understand japan

The best readymeal you'll ever eat

The best readymeal you'll ever eat
The amazing station bento, or 'ekiben', is the stuff of travellers dreams, don't you dare ride a train without buying one!

You’ve ridden on your first Bullet Train with your Japan Rail Pass and think you’ve got this Shinkansen-riding down. Well it’s not over yet, let me introduced you to the world of station food.

No, I’ve not gone momentarily crazy, Japanese stations, especially those that service the Shinkansen, have some of the most amazingly delicious, beautifully presented ready-meals I have ever had the fortune of eating. To be honest, when travelling in Japan the station lunchbox, or Ekiben, fast became the favourite part of my day (sad but true).

Here’s why

If, like me, you’re used to grabbing a can of soda, packet of crisps and a deflated-looking tuna&mayo sandwich, the veritable oasis of food-choice that awaits you at a Japanese station is enough to send you into severe shock. Often featuring local specialities, you can find Ekiben containing sushi, shumai, marinated meat, grilled fish, tempura, steamed vegetables and local salads, usually accompanied by a portion of rice and pickles.

Oh and did I mention the price? At an average of ¥500 – ¥1000 for a large box, you’ll feel that at any moment someone’s going to jump out and tell you off for being gullible enough to believe such deliciousness could ever be sold at such a price.

So enjoy the Ekiben, do it for me, because soon you’ll be back in your own country looking at an overpriced and under-filled sandwich with wistful eyes and a rumbling belly.

photo WorldRidden

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