As already shortly mentioned food here in Tokyo (Japan?) is quite expensive in comparison to good old Dresden. Bentos are a cool invention but i do eat a lot and they just won’t do it for me. Furthermore they are mostly the same, don’t include much vegetables and are pricey on the long run.
So homemade food it is. I reduced my meat consumption and only buy locally available / accessible vegetables. A list of prices can be seen here.
What i normally cook and use is the following:
Japanese supermarket offer thin sliced stripes of meat. I often go with pork which is the least expansive one. Because the expiry date is very short i buy it in bulk and precook it beforehand and store it in the fridge afterwards.
Sausages are also a good alternative to meat in general and go very well with fried rice. Occasionally i buy 1kg of chicken wings. For around 460 yen this is actually a sweet deal, however i have to precook them, which is quite time consuming, because here you don’t want to leave an unfinished open back of chicken wings. Sometimes fish and chicken heart is reduced which makes for a good change. I also tried 1kg of lungs once, but unless you really like it i wouldn’t recommend it. A very good alternative is also Tofu, which can be fried and put into the freezer for a long period. Again this is a little bit time consuming but very cost efficient. I calculate around 100 yen of meat per meal.
I mostly use pak choi, Japanese spinach, cabbage, leek, Daikon, carrots, mushrooms and onions as vegetables base. Frozen vegetables are also viable such as beans and broccoli. Potentially zucchini are also one of the more cheaper products. For vegetables as well it is around 100 yen per meal.
I just don’t buy any.
I mainly use 3 sauce types:
- A peanut butter base sauce, with coconut milk and normal milk (can be made in bulk and stored for longer)
- Japanese style sauce similar to teriyaki which is used in dishes like Gyuudon. It is based on soy sauce and Mirin
- Curry style: using coconut milk and curry paste
Including the costs of rice (which is around 50 yen per meal) i can reduce the cost of a homemade meal to around 300 yen, whereas a similar big Bento would cost around 400-550 yen. If you calculate it per day and times two it makes some difference. Additionally it is just fun to use the “resources the environment provides us”.