Fascinating Korean Bento Boxes, Dosirak Lunch BoxKatachiware Japanese Style Tableware
Korean bento boxes (Dosirak) are a popular Korean lunch box packed with a homemade meal that can also be purchased from Dosirak stores. Like Japanese bento boxes, they are served with rice and an assortment of traditional side dishes.
Dosirak bento boxes include a meal that is warm or at room temperature. They are made from 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 Box 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 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). Even so, the price the demand continues to grow as Dosirak has evolved to compete with restaurants offering quality foods served for those on the go.
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 made at home for children’s school lunches and husbands to take to work.
Home Made Dosirak
Home Made Dosirak is 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 are in the other and soup are prepared in a third compartment.
Yennal-Dosirak meaning “old-time Dosirak” includes a good part of home-cooked rice, pan-fried sausages, fried eggs, stir-fried kimchi and shredded seaweed. Prepared in a single compartment tin plate bento box. Before eating the bento box is shaken to mix the ingredients.
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.
Korean Dosirak Examples
- 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 Korean 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 filled with cooked rice and an assortment of accompanying bento side dishes that are shaken before eating. This ensures that all the ingredients are mixed well and you end up with a delicious meal.