g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Hiking & Backpacking
New Age
Weight Loss
Atheist / Agnostic
Southeast USA

All times in EST

Full Schedule
g Japanese Food Site

BellaOnline's Japanese Food Editor


Kawaii Bento Craze

Guest Author - Chidori Phillips

(Warning: if cuteness annoys the heck out of you, click away now.) Maybe itís cheesy, but the Japanese just love anything *kawaii* or sickeningly sweet, artfully adorable, cartoon-y cute. Cute puppies, cute kids, cute cupcakes, cute miniatures, and now cute lunches. Japanese girls, in particular, have created a craze that combines their love of cute and their love of bento. Shaping rice into irresistible animal faces or rolling sushi so their cut sides show a cartoon design is like food art, if cutesy can be artistic style. I was amazed when I viewed some of the online galleries of cute bento fanatics.

Everything in a kawaii bento is edible which makes the overall creation even more impressive. Now, there are contests in Japan to showcase the best of the best artful bento designs. At the end of this article, I included some links to a few good kawaii bento blogs, books and supplies.

Okay, so I admit that I am a sucker for anything cute, too. I couldnít resist trying to make my own kawaii bento at home for my daughter. But she loves bento and used to take a small bento lunch to her elementary school where other kids were curious about her chopsticks and colorful kamaboko. Today, sheís an adult and less enthused about cute food but she appreciates my efforts nonetheless.

The easiest way to start making kawaii bento is to buy special plastic rice molds, and they are available online. But if you are crafty and/or eco-minded, you can come up with your own tools. For example, you can make small rice balls to fashion a snowman or panda bear. Use craft paper punch tools to cut out shapes from nori (seaweed sheets). My daughter and I brainstormed some ideas for creating scenes or characters out of different types of food. If possible, try to use Japanese foods (pickled vegetables, etc.) for a more authentic bento.

Fruit and vegetables are obvious choices for adding color to your cute characters. But there are a lot of Japanese and American ingredients to consider:

Shrimp flakes (comes in green and red)
Nori flakes (green and black)
Fish roe (orange, yellow, green, red)
Pickled vegetables (brown, green, red, yellow, white)
Kamaboko (pink and white fish cake)
Sesame seeds (white, brown if toasted)
Powdered cheese mix (orange)
Food colors (to tint white rice)
Fruit leathers/roll-ups

In addition to cutely shaped rice, add small servings of delicious Japanese foods like teriyaki chicken slices, potato korokke (croquettes), yaki soba, gyoza, edamame, fresh fruit and steamed vegetables.

This pic is of our most recent bento that we made for our special niece, Amanda *Michi* Simpson to celebrate Halloween. One of the musubi is colored like candy corn while the other is a Frankenstein's monster. Notice the bat-shaped teriyaki Spam and ghost potato? Then, we tucked in some gyoza and "bat" wings for okazu.

Visit us in the BellaOnline Japanese Food forum to share your cute bento ideas. Here are some great kawaii bento blogs, books and bento boxes!


[url=http://www.cookingcute.com]Cooking Cute[/url] A very talented and creative blogger! Check out her gallery.

[url=http://www.kawaii-bento.blogspot.com]Kawaii Bento[/url] Cute American designs.

[url=http://www.kawaii-bento.blogspot.com]Super Cute Kawaii[/url] Not all food-related cuteness, but you can find super cute bento tools and ideas.

Bento boxes:

[url=http://blog.thefind.com/2009/06/bento-box-lunch-boxes/]Too Cute Bento Lunch Supplies [/url]
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Kawaii+Bento+Craze to Twitter Add Kawaii+Bento+Craze to Facebook Add Kawaii+Bento+Craze to MySpace Add Kawaii+Bento+Craze to Del.icio.us Digg Kawaii+Bento+Craze Add Kawaii+Bento+Craze to Yahoo My Web Add Kawaii+Bento+Craze to Google Bookmarks Add Kawaii+Bento+Craze to Stumbleupon Add Kawaii+Bento+Craze to Reddit

RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Japanese Food Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2015 by Chidori Phillips. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Chidori Phillips. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


g features
Nabeyaki Udon Recipe

Tori no Kara-age Recipe

Sata Andagi Okinawa Doughnuts Recipe

Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Less than Monthly

BellaOnline on Facebook

| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2015 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor