Korean Bento Boxes (Dosirak)

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Korean Bento Boxes (Dosirak)

Dosirak is a lunch box that is widely used in South Korea, it consists of a bento box packed with a home-made meal that can also be purchased from dosirak stores. Similar to Japanese bento boxes they are normally served with rice and an assortment of traditional side dishes.

Dosirak bento lunch boxes normally include a meal that is warm or at room temperature. They are made from a thermally insulated steel or plastic and can still be found in a wooden lacquer finish bamboo bento. The boxes are used in many shapes and sizes, single layer with no compartments is the most common and others contain many compartments with several tiers.

Korean Bento Box
Korean Bento Box

Traditionally Dosirak bento lunch boxes consisted of a hefty serving of steamed rice called “bap” along with side dishes “banchan” including vegetables, meat and kimchi. Dosirak bento boxes are most commonly made at home for children’s school lunches and also for husbands to eat at work. Also sold in train stations and Dosirak convenience stores.

Home Made Dosirak

Home Made Dosirak commonly prepared in multi-level bento lunch boxes that keep the foods separated from each other. Rice is served in one bento compartment while meat and veggies in another and soup are prepared in a third compartment.

Yennal-Dosirak

Yennal-Dosirak meaning “old-time dosirak” includes a good portion of rice, pan-fried sausages, fried eggs, stir-fried kimchi and shredded seaweed. Normally prepared in a single compartment tin plate bento box. Before eating the bento box is aggressively shaken to mix the ingredients.

Gimbap-Dosirak

Gimbap-Dosirak translates to “packed gimbap” which is often used at picnics and served with sliced seaweed rolls.

Examples of Dosirak Korean bento box components include;

  • Boiled or steamed rice
  • Chicken dumplings (Dakgogi Mandu)
  • Fermented cabbage or radish (Kimchi)
  • Seafood Pancakes (Haemuljeon)
  • Rolled omelette (Gyeran Mari)
  • Salty Soybeans (Kongjaban)
  • Maple Glazed Anchovies (Myeolchi Bokkeum)
  • Stir-fried kimchi (Kimchi-Bokkeum)
  • Inside Out Gimbap (Nude-Gimbap)
  • Pan-fried meat and tofu patties (Wanja-Jeon)
  • Spicy braised tofu (Dubu-Jorim)
  • Dried shredded seaweed (Gim)
  • Shrimp Pancakes (Saeujeon)
  • Seaweed sushi rolls (Gimbap)
  • Glass noodles (Japchae)
  • Steamed shishito peppers (Kkwarigochu-Jim)
  • Tuna pancake (Chamchijeon)
  • Pan Fried tofu (Dubu-ganjangjorim)

How is Dosirak Bento Eaten?

Dosirak bento lunch boxes are available in many shapes and sizes. The compartment type is eaten using chopsticks, or a form and spoon while the single compartment versions are normally filled with cooked rice and an assortment of accompanying side dishes that are shaken before eating. This ensures that all of the ingredients are mixed well and you end up with a delicious meal.

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