The New “Bento Man”

Along with the usual nearby convenience store, offices such as ours also have the extra convenience of a roving “Bento Man” who swings by in their van right on up to our doorstep every day or so around the noon hunger hour, offering a wide selection of bento box lunch delights. We used to be serviced by Nippon Bento and Catering, then by another spinoff operation, and now we’re trying out this new start-up called Coco Bento.

It’s actually now “Bento Lady”, however out of familiarity over the years saying it, we still use the call sign “Bento Man” when announcing to each department that she’s arrived. Right around 11am-ish, expect a phone call or someone walking in each department’s door announcing somewhat like a robot without any other word, “Bento Man”. Then see the hallway and staircase fill with hungry staff filing out the front door to get first dibs on what stay get.

Let’s see what stay get…

For $5 each, in the “Bento Man” selection above, choose from Hibachi/Huli style Chicken, Garlic Mochiko Chicken, Spicy Pork, Spicy Beef, Hamburger Steak or Sauteed Ahi ($6 for the Ahi). All served over a generous helping of white rice, some sprinkled with Furikake, and also including a slice of Takuwan. Nice touch.

In the set above, there’s Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Musubi, SPAM Musubi, Teri’ Hot Dog Musubi, Hibachi/Huil Chicken, Ham/Portuguese Sausage/SPAM/Hot Dog ‘n Eggs, Mandoo, BBQ Chicken ‘n Fried Noodles and Spicy Pork.

These Musubi have so much rice in them, it’s CRAZY, which was featured in the previous post, “How Big is TOO BIG?”.

In yet another set above, there’s Fried Rice ‘n Egg, Oyako Donburi (bowl), Breakfast Bento and Beef ‘n Veggie Wraps.

From another day, we have BBQ Teri Chicken and Beef, Tocino, Breakfast Bento, Ham ‘n Cheese Wrap, Oyako Donburi, Korean style Choi Sum, BBQ Chicken ‘n Fried Noodles “Mini”, assorted Musubi and Grilled Ahi. Again, most bento $5, mini and sides $3, musubi $2 and fish $6.

Chili Dog ‘n Rice, BBQ Chicken, Combo, Tocino, Hibachi/Teri Chicken Mini, Wraps and Oyako Donburi.

Speaking of which, if I had just gotten out of the water after a long day in the surf at the beach, this Chili Dog ‘n Rice Bento has my name all over it…

Right off the bat, my recommendation is that Coco Bento balance out their bento better by including at least a little of the Banchan with each bento instead of just meat and rice….

Of course, that’s how they make money by selling it ala carte, yet if that’s the case, offer more selection than just the Sesame/Soy Choi Sum, such as Kim Chee or a small tossed salad like Nippon Bento used to offer.

Gotta’ give our new “Bento Man” credit for offering a ‘Healthy n Fresh Department’.

I’d also like to see more seafood items like this fat slab of Sauteed Ahi, such as shrimp tempura of course, and perhaps Fish Jun.

Computer workstation, desk and office chair? Check. Teri’ Hamburger Steak ‘n Rice and SPAM Musubi? Check.

The new “Bento Man” notoriously huge Teri Hot Dog Musubi.

Along with the Teri Hamburger Steak Bento, Diner E also sampled the Tocino and Spicy Pork Combo’…

Tocino and Spicy Pork Bento

I sampled a piece of the Tocino, which believe it or not is the very first time trying that, and thought it was just OK. I also sampled the Spicy Pork, which is the lighter, more orange-colored meat, and thought that it was really ono! The spicy heat kicks-in like a “sleeper”, yet tolerable. The Spicy Pork was also noticeably more tender and moist than Coco’s Tocino.

Diner A sampled the Hibachi “Huli” style Chicken on a previous visit…

Which I had a bite of, and thought it was mighty tasty! Almost like da’ ‘kine Huli Huli Chicken you get from those church fundraisers along the drive around North Shore.

Hibachi “Huli” style BBQ Chicken Bento

That said, and defying my usual choice of fresh catch of the day (I don’t care for cooked Ahi), I sampled the Hibachi/Huli Chicken Bento shown above as well, which was excellent. The “Huli” style sauce was savory and deep ‘n not too sweet, while the chicken had tasty, smokey sear markings, being very moist ‘n tender. All of which is especially commendable for a roving lunch van operation.

I’m sure the selection will only improve after they get feedback from their customers, including one particular food blogger.

P.S. With the ghosts and goblins ready to play just a day away, you may remember back in 2008, I appeared as “Bento Man” for our annual Halloween Costume Contest…

Pomai appears as “BENTO MAN” in 2008, wearing a “Cup M”…. get it?

What are you going to be this year for Halloween?

I was thinking of being “The Oktoberfest Guy”, wearing what I wore at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Oktoberfest

2014 Hawaii Prince Hotel Oktoberfest outfit (sans the suspenders… yikes!)

All I’d need for a prop is an empty Stein, then go from bar to bar in Waikiki for “Oktoberfest Refills”. lol

Either that, or I’ll reboot “HAYN KIKAIDA”

Pomai as “HAYN KIKAIDA”, circa 2001 (self-made costume, used for several “Generation Kikaida” promotional events in its early years by JN Productions)

Nah, probably none of the above. Most likely I’m going as myself and be photographer this year.