Bentos, packed lunches consisting of several compartments filled with rice and other delicacies, are now very popular not only in Japan. While lovers abroad have to make their own bento, in Japan you can buy them ready-made in many supermarkets. However, it is often disposable packaging that is disposed of after a meal.
So ready-made boxes are considered delicious food, but they also have the drawback of not being eco-friendly. That is why more and more companies are looking for alternatives to the well-known disposable packaging.
Mini-Bentos Ohne Plastic
A Shizuoka-based company now wants to establish itself in the country with its solution. The manufacturer has been with success since the Ansei era (1615 – 1868), based on continuous development and breaking new ground. The so-called Oniben should now prevail as a less plastic version.
Oniben is derived from the words “onigiri” (rice ball) and “bento”. The advantage of the new proposal is that plastic bowls are replaced with bowls made of rice, which you can eat later, and plastic is largely avoided. The company is thus implementing a new law that went into effect in Japan earlier this year and aims to reduce the use of single-use plastics. Although the Oniben is still shrink-wrapped in plastic, it doesn’t compare to traditional bentos shells. On the other hand, disposable chopsticks are completely eliminated. Mini bentos are split so that they fit snugly in one hand.
Pacun Makkan BBQ on Hand
Oniben comes in two different flavors, including curry, grilled mackerel, yakisoba, and fried shrimp. The five mini-bentos were made in collaboration with the comedy duo Pakkun Makkan. The collaboration came about when Pakun Makkun performed in Shizuoka and the traditional history of the maker became apparent. With Pakun Makkan both the comedians can look forward to their respective tastes. This is a BBQ version with Manila clams because one of the comedians is from Colorado. His homeland should be taken into account with Oniben.
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Onibens cannot replace a complete meal like the original bentos. With prices ranging between 250 yen and 500 yen (around 1.80 euros – 3.60 euros), you can easily choose between several flavours. In terms of price, you fall into the category of popular supermarket bentos. As of now, Onibens are not available in store in Hamamatsu.