Bento Japanese Fare at Il Bun Ji Sushi House (Markham) by Steph Chiu
Bento Japanese Fare at Il Bun Ji Sushi House (Markham)
By Steph Chiu
It seems only a short time ago that I first introduced my readers to J-Town, a hidden gem in Markham for an authentic Japanese experience for both dining and shopping… but in fact, they were my first two posts from back in February! (You can read them here and here.)
Today, I will once again be writing about Japanese food, but probably a type that the majority of people are most familiar with: bento.
“Bento” refers to a single-portion meal that is common in Japanese cuisine. The most traditional form of bento served in restaurants is a black-lacquered wooden box divided into several compartments, each designed to hold a different type of food (salad, raw fish, meat, rice, etc.) It is also very common to see bento boxes at schools as these “packed lunches” are a fun, easy way for mothers to prepare and package food for their children to bring to school.
Bento boxes feature prominently in Japanese restaurants in Canada as they are convenient and provide many options in one meal. One of my favourite places to go for a quick bento lunch is Il Bun Ji Sushi House, located in the New Kennedy Square plaza at Kennedy and Highway 7 (southwest corner). Despite the constant crowd of vehicles at this plaza, it’s worth the trouble of finding a parking spot because they offer one of the best lunch special menus I’ve seen yet in the area. Read on to find out more about my experience!
The interior of Sushi House is simple and rustic but very evocative of traditional Japanese imagery: bright lanterns hang overhead, wooden fixtures feature throughout, and Japanese artwork line the walls.
On this visit, I came for lunch. There are two main specials for lunch: a $8 roll combo (includes two rolls of your choice with soup and salad) or one of their bento box meals (includes soup, salad, appetizer, sushi, and entrée) starting from $7. With some of the bento boxes, there is an option to upgrade and add tempura to some of them for only $3, which gets you 2 pieces of shrimp and 5 pieces of vegetables (same price as the tempura appetizer for $6) – an amazing deal, if you can finish it! Tempura is best eaten fresh.
I always go for the bento boxes as I love all the little things included with them. There are many options to choose from, including: kalbi (beef ribs), teriyaki (beef, chicken, or salmon), sushi, and sashimi.
A complementary plate of “Japchae”, or glass noodles made with sweet potatoes, is served to all patrons. We also got a bowl of soup and salad. (Note: the salad might be served as part of your bento box depending on which one you order.)
Here’s the Sashimi Bento with Tempura, which includes appetizer (today we got the agedashi tofu), california roll, tempura, a mixed variety of sashimi, and rice.
This is the Chicken Teriyaki with Tempura, which includes appetizer (agedashi tofu), california roll, tempura, chicken teriyaki with bean sprouts, and rice.
As you can see, the portions are quite generous, and we left feeling very full indeed! After we finished our food, we were also brought a complementary plate of oranges (one half per person, already cut into small pieces) as a dessert. The service was friendly and efficient, with the waitresses always available if you needed tea refills or anything else. Overall, a pleasant dining experience at a great price!
If you plan to visit this restaurant, I would recommend calling ahead as capacity is limited with only about 10 tables inside. Also, if it is your first time coming to this plaza, it might be wise to come a bit before or after the peak dining hours for your best chances of finding a parking spot. New Kennedy Square has been around for many years now and is one of the original Asian plazas in the area, so it’s always packed!