Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bento: A not-so-Japanese Bento

This is also one of my first few bento attempts. The spagetti was leftover from dinner the night before.
It tasted so good! To add to all the goodness: It was cooked with lots of tender loving care from Mr Bear  :D
The little white cube on the top is our fish apartment. Mr Bear figured out that since we live in an apartment, it will also be quite cool if our (future) fish also lives in one.

 Heres a breakdown on what's in this bento that's not typically japanese:
-Leftover spagetti
-Sliced cucumber (seperated by 2 rectangular silicon cake molds)
-Green seedless grapes

Bento Accessories - Egg Shapers

This are egg shapers I bought in one of the Daiso stores when I went to Singapore for holidays last summer. At about 1,20 euro for both of them, they are definitely a steal! (But  I wouldn't recommend flying to almost the other end of the world to just buy one 1,20euro item. Just get it online from your regular online bento store. They might be a few euros more expensive, but certainly beats the price of your air-ticket and hotel stay.)

Needless to say, I spent almost 4 hours just in 1 Daiso store, running around like a mad woman. This is not the only item I bought and I will try to show you the rest in another post.

Here's how to use them:
-First hard boil the eggs.
-Peel the shells off while the eggs are still hot. This is very important, you have to make sure they are still hot, else the shape won't form properly.
-Place 1 egg in each mold, on the side without the snap closures
-Gently snap the molds close
-Leave them in the refridgerator for at least 10-15 minutes to cool
-Open the molds and VOILA! the eggs will be formed nicely.
-Cut the eggs into half and there you have! Heart-shaped and Star-shaped eggs ready for your bento!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Onigiri Girls

This was made for Mr Bear sometime in the beginning of december on a day I forgot to buy veges.
Bento Onigiri Girls

Egg Omelette Roll
2 Surimi sticks (aka imitation crab meat)

I've only used a tiny bit of the red part of the surimi sticks for the mouths and rolled the egg omelette around the remaining of the sticks.

My treasure box

↑ this is where I stash all my bento accessories
Just like many bento enthusiasts, I like to collect bento accessories that I come across here and there. Unfortunately, they all come in irregular shapes and sizes.

Under normal circumstances, I would probably just rush to any MUJI (short form of Mujirushi Ryōhin or 無印良品) store to get their PET storage solutions and flexible storage dividers.

If you are reading this in Europe, chances are high that there is at least 1 MUJI store in your country. They are available in UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Italy and even Turkey and Poland. I simply love the simplicity and functionality of their clever designs.
Here is the link for MUJI: MUJI

Strangely they are not available in the Netherlands and Belgium. Instead, there is HEMA here. It stands for Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam, which literally means the Dutch Company of Fair Prices Amsterdam. Sounds rather complicated, but its one of the Netherlands' oldest shop chains that sells almost everything under the sun at a fair price. 

During my days studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven, I was given a chance to visit the HEMA headquarters as part of a school excursion. We were encouraged to ask the PR and Marketing staff of HEMA as many questions as we like. Strangely enough, the HEMA folks seemed to think that HEMA is going into the direction of MUJI but at the same time couldn't concretely grasp the true essence of what MUJI is about when prompted. As for me, I was already silently giggling to myself (because I was too polite) at the mention of "HEMA being similar to MUJI". hahaha, no way man, how can these 2 stores ever be similar!! To make a comparision between this 2 stores is so horrible, that its almost vulgar. 

MUJI will never ever use such strong colours like magenta and have such loud prints on their products!! It was quite a sight because I saw my Japanese classmates trying very hard not to crinch, saw my other asian classmates obviously crinching in disgust, saw my German/French/British classmates having doubtful expressions. I begin to pity the PR and Marketing department of HEMA a little for the embarrasements we might have caused.

I've decided to put a link for HEMA here so that you can make a comparision as well.

Don't get me wrong or anything like that. I don't hate HEMA, in fact I think the stuff in HEMA are pretty decent in their own ways, its just that it felt sooooo wrong for the staff to actually put themselves along the lines of MUJI. 

