Sunday, March 6, 2011


I get very excited about bento. A Japanese version of a lunchbox, bento has devoted followers not just in Japan, but all over the world. And I can see why. It appeals to my senses of order and pretty - some bentoists go to elaborate measures to present food in the most attractive way possible. I just like how it looks in its tiny little sections, all delicately garnished and separate and cute. And please, don't get me started on the containers themselves... they were just about the only thing I brought back from Japan!

Below is how I'd have my lunch every day if only I had the time, the inclination, and the skill:

Never gonna happen.

Below is one way that bento can be constructed in Japan for either lunch or dinner:

I love the random bits of one orange segment or one cherry tomato.

Below is how a lazy Australian Veggie Mama packs a bento:

Still tastes good!

Extra snacks :)

Fruit and treats.
I love bento for the excuse I get to have cute things and make my food look pretty. On the plus side, the food also tastes good. On the negative side, it can take slightly more effort than slapping some Vegemite on Wonder White and throwing some Iced Vo-Vos in Glad Wrap. But honestly? Not much more. The point is to have it tightly packed, garnished, cracks filled and tiny portions of lots of things. Speaking of tiny portions, Japan was Veggie Mama's dream come true. Everything I ate was dainty and perfectly proportioned for me - right down to the three artfully-placed drops of ketchup next to my neatly mounded mashed potatoes. sigh.

For this I've added some dinner leftovers... veggies sauteed in garlic, chili, teriyaki sauce and rice wine vinegar, some rice, and two bamboo-wrapped mock chicken pieces. Hello Kitty contains wasabi peas, cherry tomatoes and edamame for snacking or as extras (extra containers are known as 'sidecars' among the bento enthusiasts) and the Clickety Click container with grapes, a jam sandwich and a cream cheese sandwich cut into shapes, and a mini Hershey treat. The top of this container kills me with its Engrish - it says "Yummy yummy, my name is Rinda. I love the white cake. And sweet cherries", and has a picture of a yellow, winking rabbit. ADORABLE.

There are tons of bento blogs for you to check out, should you be so inclined, with tons of ideas to make your food cute. Some make Pokemon cheese shapes for their kindergartners, some colour their rice blue and make a full underwater scene with their food. Some press boiled eggs into various shapes that imprint cheerful faces on them, some cut octopi out of hot dogs. I will be doing all this and more when Bumpington goes to school, so lets put the good vibe out there now that it will be a girl, as I"m not sure a son would ever forgive me....


  1. I've never made Bento but would looooove to. You're a champ :)

  2. Fussy Eater's MumAugust 25, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Oh I so love Face Food (and bento too)! The care, the effort, the time...if only I had any of those. Love the butterflies. May use that for the Darlings and surprise them (an myself).

    Love the new look of the site, by the way. Sorry for not visiting soon...

  3. Oh I love me a good bento. Pretty AND delicious! And as you say, very easy ... even I can't stuff it up!

  4. Dani from Hello OwlAugust 25, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    We LOVE bento. Although we dont have pretty lunch boxes their way to expensive for something that might get lost at school. How cute are those photos above.

  5. oh, I have seen websites about this before, so pretty!!
    I am putting a lot of effort into the lunchbox I am packing for my son, it's not as representative but I like to give him the choice of different little boxes or sections of food to combine or nibble on their own.. i think it's a loving act to prepare food for someone like this (and i am very annoyed that he has now discovered the tuckshop.. )

  6. OH YUM! If that is your lazy Australian Veggie Mama lunch, I'd love to see a not lazy one.

  7. Love your interpretation of the bento box, especially those adorable butterfly shaped sandwiches!

  8. I just saw in your related links that you have this already, but this one can be for your gorgeous new design :)
    I've nominated your lovely blog for a Stylish Blogger Award here

  9. That looks so delicious!!
    I'm afraid I don't have the patience to make things look pretty...they are eaten before they even reach the plate!
    We have a restaurant in Wollongong called the Bento House which I'm going to rape once this little person is out of my belly.

  10. Hey that's not so bad! Now I'm thinking I should be more creative in preparing lunch so hopefully it will get eaten & won't return home as is. And I heart Hello Kitty, I got tons of merchandise with HK on it when I was a child. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I love this post and @glutenfreegirl reminded me about it this morning so I came back for another look. Where can I buy one in Brisbee?

  12. I adore this post! I think I need to get me a Hello Kitty bento box! If my boys don't like it too bad, I would really enjoy doing this (though really, blue rice in an underwater theme?! Seriously over the top hehe) And so will my little girl when she starts kindy one day : )

  13. Lorraine @ Not Quite NigellaAugust 25, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    I can't believe how intricate they are! The Hello Kitty one is amazing! :o I don't know if I could eat it as it is a work of art!

  14. Cute, cute, cute! (And I love your new Sass blog lift). Gorgeous!!

  15. I think your bento lunch looks amazing! Sure beats the Fritz and sauce sandwiches I got as a kid!


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