Only one thing and doing it right

The だけ弁当 dake bento (lit. "the 'only' bento") series from Lawson Store 100, a Japanese convenience store chain focusing on inexpensive products, has been attracting a lot of attention ever since it began in June 2021.

As the name implies, the series focuses on only one thing, in this case, one of the side dishes usually featured in bento lunches. For example, the fifth and most recent installment released on August 24th, 2022, featured karaage fried chicken.

True to the convenience store chain's concept, each installment costs only 216 JPY including tax (1.48 USD at today's rate). With over 2.77 million units sold as of the end of October 2022, the series has been extremely popular.

Tamagoyaki Bento

From November 16th, 2022, the sixth installment in the "Dake Bento" series will go on sale at all Lawson Store 100 branches nationwide.

The side dish chosen this time is 玉子焼き tamagoyaki, a type of omelet made by rolling together several layers of fried beaten eggs in a square pan and seasoned with soy sauce and sugar, sometimes sake or mirin, dashi broth, or other ingredients depending on the region. It's such a common sight as a side dish in a Japanese bento that one wonders what took so long for it to get its own installment in the Dake Bento series!

But now, tamagoyaki fans are finally having their way with not one but eight glorious pieces of tamagoyaki on a bed of rice.

Dake Bento series creator 林弘昭 Hiroaki Hayashi says that because it is such a classic, there were many difficulties in commercializing the product, especially with regard to seasoning, which generated much debate within the company.

Since Lawon Store 100 operates in the Kanto, Chubu, and Kansai regions, there was much debate within the company as to which seasoning to use.

In the Kanto region, the Edomae sushi culture favors sweet tamagoyaki that goes well with vinegared rice, while in the Kansai region, there is a strong impression that tamagoyaki shouldn't be sweet. Due to the influence of Kyoto cuisine and its emphasis on dashi broth, the Kansai region favors だし巻き dashimaki omelet seasoned with dashi broth.

As a result, the seasoning of this bento is sweeter in the Kanto region and only slightly sweet in the Chubu and Kansai regions.

This is the first time in the history of the "Dake Bento" series that regional adjustments in seasoning will be made for the same product.

Dake Bento series creator 林弘昭 Hiroaki Hayashi

You can opt to enjoy your tamagoyaki omelet slices just as they are or, for variety, give them some additional seasoning with the packet of dashi soy sauce provided on the side.

And if you have time to spare, why not buy a "Tamagoyaki Bento" from each of the Kanto, Chubu and Kansai regions and enjoy the difference in taste!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.