Fascinating Korean Bento Boxes, Dosirak Lunch Box

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Fascinating Korean Bento Boxes, Dosirak Lunch Box

Korean bento boxes (Dosirak) are a popular Korean lunch box that is packed with a homemade 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 boxes normally include a meal that is warm or at room temperature. They are made from 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, a single layer with no compartments is the most common and others contain many compartments with several tiers.

Korean Bento Boxes
Korean Bento Boxes

Dosirak, Korean Bento Box Types & History

Dosirak is a type of pre-packaged bento meal that originated in Japan. As bento exploded in popularity across Japan, Korean convenience stores and manufacturers caught on and focused more on premium quality and a large variety to meet consumers’ health concerns. These meals have progressed from quick food nibbles to healthy Korean cuisine samples. Dosirak, which began as a low-cost take-out option for young people, has expanded to include popularity amongst young and old.

In recent years prices have dramatically increased though you can still buy dosirak starting at 3,500 won which is around $3.00 USD up to 15,000 won ($13.10 USD). Nevertheless, the price the demand continues to grow as dosirak has evolved to compete with restaurants offering quality foods served for those on the go.

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 also commonly made at home for children’s school lunches and husbands to take to work.

Home Made Dosirak

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

Yennal-Dosirak

Yennal-Dosirak meaning “old-time dosirak” includes a good portion of home-cooked 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 which is sometimes spelled Kimbap-Dosirak, translates to “packed gimbap” is often used to entertain guests or the family at picnics. Served with sliced seaweed rolls they are prepared in an elaborate manner and while traditional Dosirak rice is seasoned with vinegar, Gimbap is instead cut with sesame oil and sweeter.

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 are Korean Bento Boxes Eaten?

Dosirak bento 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.

You can read more about Korean Bento Boxes and their history here: Wikipedia and view our range of traditional Japanese style bento boxes here: Traditional Bento Boxes

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