One of the advantages of Japan’s railway journeys is that you are never too far away to bag an ekiben (駅弁). Ekiben are bento boxes sold on trains and at train stations in Japan. For lunch, on our way to check-in at our Okayama hotel, we bought bento (弁当) at JR Shin-Osaka station. The Takoju (多幸重) ekiben is a product of Kukuru. Kukuru is a well-known takoyaki vendor at Osaka’s Dotonbori street food haunt. My.. my… this ekiben stole the show!
I love the packaging and most impressively, the incredibly tasty Takoyaki bento. I actually preferred Kukuru’s Takoyaki ekiben better than Dotonbori’s takoyaki. The ekiben is served at a more palatable room temperature. The “Takoyakis”(grilled battered octopus pieces-filled balls of deliciousness) which rests on a bed of caramelly and salty dark brown sticky soy sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the seasoned rice which had also been cooked in octopus with love. I actually don’t mind eating a Takoyaki ekiben every day. Look at this yummylicious Takoyaki to go with the soft fluffly steamed rice…. it’s making me hungry just looking at them!
In addition to that, whilst at JR Shin-Osaka station, don’t forget to bag yourself a super-approachable Kansai cuisine in the form of an octagonal shaped Hakkaku bento by Suiryoken. The chef had indeed mastered the art of natural stock-making and the same deft hands brought out the natural flavour and freshness of Japanese grilled and broiled delicacies. Slowly savour the taste of the delicious produce e.g. eggplant, french bean, carrot, eggs, seafood, butter beans and Japanese pickles that make up this masterpiece. Look out for the juicy Koya tofu that had absorbed the goodness of the great stock. Each morsel is a well-marinated pure delight to my palate. A note of caution to broadbean allergy sufferers: This bento contains 2 pieces of broadbeans! I don’t think this Hakkaku bento is for sharing. Taste it and you will soon be addicted. Again, kudos to the packaging artist for creating such an organised, neat and artfully presented lunch box.
Must buy ekiben / bento at JR Shin-Osaka train station
- Takoju (多幸重) or Takoyaki bento by Kukuru
- Hakakku bento in an octagonal presentation box by Suiryoken