If we had to pick one thing that represented how Japanese food maybe isn’t quite as healthy as generally perceived, it would probably have to be the bento lunchbox. Bento are readily available practically everywhere in Japan—when not being handmade for you by a parent or spouse, usually in the shape of Pokémon characters and the like—and are widely consumed by office workers and other day laborers as a cheap, convenient lunch.

Despite healthy origins back in the old days, bento—perhaps by design—have become increasingly unhealthy, with your standard box available from a retailer or food truck usually weighing in at a thousand calories (or frequently even more) and containing a bunch of fried food in addition to huge portions of rice.

But heck, when a filling, albeit cholesterol and calorie-packed bento sets you back only a measly 200 yen (US$1.50) over at discount supermarket Lamu, well, we’ll happily do the extra time on the treadmill.


Unfortunately, there don’t appear to be any Lamu locations in Tokyo, but there are a whole bunch over in the Kansai and Chubu regions. One of the writers at our Japanese sister site recently visited one of the locations to check out the rumored super-cheap bento and found a veritable smorgasbord of options coming in under 200 yen. There were additionally a few sides available for under 100 yen, such as a small container of Napolitan spaghetti, because nothing sates your gluttonous heart better than a big tray of rice and fried food with a side of even more carbs.



Almost all of the bento on offer covered pretty standard bento fare, such as rice with karaage fried chicken, rice with korokke croquettes, rice with fried katsu pork, and rice with a hamburg steak topped with fried egg. We were half expecting to see a rice with a side of fried rice bento. We were also kind of hoping for something fancy or out of the ordinary, but again, it was hard to complain with prices like this.





We honestly have no idea how Lamu gets the bento prices down so low, although it’s actually not the first place we’ve covered with similarly-priced bento. It’s possible the lunch boxes are a “loss-lead” that draws customers in to the store with the aim of getting them to purchase additional groceries rather than being made using inferior ingredients. Although, for what it’s worth, while our Japanese site writer, ominously, says almost nothing about the actual taste of the bento, she does note that they were at least “good.”



We suppose this information will be of practically no use to anyone living in Tokyo or trying to avoid fried food, but it’s nice to know that there’s an uber cheap place to get a quick, satisfying and convenient lunch over in western Japan.


Photos © RocketNews24
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