The Shokado Bento is a Kaiseki Ryori for Japanese tea ceremonies in a special box (see photo of the box below) that a famous Japanese chef has created. This bento might be called the ultimate box lunch. A derivative of Kaiseki Ryori, it is a gourmet meal, self-contained in a compartmentalized box that keeps each dish separated from each other to avoid the intermingling of smells. Since our July 2011 issue, we have been building our own Zojirushi Shokado Bento one dish at a time, as we have introduced different cooking methods and various seasonal ingredients.
Since we are not in 16th century Japan, nor at a Japanese tea ceremony, we recommend relaxing a little and preparing your Shokado Bento the Zojirushi way. If you do not have a sectioned bento box, just improvise and use small plates or perhaps mini glass bowls to keep your dishes separate when serving your assembled meal. It's more important to get the feeling of Japanese cuisine in order to enjoy its beauty. Pay attention to the details--consider the different flavors as they are paired together, and the colors of the ingredients and how they look when arranged on the plate.
After we've completed our Zojirushi Shokado Bento over our next several issues, you will have experienced ingredients and dishes from all four seasons, seen a myriad of food colors and tasted an explosion of different flavors. Please look forward to it!