How to Make Cute Bento Lunches


Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images

I wish I could go to Japan right now—just because of how cute all of the food is! So I decided to bring a little bit of Japan to my apartment and make my own super cute food. And you can too. Here are some guides to making adorable Japanese bento lunches.

Tip: Cute food doesn't have to just be in a box! Once I master the art of making those adorable faces, I'm going to start putting them on everything I make. Pancakes, pizza, cookies, tacos—I mean everything.

Cute Bento Recipes by Just One Cookbook

"Equipment you will need:

  • Bento Box
  • Plastic straw
  • A bear shape cookie cutter
  • A bunny shape cookie cutter
  • A round cookie cutter
  • A square sandwich cutter
  • Small scissors
  • Nori punchers
  • Tweezers"

The Ultimate Guide to Bento Menu by Chopstick Chronicles

"When Japanese people pack Bento/Obento, they often consider rice dishes as the main dish. So simply fill half of your bento box with plain cooked rice, or in Onigiri rice ball form, or seasoned rice dishes such as fried rice, Omurice, or Takikomi gohan.  

Once you've packed the rice dish, then choose one or two hero side dishes of Obento. For example in the Obento menu I shared recently, was Meatballs and Tamagoyaki. As I explained in the Obento rules, you need to choose dishes that can be well seasoned. And remember to thicken the sauce and coat well."

Rilakkuma Rice Balls Bento by Love at First Bento

"Let’s talk rice balls. Like, literally, rice shaped into cute little teensy balls that you can just pop into your mouth and eat in one bite. We’re going to step up our rice ball game today and multiply their cuteness times 1 million. Behold: Rilakkuma rice balls, featuring Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and Kiiroitori. They’re deliciously adorable, easy to eat, and a fun upgrade from a boring old white rice bento."

Do You Even Bento? by Not Quite Nigella

"And as for the egg, I don't know who came up with the idea for making animal shapes out of eggs but they are a genius (probably a bento maestro). All you do is boil some eggs, peel them and then pop them into the mold and stick them in a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes (or the fridge but ice water is faster and helps if you only have two molds)."

Follow Hayley Hyer @hayhyer

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