You can make “Kyara-ben” too!

Japanese bento, made with a variety of ingredients, are known for their good nutritional balance and their colorfulness. “Kyara-ben” is an evolved and unique version of bento, where popular anime characters, cute animals, and even portraits or scenery are created with food.

Since old times, people in Japan have always come up with new ideas for bento. To make their children happy, mothers made octopus-shaped sausages and drew patterns and pictures by putting Nori, dried seaweed, on top of white rice. In the new millennium, ordinary housewives have started posting pictures of their homemade Kyara-ben on their blogs and it has become so popular that Kyara-ben cooking books are now being published. Kyara-ben contests are held by a variety of groups and judge bento on their levels of design and nutrient balance.

Example of Kyara-ben
(c)Obento decorator, Chiharu Hama

A wide range of handy gadgets are now available for purchase at supermarkets, kitchen goods shops, children’s goods shops and 100 yen shops, so many people can enjoy making Kyara-ben easily. The price is reasonable and they make a great souvenir. Why not try making Kyara-ben at home? It will surely become a popular topic of conversation at your next house party or picnic!

A Doraemon cooking set
(c)Fujiko-Pro,Shogakkan,TV-Asahi,Shin-ei,and ADK Sales agent:Bandai co.,ltd Selling agency:Kai corporation.

A set of rice cutters and stencil plates that help you easily draw the faces of Doraemon and Dorami-chan, popular anime characters.

A Hello Kitty cooking set
(c)1976,2008 SANRIO CO.,LTD. APPROVAL NO.S8022006

If you have cutters for rice and vegetables, and special hole punches to cut Nori, you can easily make a cute Hello Kitty bento.

TOP photo credit
(c)Zakky (Source) TOMODACHI Kyara-ben contest 2014 grand prize