Part of speech: noun
Origin: Japanese, late 19th century
A lacquered or decorated wooden Japanese lunchbox.
A Japanese-style packed lunch, consisting of such items as rice, vegetables, and sashimi (raw fish with condiments).
Examples of Bento in a sentence
"Her bento collection was quite valuable, so she didn't use them for food."
"I usually order the bento lunch special on Mondays."
Popularity Over Time
If you’re a fan of Japanese food or culture, you’re likely familiar with bento, or a bento box. This is a Japanese word for either the lunchbox itself, or the specific arrangement of rice, vegetables, and sashimi that goes into a bento box. The meal was traditionally packed at home and carried to work or school, but you can now find grab-and-go versions available for purchase.
Did you Know?
Besides the type of food, bento is unique for its tidy arrangement, with food taking up every inch of available space. Modern versions of the bento also feature decorative and adorable elements. Imagine sushi that looks like a cat, and vegetables that look like a garden. The best bentos are attractive, convenient, and delicious.