk food such as burgers and fries and gulps them down without realizing how harmful they are to the body. Often, without variety, food tends to get monotonous, and this lead to a dislike for the meal itself. Thus, a bento is the ideal solution for them as it gives you a chance to explore different variations and combinations of food within a set framework. Being low on fats and other harmful substances, it is a healthy option especially for those who want to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Dream lunch box

Nikesh Ghimire: I don’t have specific demands for lunch as long as the food is hot and nutritious.
Ashish Rajbhandari: I don’t have much time during lunch, so I prefer something quick to eat such as a plate of momo.
Shyam Dev: I eat to live and try to eat a balanced, nutritious diet, hence I prefer to eat fruits for freshness and energy.
Tsering Sherpa: Choila and spaghetti with copious amount of sauce is what my dream lunch would be.
Kushal Goyal:
Caviar, truffles, and a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon.

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