The Friendly Neighborhood "Bento Man"

Bento lunches from the “Bento Man”, c/o Nippon Restaurant on Waiakamilo Rd.

We all know the neighborhood ice cream man. And of course we can’t forget the Manapua Man.

But hark! Out there pulling up in the front… It’s a van! With some coolers! Get fish! Get Chicken! Get Beef! it’s.. it’s.. it’s BENTO MAN!!!

Well, OK, he’s not spinning webs, leaping tall buildings, or sporting spiffy spandex tights. Yet he’s saving the day never-the-less, fighting off hours of labor-induced hunger by offering a wide variety of fresh-made bentos, flown..err.. driven right up to our doorstep!

Actually Bento Man’s real name is Johnny from Nippon Restaurant, who makes his rounds to various businesses in our area, including our office every Tuesday and Thursday around 11am. He used to show up every Friday, but I suppose he now must reserve that day to save those damsels in lunch-time distress. lol

As you see, there’s quite a selection, kept warm in coolers, which are brought out of his van and spread out in front so everyone can get a good look and grab what they want…

If you click on the enlarged images, you might notice a few folks standing tightly around those coolers. See, when “Bento Man” shows up, it’s a first-come, first-serve deal, and it can get pretty rough and crowded sometimes, where you must jockey for a spot in front to get into one of these blue and white plastic caverns of bento gold. lol

And everyone has their particular favorite item that they hope to dig up.

Mine has always been their California Sushi rolls. For some reason, of all the take-out sushi places I’ve tried (Kozo, Aloha Sushi, Sushi Man, etc., Marukai, Shirokiya), “Bento Man’s” is still the best. Just something about it. “Bento Man’s” grilled Saba is also excellent.

On this particular day, I didn’t buy anything since I already packed lunched, but Diner “E” chose these items…

“Bento Man” – Cone Sushi (Aburage) & Maki Sushi, $1.50

“Bento Man” – Vegetable Tempura (Broccoli, Green Beans & Potato), $1.50

In particular, Diner “E” wanted to show off the simple beauty of this Broccoli Tempura in a cross-section bite…

Looks oishii to me!

Diner “C” chose this…

“Bento Man” – Fried Saimin Noodles & 2 SPAM Musubi

And Diner “A” chose this…

“Bento Man” – Corned Beef Hash and SPAM ‘N’ Eggs Bento, $5

It’s actually very impressive how great-tasting the bento are from “Bento Man”, considering the nature of them being toted around and kept warm in coolers. A testament and toast to the good folks working the kitchen over at Nippon Restaurant. They really know what they’re doing.

On today’s offering shown here, Diner “E” rated his stuff a solid 3 SPAM Musubi, Diner “C” rated her stuff a solid 4, and Diner “A” rated his stuff… well, he didn’t eat it yet. He bought for tomorrow’s lunch

“Bento Man” c/o
Nippon Restaurant
420 Waiakamilo Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96817
more info’

Ah the convenience, economy and most importantly, great tasting grinds from the neighborhood food peddler. Do you have a favorite neighborhood “Bento Man”? Or Manapua Man or Ice Cream Man? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

When I come across the right one, I’ll be sure to cover a future post about the classic neighborhood…


9 thoughts on “The Friendly Neighborhood "Bento Man"

  1. I wonder if your “Bento Man” is our “Bento Man”? Those coolers and the selection looks familiar! Our “Bento Man” comes through Dole Office Building in Iwilei on Wednesdays and Fridays.

  2. Holy cow …did you bring back old memories! I remember that Manapua Man. We used to look forward to eating the warm manapua. (when you think about it now did it not spoil). I also remember the Yasai man with his truckload of vegetables, candy, meat ..etc. It really was a micro mini market all on one truck! I also remember the Ice Cream truck with its catchy tune that kids could hear from a mile away (so you could run and beg for some money from the parents)…wow i feel really old 🙂

    Your photos look so great …all the food looks great. Isn’t it nice to have the meals come to you convenient!

    btw pomai, my ritual is that I look at your site the first thing when i log on the pooter …i am so addicted to your great website, photos, recipes with instructions, reviews …etc. super super ono job!!!!

  3. At my former employer, the people at the front desk would announce the arrival of the Bento Man over the speaker system by saying, “B is available in the Ewa parking lot. B is available in the Ewa parking lot.” “B” was the Bento Man’s code name.

  4. Your site is simply the best…one can just smell the wonderful aromas and taste the delicious grindz…
    Wish we had something even remotely similar here on the mainland…
    Keep up the great work; I read your blog daily and always look forward to your latest postings.
    Mahalo for making me smile at lunchtime…

  5. Ryan! As you might notice, I added the information about exactly where those bento lunches are from AFTER you read the initial entry. See, “Bento Man” has come around our neck of the woods (not far from your current office!) for years, yet I’ve never bothered to research the details on who exactly they were. All I knew was that it was “Nippon” something.

    But yes, based on proximity of where we both work, I’m pretty sure our “Bento Man” is the same one as your “Bento Man”!

    Lindy! Yeah, that’s a classic “Manapua Man” photo, courtesy of the Star Bulletin. There’s a Manapua shop somewhere in Pearl City that uses the same type of image for their menu cover.

    Marvo, our office also has a “code” for “Bento Man”. We call the various departments and spread the word simply by saying “Bento Man”. That’s all they need to hear, then you see the doors get busted down as folks rush towards the parking lot. lol

    Hello also to Panna (thank you for the kind words), Jody, Kateri and Kat!

  6. We love our Bento Man on Mondays and Wednesdays!!! Cone sushi for $1.25 for a morning snack is the best for a break during work…..
    All of the food is good, fresh, cheap and he always comes to our building at the same time, so you can count on him showing up at 10 AM without fail. Kapiolani Business Plaza

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