Happy New Year 2013! Since Chinese New Year won’t be arriving for another month, this new year a blogger friend and I decided to take matters into our own hands and celebrate it in a traditional Japanese fashion and eat Osechi Ryori bento at home or at our 2nd home, since we have both spent some time in Japan before and really miss this ceremonial experience… New Years Osechi bento boxes are usually prepared before the holidays and served as take-away items, when restaurants are closed for 3 to 5 days after Jan begins.
New Years Eve ‘Soba’ on the 31st Dec -
Extra long 年越しそば, Toshi-Koshi soba noodles are eaten on the last day of the year as a typical ritual, wishing for a smooth transition and carrying continuity into the new year..
On the 1st of January, the following are usually consumed as a Japanese custom -
- Osechi Bento to be eaten after the Soba noodles from New Years Eve.
- Soup with Mochi, お雑煮 (Ozouni)
- Celebratory Sake wine, 祝い酒 (Iwaizake)
*- Other rituals such as paying visits to your local shrine 初もうで (Hatsu Moude)
1st Layer of Bento on our Bentos -
Black Beans Kuromame
Carrot & Daikon julienned pickles Namasu
Dried Small Sardines Ta-Zukuri
Yellow & White Egg Nishiki Tamago
Egg Roll Date-Maki
Seaweed Scroll Konbu-Maki
Red & White Fish Cake Kouhaku Kamaboko…
Bento’s 2nd Layer -
Originally, a traditional Osechi Bento can be stacked up to 4-5 layers to share between a whole family. The modernised versions can carry less layers, I suspect due to Cost factor as Osechi Ryori is an expensive exercise as a typical 5 Layered Bento can cost 20,000 Yen to 35,000 Yen (Roughly USD 250 – 400). Ouch! On our 2nd layer of Bento we couldn’t source everything we had wanted, but here are what we put in at the end:
Cooked Shiitake Mushrooms Shiitake Umani
Sweetened Prawns Nama-Taki Ebi
Cooked Abalone Awabi Ni Gai
Orange Errr… Orange
Shoyu Cooked Whelk Shoyu Tsubugai
It was a Fun 1st Day for us in 2013,
We could certainly do better with some of the sweet Iwai-Zake sake wine or the essential new year starter soup Ozouni with mochi and chicken in Soup. In Japan most Osechi bento boxes are actually eaten cold and as take-away, sometimes prepared in-house before the obligatory firs few days of holiday. This is the main reason why we opted to do it ourselves rather than visiting a restaurant first as it does seem a little odd for those of us used to eating the traditional take-out bentos? But in a land home away from home, I guess there are always exceptions..
… The End.
Price: $140 per Person. Inclusive of Abalone and Prawns.