If you are traveling with Shinkansen, enjoy some “Ekiben”. Ekiben are available at stations and you get to enjoy local ingredients and famous dishes in a lunchbox. So have fun choosing which one you like. Today we will tell you about famous & popular ekiben that you cannot miss.
Among commercial facilities in Tokyo station inside ticket gates, the biggest one is called “Glansta”. At Glansta, there is a lunch box that has won the #1 popularity for 7 years in a row, called “Spanish Bellota Iberico Pork Jyu”. They use abundant Bellota, which is said to be the highest quality among acorn-fed Iberico pigs. The Bellota pork is dipped in sweet and sour sauce, which makes them look shiny and laid over white rice. Their portion is satisfyingly large and you will get to savor Bellota that are so soft as if they are melting in your mouth (1,100 JPY with tax).
This is an obento that you can also buy in “Glansta” where “Spanish Bellota Iberico Pork Jyu” is available. “Maisen” is a famous Tonkatsu place in Tokyo. Tonkatsu refers to fried pork loin or tenderloin coated with flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs. Hire-katsu (fillet port cutlet) by Maisen is reputed as being so soft and juicy it can be cut into pieces even with chopsticks. Using bread so soft and fluffy, they make sandwiches just the right size, which are enjoyable for both adults and children. One bite of cutlet with their original sauce will surprise you with its soft texture. Besides sandwitches, obentos are also available at the shop. If you have enough time, try their freshly made obento just out of a kitchen (843 JPY with tax for 6 slices).
At Tokyo station, you can also buy Ekiben from other parts of Japan. “Ekibenya Matsuri” is a shop that offers 170 different kinds of famous Ekiben from all across Japan. Among them, “Gyuniku Doman-naka”, which is mainly sold at Yonezawa station; one of the major stations in Yamagata prefecture, is the most popular one of all. Open a lid and you will see sliced beef and minced beef stewed in their secret soy-sauce based sauce. However, you can say that the main star for this obento is its rice “Doman-naka” as its name shows. This rice, made in Yamagata, tastes delicious even when it is cold and it goes perfectly well with the beef. This is an Ekiben that is simple but yet is full of delightful flavors of rice and beef (1,150 JPY with tax).
“Gokusen Sumibi-Yaki Gyutan Bento” is an ekiben from Sendai station in Miyagi prefecture. “Gyutan”, which refers to beef tongues, are local specialty in Sendai. When eating this ekiben, you will feel as if you were eating in a Gyu-tan specialty restaurant. Each gyu-tan, soaked and aged in special salty sauce, is grilled carefully on charcoal and served plentifully over barley rice (either barley only or mix of barley rice and white rice) making a perfect combination. One other thing that will satisfy you about this ekiben is its system. Pull a string attached to a lunch box, and the whole container will be warmed up in about 5 -6 minutes. What happens then? You get to enjoy steamy hot Gyu-tan and barley rice that are just freshly made (1,350 JPY with tax).
If you are in the mood to enjoy an original Tokyo ekiben, why not try a “Tokyo Bento”? Delis packed tightly in this obento are from many different shops well-established in Tokyo. Some examples of exclusively selected delis are: Kasu-zuke of king salmon (salmon pickled in by-products of sake or mirin productions processes) from “Ningyo-cho Uokyu”, “Beef Tsukudani (beef braised in sweet and salty sauce)“ from “Asakusa Imahan”, pan-fried rolled eggs from “Tsukiji Sushi-Tama Aoki” and braised vegetables from “Nihonbashi Daimasu”. This is a luxurious bento that you can savor various flavors of well-established shops all at once (1,650 JPY with tax).
If you want to go for some sushi or seafood, try “Ebi Senryo Chirashi”, which are sold in Niigata station in Niigata prefecture. You may feel disappointed after opening a lid, because all you see is a simple sheet of eggs. However, there are all kinds of delightful surprises under the eggs including eels Kabayaki (eels grilled with sauce) and boiled shrimps and dried squid. Even though there are different kids of good stuff in a lunchbox, they all match perfectly without ruining flavors of each other. So, this is an ekiben packed with all kinds of surprises (1,300 JPY with tax).
Were there anything you liked? If you are taking a shinkansen from Tokyo station, we do recommend you to buy an ekiben and enjoy it on the train.