Although I myself am not a passionate cook, I like to watch others make food and enjoy seeing their creativity. So I came over this food trend from East Asia which is called character bento or kawaii bento. It’s about adding cute little faces on your food – especially in your lunch box. And it doesn’t really surprise me that this trend supposedly originated in the country of cuteness: Japan!
Bento is actually a style of presenting food in Japan in which food is neatly placed into a little box and separated into little compounds by tiny sliders. Traditionally, a bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and various pickled or cooked vegetables, yet nothing liquid. Meanwhile rice balls are the most famous components of bentos, but so are buns, sushi, tiny noodle plates, fruit slices or sweet rice cake. These lunch boxes accompany anyone who is not having lunch at home: kindergarteners, pupils, students or employees. As the inside is very carefully taken care of, also the exterior has to be presentable, so one can find many different styles of bento boxes and carry-on bags. Although the classic bento-style is very pretty itself, the character bento rises the artistic edge to another level.
I don’t know if I could eat such a lovely made lunch without feeling a little bad. But I guess, it just honors the filigree craftsmanship of the bento maker. Why don’t we do that for our lunch boxes in Germany? Yes, we go crazily creative when it come to baking, but I wouldn’t mind my lunch smiling at me now and then. I guess we’re just not a cute country…
If you want to learn a little more about these character bento, drop by the English blog of Little Miss Bento from whom I got inspired for this post. Or check out the YouTube channel of 0kaeri Recipe Channel – here you can find more detailed videos how to make faces on your food like this great Totoro Bento: