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There's this nice Japanese food in the US that's sold in restaurants under the name bento boxes. It invariably consists of a meat dish (usually sushi or teriyaki), white rice, and a small salad with creamy salad dressing.

I was laid up for a few weeks with one working hand, and realized I could cook this with pre-cut-up beef. The food style appears to me to actually come from Japan and should have a word in Japanese; but bento isn't it. Bento is the name of the package form. (It means something like convenient). I had a hard time explaining what this food was to anybody.

Attached image is the result of me cooking food in the same style as best as I can mimic it.

enter image description here

There are glaring deficiencies in this photo.

  1. The rice is not sticky rice.
  2. The meat should be cut in strips, not this floppy mess.
  3. I used a bagged garden salad.
  4. I hadn't yet learned to dilute the contents of the bottle and cook the meat in it.
  5. I can't eat rice with chopsticks yet, even with ideal preparation.
  6. No soup. I feel the missing-ness of the soup in this one, but I couldn't source any appropriate soup at the local grocery store.

I checked; the local resteraunt does not have a picture; just a description "Miso soup (dine-in only), rice, salad, and 2 different items of your choice to complete your box"; the meat course is cooked essentially the same way no matter which meat. I've gotten essentially the same thing from quite a few restaurants; and they all call it bento as far as I can tell.

I'm after the combined name; otherwise I would just say Teriyaki.

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  • It’s difficult to identify with just "it's a beef dish in a bento box". Do you have a photo?
    – naruto
    May 16 at 1:35
  • @naruto: You're in luck. I have a picture.
    – Joshua
    May 16 at 1:49
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    What you call teriyaki in America is not teriyaki at all.
    – aguijonazo
    May 16 at 2:32
  • The specific way in which the beef is sliced is known as 肉絲 in Chinese, and is a telltale of Chinese knife technique, not generally seen in Japanese cooking. I think that might give you a hint about where this kind of item seen in some "Japanese" restaurants in America really comes from.
    – jogloran
    May 16 at 3:43
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    By the way, one reason beef is rarely used must be it's hard to get a smooth surface to "shine." It absorbs the sauce.
    – aguijonazo
    May 17 at 0:06

1 Answer 1

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This beef dish doesn't look like traditional Japanese food. It doesn't have a specific name, but might generically be described as 細切れ牛肉の炒め物 ("sliced beef stir-fry") or something similar. It doesn't look like typical teriyaki from a Japanese perspective, either.

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  • Most unfortunate. Got a photo of Japanese beef teriyaki I can compare with?
    – Joshua
    May 16 at 3:19
  • With "beef teriyaki", a Japanese people would imagine something like this, but few of them would think this is a traditional Japanese dish.
    – naruto
    May 16 at 3:23
  • I would have guessed not traditional either; but something that came to be in the twentieth century. Nevertheless it appears what I've been getting is something sold in sushi restaurants as a side business because they know some people in a party don't care for sushi.
    – Joshua
    May 16 at 3:31

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