Update 2: Now also some baking! Have got bitten by the cake decoration bug and although pondering whether to set up a separate blog or not, for now I will add some of my sweet creations to this blog. It will be Bento & Baking!
Update: since starting this blog, I now divide my lunches into the following categories, depending on the content:
Bento mainly containing Japanese (inspired) food
Dosirak mainly containing Korean (inspired) food
Dosirakbento a combination of Korean/Japanese (inspired) food
Blunch also known as a boxed lunch /lunch in a box. A name I came up with to describe lunches that don’t have any Japanese or Korean inspired food.
This was my introduction when starting my blog in February 2014:
Most of us know what bento is, right?
Well, dosirak is the Korean equivalent. Sort of.
As bento is a Japanese word, it’s not very popular or commonly used in Korea (logic given the history) so the Korean word for lunchbox is dosirak. Some look exactly like bento, just with Korean food.
But if you google “bento” you’ll find, aside from the standard types bento, lots of kawaii (cute) and kyaraben (character) bento. In contrast, google dosirak and you won’t find much cute or character (I don’t know the Korean words) dosirak.
This might have partly to do with that the Korean equivalent of onigiri, the samgak gimbap/kimbap is less suitable for “cuting up” (if that’s a term), because of the limited triangular shape. And onigiri are used a lot to create hello kitty’s, panda bears, rabbits and other cute shapes in bento. On the other hand, you also see lots of cute bento that doesn’t even involve rice!
To be honest, I actually don’t know why you can find many websites with cute or pretty bento (and not only from Japan, but from all over the world) and only very few websites devoted to dosirak (unless maybe there are loads in Korean….I can’t read Korean…nor Japanese…).
But in the end, a name is just a name, and the lunch boxes that I want to show here are sometimes bento, sometimes dosirak, sometimes a combination and sometimes neither but just made of stuff I have in the fridge.
The principle though is inspired by the Korean dosirak and Japanese bento boxes, so that’s why I choose this name.
This blog is mainly to keep track of the dosirakbento I have made and will make. I will (try to make) Japanese and Korean dishes, but not always as I’m still finding my way in this kind of cuisine (plus trying to decipher ingredients!). I will also indicate whether they are (or feel) more bento than dosirak and vice versa. Or if ‘other’.
Food lover & amateur blogger in London (UK) who is discovering the world of playing with food in a box. Exploring Japanese and Korean food.
P.s. Too make it even more confusing…
Apparently there is also a Korean dish called dosirak where rice in a lunch type box is topped with several small dishes, the lid goes on top and then everything is shaken and mixed up. Almost like a bibimbap. The result is very messy, certainly compared to the beautifully arranged Japanese bento boxes.
Update: Feb ’15: YMoon commented: Just to clarify the last part of your intro, shaken dosirak is not quite another form of dosirak but it was inspired from 70s dosirak when our parents packed their lunch in yangeun (nickel-silver) lunch box. I will have to look into the origin of “shaking” method but my assumption is because back then people were poor (it was after the war) and often time kids’ lunch only consist of rice and kimchi. The story is that kids started to shake their metal lunchbox so rice and kimchi (and its juice) get well-mixed like a bibimbap. Nowdays, it is a trend in Korea that restaurants often add “dosirak of memories” to their menu and people get to try 70s-style shaken dosirak for fun.
Thanks for the comment YMoon, very interesting to hear the back ground story!