Bento is a single-portion take-out or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables. I only really got into Japanese food when I moved to Beijing five years ago. I can safely say I now have a real love of all things bento. Bento boxes are a great way to enjoy Japanese food and are a healthy option for lunch or dinner. As we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths, a bento box offers a colorful and attractive meal. Japanese restaurant Hagaki at East Beijing, serves up a fine selection of California-inspired Japanese cuisine. With signature sashimi, tempura, udon, and a lively sushi bar. Hagaki also provide a bento delivery and take-out service.
I ordered the salmon bento, which included grilled salmon, rice, salad, pickles, and tamago RMB 98. Other bento’s include sautéed kimchi and pork RMB 78, teriyaki chicken wing RMB 88, or grilled short-ribs with black pepper RMB 108. Hagaki’s bento boxes all include rice, tamago (Japanese omelet), salad, and pickles. The salmon was cooked beautifully, still soft and just the right side of done in the middle. Three generous pieces of sweet and soft tamago, sat alongside fresh salad which had a very tasty soy dressing. The pickles were crunchy and crisp and the rice perfectly cooked. The bento boxes offer a good portion size, with ingredients that are fresh and very well prepared.
For delivery, place your order between 9.30-11.30am. The minimum order is five boxes. For larger orders, call one day in advance. I chose the take-out option and only had to wait 15 minutes for it to be ready. During which time I enjoyed complementary tea, use of their Wi-Fi, and the chance to relax in their very cool restaurant.
If you’re not in the mood for bento, they also do delivery or take-out of lunch sets. The stewed soft shell crab and papaya, with rice, pickles, salad, and egg custard RMB 128 is very popular. Other sets include assorted sashimi and chicken karaage RMB 118, stewed tofu and beef with shichimi rice RMB 78, or grilled sea bass with Dijon mustard RMB 78. The lunch sets include rice, pickles, salad, egg custard, and miso soup. Add RMB 10 and enjoy a soft drink.
Hagaki at East Hotel
Lunch daily 11am-2.30pm, dinner daily 5.30-10pm
For delivery call 8414 9816
beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent Sally Wilson moved to Beijing in 2010 from the UK with her husband and son. Her daughter was born here in 2011 and both her kids keep her happily busy. In her spare time, Sally loves to stroll through Beijing’s hutongs and parks. She is a (most of the time) keen runner and loves reading: books, magazines, news, and celeb websites – anything really. Sally is also a bit of a foodie and loves trying out new restaurants.
Photos: Sally Wilson