A general Japanese term for boxed meal
Bento is the general term for any Japanese boxed meal. A traditional bento consists of rice, pickled vegetables and some sort of entree item such as a piece of grilled fish or meat. Bento can be simple, with only one food item, or elaborate, with multiple pickles, salads, entrees and even dessert.
Bento are available in Japan from grocery and convenience stores, specialty shops and even on most train platforms.
It is common for Japanese mothers to make bento lunches for their children. For some, it can become an elaborate art where the food is formed or decorated to look like popular children's characters, animals or other fun, cute objects.