Japan Data

Japan’s High School Students Agree “Karaage” Chicken Makes Bentōs Better!

Food and Drink Lifestyle

A survey of Japanese high school students found that the most popular side dish to find in their lunchtime bentō was karaage fried chicken.

The Fukuoka-based bentō lunch order service provider Pecofree conducted an online survey of 1,000 high school students who regularly take their own bentō to school.

The results showed that 85.5% of students have a packed lunch “5 to 7 days a week.” It seems that they are eating bentō almost every day, not only on weekdays but also on weekends, when they have cram school and extra school activities. When asked who made their lunch, 92.4% answered “my parent.”

How many times a week do you have a bentō?

At 53.3%, more than half of the respondents said that they took a bentō from home to “save money.” On occasions when they bought lunch at a convenience store on a school day, 24.8% spent “less than ¥300” and 40.6% “¥301 to ¥500,” meaning 65.4% in total were spending ¥500 or less.

How much do you spend on lunch at convenience stores?

The side dish that people felt most excited about finding in their bentō (multiple responses possible), was by far karaage fried chicken, chosen by 68.9%. This rose to 73.9% for boys, a clear favorite for them. Hamburg steak came second with 41%, followed by tamagoyaki egg roll with 37.9% and overall, meat-based side dishes were popular.

Comments about their bentō included a 16-year-old girl who said, “I was happy they made me tonkatsu [pork cutlet] while I was taking my entrance exams” (tonkatsu is seen as a good luck food to help pass exams). Meanwhile, a 16-year-old boy said that “when there are fewer frozen ready-made side dishes, I think about the time they spend preparing it.”

What kind of side dish do you feel excited to find in your bentō?

On the other hand, the times the respondents felt most disappointed with their bentō were when “the food is too tough” (37.1%), “the amount is too small” (34.2%), and “it doesn’t include anything I like” (33.6%).

When do you feel disappointed about your bentō?

(© Pixta)
(© Pixta)

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

high school bentō