Do you know what I always seem to have in my pocket? 400yen. I’ll be walking home from class; starving and trying to prep myself for a cup-ramen dinner, when I just casually sense the urge to check a pocket I have no recollection of ever using. Lo and behold, the hyaku yen fairy (that’s the the 100yen fairy) has miraculously tucked away four small coins in my pocket. Or maybe it is a survival instinct left over from my ancestors. Who knows? Either way, I am always thankful because it’s just enough for me to order from my favorite bento shop: Origin Bento.

Origin Bento with its updated logo and livery.
Origin Bento with its updated logo and livery. | Photo by Gregory Lane

Origin Bento is a take-out only chain and as far as I know, is open 24/7.  They offer an assortment of different bentos for breakfast, lunch and dinner; but my favorite without a doubt is their 390yen selection. Specially the のりチキン竜田弁当, or “seaweed chicken tatsuta bento.”  It’s basically just a few strips of deep fried chicken, seaweed and seasoned rice, but I swear that chicken is glazed with magic. I probably order it 90% of time I go there and when I do order it, they smile like they were expecting it. As if they know me as “the chicken guy.”

Photo by Aaron Baggett

Besides my personal favorite bento. the 390yen menu has a number of good meals to choose from. If you’re feeling lavish, or if, in my case, the hyaku yen fairy was feeling generous, you can order a larger meal for 100yen more. They also have an à la carte type of set up with spring rolls, soups, vegetables, etc. While you can just as easily find a bento at your nearest Lawson or 7-eleven, you definitely want to go with Origin Bento. Orgin Bento offers a kind of aesthetic quality. They cook it right in front of you, so it gives you that homemade apple pie feeling. It’s fresh, cheap, but more importantly, tasty.

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