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Kyoto’s Nishiki Market Bento Boxed Lunches Review: A Taste of Tradition

Nishiki Market Bento Boxed Lunches

Check out these Nishiki Market Bento Boxed Lunches Review!

Nishiki Market, a bustling culinary hub nestled in the heart of Kyoto, is a paradise for food enthusiasts. 

This historic arcade is easily reachable from Shijo, Karasuma, or Kawaramachi stations and offers a rich array of shops and stalls packed with local fare. 

For visitors on the go, this market offers an impressive selection of bento boxed lunches, ideal for enjoying during a serene park visit, beside the scenic Kamogawa River, or on a train journey exploring Japan.

Kyoto’s Nishiki Market Bento Boxed Lunches Review

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Determined to uncover the finest bento offerings at Nishiki Market, I embarked on a taste-testing quest. Three bento choices stood out, guaranteed to appease your palate.

The long-standing Nomura shop, with over 90 years of history, is a bastion of tsukudani, a cooking tradition steeped in Japanese heritage where various ingredients are simmered in a blend of soy sauce and sweet mirin. Here are my top bento findings from Nomura

Nomura’s Dashimaki and Karaage Bento – Sumptuous Seafood and Chicken Combinations 

At approximately 1,000 yen, the Dashimaki and Karaage Bento presents a delightful combination of kikurage tsukudani, savory dashimaki tamagoyaki with a hint of flying fish broth, and juicy karaage. 

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Nishiki Market Bento Boxed Lunches

Every bite suggests a perfect pairing with an afternoon beer, rewarding the taste buds with a perfect blend of umami and texture.

Nori Bento From Nomura – A Twist on Seaweed Drawing Salmon

Deceptively named, the Nori Bento, costing 993 yen, is a treasure trove of flavors beyond seaweed. It features Kyoto-style saikyoyaki grilled salmon marinated in white miso, coupled with creamy dashimaki and crisp chirimen tsukudani. This bento is more than just a meal; it’s a celebration of Kyoto’s culinary finesse.

With these offerings, Nomura guarantees a taste of tradition.

Yakitori Bento From Torisei

Rounding out my list is the Yakitori Bento from the venerable Torisei, a name synonymous with poultry perfection for around 110 years.

Priced at 1,080 yen, this bento is a symphony of flavors, featuring succulent chicken thigh, tender tsukune, and a proprietary glaze that enhances every morsel. 

An additional container of sauce allows for flavor customization, ensuring a rich experience down to the last grain of rice.

While the three bentos mentioned are my personal recommendations, the wider selection at Nishiki Market is deserving of exploration too, especially for those with ample time in Kyoto.

When time is of the essence, however, these selections at Nomura and Torisei are sure not to disappoint.

  • Nomura offers a diverse menu from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., providing a culinary journey for your taste buds. (Closed Thursdays)
  • Torisei welcomes patrons from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to indulge in traditional and tasty chicken creations.

For those on the hunt for the ideal meal in Kyoto, Nishiki Market’s bento boxes are a must-try, effortlessly blending convenience with authentic Japanese flavors.

Unique Qualities of Nishiki Market’s Bento Boxes

Nishiki Market’s bento boxes are known for their authentic Kyoto-style flavors and the market’s historic tradition of providing fresh and locally-sourced ingredients. What truly sets them apart is the culinary craftsmanship that goes into each box. 

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They often feature regional delicacies and seasonal tastes, giving diners a unique gustatory experience of Kyoto’s local cuisine. Artful presentation adds to the allure, turning each bento into not just a meal but an expression of Japanese aesthetics.

Special Diet-Friendly Bentos at Nishiki Market

Catering to a variety of dietary needs, several stalls in Nishiki Market offer bento boxes that correspond with specific dietary restrictions. 

From gluten-free soy sauce to rice-based dishes that cater to vegetarians, options are diverse. Traders often label their products with dietary information and ingredients used, so those with particular dietary preferences can make informed choices.

Cost Range for Bentos in Nishiki Market

Prices for the bento boxes in Nishiki Market can vary widely. Simple yet delicious options might start at an accessible price point, typically around 800 yen. 

More elaborate bento boxes featuring higher-end ingredients like sashimi or kaiseki-style assortments might cost upwards of 1,000 to 2,000 yen. The price correlates to the intricacy and type of fare offered.

Vegetarian and Vegan Bento Options in Nishiki Market

For those following vegetarian or vegan diets, finding suitable bento options within Nishiki Market is quite feasible. Many traders have adapted their menus to accommodate these dietary habits, offering bentos that exclude meat and fish products. 

These plant-based offerings include a selection of pickled vegetables, tofu dishes, and rice-based delicacies, allowing for a satisfying meal without compromising on traditional taste.

Local Impressions of Nishiki Market Bentos

The residents of Kyoto hold the quality of Nishiki Market’s bento boxes in high regard. The locals appreciate the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients and the ability of the bento craftsmen to create flavors that represent the essence of Kyoto’s cuisine. 

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Nishiki Market is frequently recommended as a place to experience authentic Kyoto food culture.

Essential Bento Boxes to Try at Nishiki Market

When visiting Kyoto’s Nishiki Market, there are a few bento boxes that stand out as favorites. Highly recommended is trying a bento with grilled mackerel, a Kyoto staple. 

Other must-tries include a bento featuring specialty pickles, known as tsukemono, and one with tempura, where various vegetables and seafood are battered and fried to perfection. Sampling these bentos offers a taste of Kyoto’s quintessential flavors.

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