An ekiben is a type of bento that is sold in train stations across Japan that travelers can eat on the train, particularly during long journeys. The word ekiben is a combination of the Japanese words eki, meaning 'station', and bento , which you may already know as being a Japanese lunch box. An ekiben is a type of bento that is sold in large train stations across Japan, ergo the name eki bento , or ekiben for short. These bento boxes are known for their delicious and high quality ingredients, often featuring regional specialties of a particular area.
For example, Tokyo offers many wonderful ekiben from some of the city's best shops, while places like Hokkaido offer an assortment of different seafood bentos, such as crabmeat, salmon roe, and rice-stuffed squid. There is a wide variety of different types of ekiben, but regardless of what you choose you can expect a range of delicious Japanese dishes presented in a manner that is both beautiful and easy to eat. Unlike food at a restaurant, the time between ekiben preparation and consumption can vary.
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However, ekiben are specifically prepared with this in mind, and are typically meant to be eaten on the train, without needing to be warmed up. Food safety is also top priority, and expiration dates and times are clearly listed on each box, so that you can eat without worry. A number of ekiben also come in unique packaging that you can save after use as a collector's item. One of the more popular reusable ekiben containers is shaped like a Japanese shinkansen, or bullet train. Others may feature popular characters from Japanese folklore, or even anime.
Regular or collectable ekiben are generally more expensive than a bento you would purchase in a convenience store or supermarket , but because of the high quality ingredients and time they save you before your trip, they are considered to be well worth the extra cost.
While there is some debate, many say that the origins of ekiben can be pinpointed to July 16, , when onigiri rice balls were sold at Utsunomiya Station in Tochigi Prefecture. These onigiri were a simple lunch, containing just rice and pickled daikon radish pressed together and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Since that time, ekiben began springing up in various train stations throughout Japan, offering a variety of dishes to suit the tastes of many hungry travellers.
What is it about ekiben that sets them apart from other bentos? The deliciousness of the food itself is certainly undeniable. However, the appeal of the ekiben is largely intangible. At the time that ekiben were first being sold, the ubiquitous convenience stores of today did not exist. An ekiben offered a rare chance for travelers to try specialty foods from other areas that were not available in their home prefecture. The consideration of ekiben as rare, small luxury items is still widely held today.
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Even in the wake of international supermarkets and online shopping, an ekiben is still considered a special treat, and something that people look forward to buying during their travels. When taking a long trip, passengers may be on the train for several hours at a time, which means that bringing food to eat on the train is a must.
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An ekiben is the perfect meal to eat in this situation and very convenient. Another great place to buy ekiben near the Tokyo Station is at the Daimaru Bldg. This one is outside of the station, near the North Yaesu Exit. This is a good place to buy your bento because it has a huge selection from a variety of small stores all on the same floor.
Here are some popular shops.
Granted, it's a little expensive but really worth it! Another well-liked bento shop is Hirashima. It specializes in sushi and anago, a salt water eel. The anagoni stewed eel shown above is a popular choice. Tokyo Station is a great spot to try lots of bento boxes with specialties from all over Japan. Next time you take the shinkansen from there, make sure get your ekiben before you leave!
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Getting A Ekiben At Tokyo Station
Lili Wanderlust. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties. Ginza Bairin - Ginza, Tokyo: Biting Into a Pound of Steak! Love it or Hate it: Highlights Fine Print Company Reviews. What We Like Great catering idea to add a little variety to your next function, party or event The choice is yours - pick up to five flavours from loads of different flavours to please the palate!
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Check out all the details by clicking on the 'Fine Print' tab above. Offer expires on 10 October We strongly encourage bookings to be made by 26 September If there are no available bookings after 26 September , simply contact our Customer Support Team before 10 October and you will be entitled to a full credit back to your account Bookings are absolutely essential at least 24 hours in advance and subject to availability Valid for pick-up only.
The Company. Eki Bento Whatley Crescent, Maylands Really enjoyed the dinner last night with my family members. Will come back again if this deal is available. Service is soooo nice, they all so polite and friendly.