Tired of Eating Grease? Japanese Bento Refreshes the Look of Lunchtime

    Three lil' bears bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Poodles in love bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Flowered meatballs bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Totoro onigiri bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Flying rilakkuma bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Spring horsies bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Speedy bunny bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Twin geese bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Happy matryoshka bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Spring sailboat bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Mini key sandwiches. (Image: gamene/Flickr)April showers bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Happy snail bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Flower kimbap bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Cucumber maki bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Scottie dogs bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Hello kitty bunnies bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Blossom onigiri bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)Fuzzy hedgehog bento. (Image: gamene/Flickr)

    For those stuck with boring, tired lunches, these adorable bento (Japanese boxed lunches) will enliven your afternoon meals. Bento specialist Gamene turns food into art. She makes meals look as artsy as they are healthy.

    This characterization of food is called kyaraben. Besides sushi and wagashi, kyaraben is the other symbol of Japanese food art. It started with Japanese moms making food look cuddly and playful to get kids to eat.

    Today, kyaraben has become high art. Every year Japan holds kyaraben competitions. Lots of international competitors take part. People are getting more and more outrageous with it.

    (Image: gamene/Flickr)

    Japchae frogs bento (Image: gamene/Flickr)

     Who invented bento?

    Japanese moms made bento interesting, but they didn’t invent it. The bento concept first came from samurai, who developed boxed lunches to easily store and transport food.

    (Image: gamene/Flickr)

    Bibimbap onigiri bento (Image: gamene/Flickr)

     Is bento popular in Japan?

    Yes it is! According to Japan Talk most Japanese have bento at least once a week, and bento can represent 50% of a person’s diet.

    (Image: gamene/Flickr)

    Farm sandwich bento (Image: gamene/Flickr)

    Gorgeous! Any other type of bento?

    You might have heard of “ekiben.” It’s a bento sold at train stations throughout Japan and Taiwan, featuring local specialties. Different stations have their own signature ekiben. Some of them are so famous that people take trains just for the bento. There are people known as “ekiben nerds“. They travel around Japan tasting the most well-known eikiben at each station.

    A passion for food lead to the brilliant designs of Japanese bento.

    (Image: gamene/Flickr)

    Vintage stamps bento (Image: gamene/Flickr)

     

    Not enough food art yet? Next try These Gorgeous Landscape Photos Are Made Entirely of Real Food.

     

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