Sunday 17 April 2016

Inexpensive & Wholesome Japanese Meals at Lunch Box Story ~ Kitahama & Suki-Ya ~ Port Chikko, Osakako

Remember how I mentioned that in every country, there's always a store selling local, value for money meals? In Hong Kong, it's Cafe de Coral and Cha Chan Teng(s). In Japan, it's the local bento shop and your neighborhood rice bowl or noodle store.

Most bento stores follow a common practice. There will almost always be fake food on display to give you an idea of their portions and it's (almost) always to go. Point at what you want and pay up for food cooked on the spot for a quick takeaway.

So many bentos available!
This particular store even does catering and have simple bentos aimed at children. With so many choices, there's bound to be something to appeal to you.

A slice of saba, tempura ebi and tamago can cost a real inexpensive 420 yen while adding an additional 130 yen will get you salmon and chicken karage. Where in KL can you get a bento like that for RM20? (550 yen x 0.036) The best thing about the place is that you point and pay. No actual communication needed.

We had 2 meals from the bento store, 1 lunch and 1 dinner. At lunch time, value lunch trays of bentos are displayed for those who want to just pick up something and go. They will still allow you to order from their menu though.

Our hotel had a microwave so these went in for about a minute. No plastic melted so I assume they're microwave-safe.

LC's kinoko hamburg bento with chicken karage, tempura fish and pumpkin and a fried egg was a real big portion  for just 650 yen. You get a beef burger patty, chicken, fish, an egg and vegetables. That's a rather balanced meal, right?

My omu rice with chicken karage, tempura pumpkin and oden had an additional large piece of tamago (too much egg for that day) so the portion was just right to last me till a late dinner. The tomato fried rice under that egg sheet had cubes of chicken in it too.

On a separate day, our dinner consisted of drinks from the kombini and made-to-order bentos. If you come across a Yuzu Soda (Citron Soda) in Osaka, please try it. It's supposed to be their local specialty and is amazingly refreshing. My Karage Special (blue star on the menu) had at least 5 chunks of chicken karage, tempura ebi, fried chikuwa, fried sausage and a block of tamago. There's also some shredded cabbage underneath so it's a mini salad to complete the bento. They will also pack you condiments. In this case, it was mayo and ketchup.

LC's chicken Nanban Special (green star on the menu) had chicken katsu, tempura ebi, fried chikuwa, fried sausage and a block of tamago. After a long day, eating this in the comfort of our hotel with some silly Japanese reality shows was the best thing ever.

I know that there are more exciting food out there but bentos are convenient, fresh and really wholesome in Japan (can't say the same for Malaysian ones) so do try one!


Suki-Ya is everywhere in Japan. This donburi (rice bowl) place is popular with locals and foreigners alike because it's easy to find, easy to order and offers a wide range of rice bowls.

Click to zoom in!
The basics - Beef Bowls, Pork Bowls and Curry Rice with various toppings and sizes. You can even order more meat if you want and the rice portion sizes go up to Mega, even larger than XL!

Click to zoom in!
There are also slightly more premium items such as tuna sashimi bowls and for children, there are kid sets. Also you can add-on anything and everything - the meat can be added on up to quintuple amounts. Because we hadn't had any curry rice in Osaka, we decided to drop by Suki-Ya after our Osaka Kaiyukan visit.

Curry Rice with Rich Cheese - that cheese may not be traditional but it was surprisingly good with the curry. With that sweet and slightly tangy curry, a creamy element worked well in bringing the dish together

Curry Rice with Beef - the slices of beef were thinly sliced and tender but a little stringy. Taste-wise, it's easy to tell that the meat has been simmering in soy sauce for a long time. Tasty and flavorful! Even though the curry wasn't spicy enough, the chilli powder provided instantly solved that. 

There's a rather comforting feeling attached to eating curry rice and donburi(s) in Japan. Nothing can beat a quick meal if you're rushing or if you're not, a meal that won't burn a hole in your pocket.