Tuesday is known as New Bento Day at major convenience stores across Japan. As we’ve highlighted before, convenience stores in the country put a lot of effort into their ready-to-eat creations. What’s more is they cycle through new flavors on a weekly basis. This can be a double-edged sword as your favorite dish can disappear tragically fast, but you can also count on something equally good coming along as well.

As regular consumers of convenience store bento, the editorial department of RocketNews24 Japan has come together and ranked the top 5 new additions to 7-Eleven, Lawson, and Family Mart for the week of 14 January, 2014. Please refer to it for your own convenient dining pleasure.

Pasta Shop Fresh Beef Porcini Cream Pasta
498 yen (US$4.60) from Lawson

Although it came in at number five, this pasta is first in surprising all who tasted it. The porcini cream sauce had a completely unexpected flavor that made us wonder if we mistakenly bought the wrong bento.

The mushroom-based sauce seemed like it would go well with another creation released by Lawson with a cheese and honey taste… that’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

Minced Chicken Namban Bento
550 yen ($5.30) from Family Mart

This would be your first choice when you’re in the mood for something hearty. The meat is domestically raised fried chicken breast. It’s pure bliss to eat with the special tartar sauce that comes in a separate packet attached to the bento.

The sauce is mixed with a sweet and sour vegetable sauce for a delectable original flavor. You may want to save a little of the sauce for use later on. It’s that good.

Anchovy Potato Salad
250 yen ($2.40) from Lawson

Not a bento per-se, but this side dish was so good we actually requested an amendment to the sacred rules of convenience store bento rankings. Luckily the council of elders agreed and we could bring you this Anchovy Potato Salad at number three.

It seems to have garlic sauce and anchovy sauce kneaded into the potato. Topped with sun-dried tomatoes and almonds, it’s an exquisitely elegant feeling for a lunchtime treat.

Beef Stew Pasta
530 yen ($5.10) from Family Mart

This is a visually appealing pasta dish. The cuts of beef seem slightly bigger than usual but when eaten they have a very soft and yielding texture. The sauce has mushrooms with a blend of several herbs and wine. All together you are treated to a complex and full flavor that’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Even the noodles seemed to have been gently seasoned with tomatoes adding a whole other level of flavor.

Fried Chicken and Fried Rice with Green Onion Sauce
480 yen ($4.60) from 7-Eleven

This bento is highly deceptive and is in great danger of being overlooked sitting on the shelves of your local 7-Eleven. At first glance it looks like a rather plain set of rice and chicken, but the true beauty is in the tasting. After heating and popping open the plastic lid, the aroma of sesame oil added to the green onion sauce is sure to get your mouth watering right away.

Even the fried rice is full of surprises. Most notable it the plump texture of each grain that make you want to quickly enjoy the next fresh bite. Just remember to pace yourself and chew carefully. An ordinary bento this is not!

Well, that’s what’s happening this week in Japanese convenience store bento. If any or all of these ready-made meals look good, then you better act fast. They may not be around come next week!

Original Article by Kui Iji Meru Ko
Photos: RocketNews24


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