Battle of the Bento

Battle of the Bento- Don Bay vs Tokio

Don Bay
440 Collins St, Melbourne, Australia

17 The Causeway, Melbourne, Australia

17 The Causeway, Melbourne, Australia

Iwas daydreaming about Japanese food one day and was tossing up on which Japanese place to go for lunch. Near where I work there are two places: Don Bay and Tokio. Both situated in a lane way they have been popular lunch spots with office workers. I discovered Tokio first as I used to work in that area and I frequent it often and always thought that they have the best Japanese lunches. Now that I am in the “future” end of town, Don Bay is more convenient but I still believed that Tokio has the best lunches. So I decided to test my theory and have a “Bento off” between the two lunch spots. Chicken kaarage vs chicken kaarage; beef sukiyaki vs beef sukiyaki, who will reign in the Battle of the Bento?

First, i need to find a person brave enough to taste test with me. Thank goodness Sparkly is up for a challenge. The Battle took place at the closed down crepe place of the Stock Exchange building. With the judges and location set we needed to decide what to buy. It’s a no-brainer really- the ultimate bento is THE LUNCHBOX- both $11.50, both have the best of both world feature of chicken kaarage and beef sukiyaki, with rice and salad.

We are ready. We are excited. Don Bay vs Tokio- Let the battle begin!

Tokio Bento

Don Bay Bento

First up: The APPEARANCE

we both agreed that Don Bay one looked bigger and more appetizing, so DON BAY won the first round easily!

Second round:THE CHICKEN

Don Bay

Tokio chicken

Don Bay: has a bigger portion of chicken than Tokio. love the batter, it’s crispy, but it’s way too salty for me. Good that there’s a little side of mayo to balance the saltiness and chicken, mayo and rice is a gooooood mix.

Tokio: the batter is thin, it’s soggy and the flavours are subtle. I like the flavours better as its more complex but where is the yummy mayo?

Round Two: this is a hard decision. Sparkly immediately gave Don Bay the vote but even now I could taste the over saltiness of the fried chicken from Don Bay. So, it’s a TIE!

Third round: the BEEF
Both are cooked with glass noodles, with a smattering of ginger.

Don Bay Beef

Tokio Beef

Don Bay: this time, Don Bay’s flavours are More subtle which is nice but the beef has a chewiness to it.

Tokio: you can really taste the flavour combination of this dish- definitely need to eat it with rice! The beef are more succulent and it has a distinct sweetness of mirin to make it less one dimensional

Round Three: TOKIO WINS!


Don Bay: Don Bay’s salad was a scope of creamy potato salad. Enough said.

Tokio: Tokio salad is a bean sprout, tofu and seaweed salad. Whilst I gave it credit for being healthy, sadly the judges thought that it smelt and taste a little bit off. Anyway there is no contest comparing potato to seaweed (as much as I LOVE seaweed)

Last round: Don Bay wins!

So it’s decided! The Battle of Bento winner is Don Bay!

So I was wrong. But sometimes, you just have to have stuff side by side so you can really compare the differences. As I am typing I am already thinking about another battle of lunches. Let the Hunger Games begin and may the odds be forever in your favour.

Don Bay on Urbanspoon

Tokio Japanese on Urbanspoon