One of the things that I made sure to bring with me from Japan was all of my super cute amazing tools for making bento – lunch boxes – because I knew it would not be available in Hong Kong. Thankfully in Japan they are a dime a dozen, and every dollar store sells them.
So how to make kawaii bento? It doesn’t take much fancy ingredients; the trick is in turning something ordinary, like a carrot, into something cute, like a heart. A lot of times I think kids also want something small and bite sized for their tiny fingers instead of something big and messy, so cute little bites seem to do the trick.
Here are some of the easy and fast things I like to put in The Kid’s obento:
- Carrot hearts – slice the carrots and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to punch out the shape
- Big eyed shrimp – I bought frozen shrimp, pan fried it, and stuck the eye picks in the top
- Three little bears – Slice a pice of Spam and use a bear-shaped cookie cutter to punch the shape (you can use any shape, really). Place the bears on a bed of rice (let the rice cool though)
- Edamame – Out of the pod though in the pod is OK too
- Rabbit/Bear Eggs – Put a hard boiled egg (peeled) into a plastic egg mold to get a cute shape/face, in this case a rabbit
- Silicone cups of salad – Tiny tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, whatever kid likes
- Pan fried dumplings – If your kids does like them, that is
- Sandwiches – But using a Hello Kitty bread stamp. You can put anything inside – ham and cheese, or honey and PB
I know exactly what you are going to say……
But really, it does not take long! The ingredients are simple enough – rice or pasta, some kind of meat, kid’s favorite veggies or fruits, eggs, cheese, easy right? And no lie, every single day my kid comes home with a 100% empty lunch box. So why not put in a little bit more creativity to encourage kids to eat? A plain old sandwich and an apple every day is pretty dreadful. Really, this cute shit is pretty easy once you get the hang of it and I think worth the effort, because what is the use of your child coming home every day with a half eaten lunch box?
However…. making this stuff may not be so easy if you don’t have the required tools.
So, if anyone out there is interested in embracing the concept of cute obento, I have a specific limited time offer.
I will gladly send you a package of stuff through the mail in exchange for a few packages of Chief Brand Curry Powder, because my stocks are running low and I cannot make curry out of anything else.