That said, admittedly sometimes I still go to HEMA for basic loud colour stuffs and their famous rookworst (smoked sausages). One day, I was loitering round their stationery department and randomly come across this A4 size storage boxes, carelessly tucked in a little forgotten corner. Fantastic! Maybe HEMA is trying real hard afterall, its just that its going to take a long time before all their staff can fully grasp the real MUJI concept :)

Rabbits and Elves

Its Boxing Day a few days back. Mr Bear and I just got back to our little apartment after 2 days of over-the-top Christmas binging at his parents' place. On Monday, its back to work for him and back to my books for me. I wanted something that isn't that rich after two days worth of Christmas menus. Yet at the same time, I am still clinging on to that Christmas/ Holiday mood and refused to go back to reality. Thus I made this Rabbit and Elves bento for Mr Bear so that he'll have a nice leisurely lunch the next day. I hope you'll enjoy it too!

Bento Box
-metaphys ojue lunch box

-rocket leaves

-inari-sushi (稲荷寿司) *fancy sounding name, but not that difficult*
Grab some abura-age (japanese tofu-skin pouches), you can get this in japanese supermarkets or even oriental supermakets. Carefully open the pouches. Make round clown-nosed sized riceballs and stuff the rice ball into it. Tuck in the raw edges of the pouches and carefully position nori eyes and mouth.

-sliced red apples, soaked in water and lemon juice solution to prevent the apples from turning brown.

-red seedless grapes

Adventures of Bento Cat

Welcome to my blog! With Adventures of Bento Cat, I hope to document the daily happenings of my life through pretty and delicious bentos stuffed and filled with TLC (Tender Loving Care) and more!

Years and years ago, when I was still in my mid twenties, I was living in the little sunny island of Singapore. One day one of my friends sent me this funny picture on msn:
It wasn't done by her and she has no idea who was the mysterious original maker of this bento as well. *If you are the original maker of this cute cat bento and reading this, please let me know so that I can credit your work here*

I started doing a search and found a couple of other pictures of too-cute-to-eat bento sets. Because cooked food is so readily and cheaply available in Singapore, it had never dawned to me to make anything like this Bento Cat you see here. It is perfectly normal for people to eat out everyday for lunch and dinner and sometimes supper as well! So it had never really occured to me that this picture is for real. It is so impressive that my friend and I decided that this picture is just a part of a food stylist's portfolio, and ordinary folks like me will certainly never be able to make anything like this.

Now that I'm *slightly* (ahem!) older, married to Mr Bear and going back to school as a full time student and being based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I was literally forced to grow up fast! My school schedule is/has been crazily busy and so is Mr Bear's work schedule. We have no time to eat! and comparatively, the food culture in here is erm... just like the country, really quite flat. Its rather common to see 2-metre tall grown man chomping only one banana and calling that a lunch! During the evening peak hours, you'll also see a fair share of commuters eating french fries drowned in mayonaise. Hopefully those fries aren't supposed to be a dinner.

I have been whining to my university about the school canteen selling tasteless and inedible foods, but nobody seems to care or the replies I usually get are around the lines of, "food is not as important, we have other priorities to take care about." Apparently eating here, is just seen as a means to remove the nasty hungy feeling! Call me a glutton or whatever you want, but this is it! I have to do something about providing myself and Mr Bear some kind of pleasure to look forward to during our lunchtime!

I started googling recipes for quick and easy lunch and for some strange reasons, that Bento Cat creeped up again! ha, being a totally non-logical person, I took it as a sign and since that I have never looked back!

Adventures of Bento Cat is a platform for me to document my Bento adventures. Please feel free to drop me comments and hopefully one day I can be a successful bentoist! I can be contacted at

Shanna the Bento Cat

About Bento Cat

My photo
Amsterdam, Netherlands
I'm Shanna and I enjoy bento making a lot. I'm also a wife, daughter,sister,a full-time student, previous fashion and product designer, nerd and super foodie all rolled into one. With Adventures of Bento Cat, I hope to document the daily happenings of my life through Bentos filled with Tender Loving Care and more! I can be contacted at
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