Concept of ‘5番’ in Bento Making お弁当作り

By Friday, May 11, 2012 0 No tags Permalink 1
Bento 11 May – Goshiki Principal in Japanese Bento Making お弁当作り

My first post. Thought of starting with this..

For the Japanese, the concept of ‘5番‘ (Five) is quite significant in their cuisine and in bento making. Although it may not be adhered to as closely as before.

As my love for bento making increased, I often read about ‘Goshiki’, ‘Goho’, ‘Gomi’.

Together, it is creating a wholesome nutritional meal (balance of yin and yang). No wonder Japanese has one of the lowest obesity rates in the world. But more than just health, it is also a way of life, coming from Buddhism beliefs.

Goshiki – (five colours) red, yellow, green, black, white
Goho – (five methods of cooking) steaming, simmering, boiling, grilling, sauteed, deep frying and so on 
Gomi – (five taste 5味) sweet, salty, bitter, spicy, sour

For me, I try my best to follow Goshiki principal as I too believe that varied colours in a diet is a good healthy meal and not to mention aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Makes me happy to see the colours :)

Goho and Gomi is quite hard since I am not a fan of frying/deep frying, so most of my dishes are boiled, marinated or sauteed.

Picture – Bento 11 May
Red/pink – tomatoes, boiled flaked salmon
Yellow – egg (rolled between beancurd skin)
Green – leafy vegetables (in this case mine was watercress), and cucumbers (cut in sakura flower shapes)
White – rice, fish cake, boiled golden mushrooms (hidden below the vegetables)
Black/Brown – marinated kombu together with shitake mushrooms, steamed abalone & beancurd skin

I will share more on my own personal thoughts on some possible food choices/dishes to add the rainbow of colours to your meal. For instance, one challenge I had faced when I started to follow bento recipes is how to add more leafy greens and vegetables (not just nori and lettuce) to my bentos.


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