"It's your birthday, where would you like to go?"
"It's a public holiday this Wednesday, any place you wanna go?"
"Hey, it's our anniversary next week, where should we go?"
There are two things in the world Mr Mode is steadfast about - his love for family + me, and as you can tell from the above, the zoo. It's always the ZOO ZOO ZOO. It's the first place he can think of for a date or any day worth celebrating, and also the last even after much deliberation.
When he says 'zoo', it means only the Singapore Zoo and River Safari, not the Bird Park nor Night Safari.
We're not big on anniversaries and the sort. Before we got married, we didn't celebrate any anniversary simply because we couldn't recall when we actually got together. You'd think we'll put more effort into remembering our big day after we got married, but no! Usually a few days would pass then one of us will come around and say 'It was our anniversary 3 days ago! Happy anniversary love!" and that's it - no lavish dinner, no fancy bouquet, no expensive gifts, and surprisingly, I'm ok with that! It's our 4th year of marriage and it's the first time we actually remembered! LOL.
This year though, I remembered! And to make it a special one, I made a bento for him, complete with zoo animals and an over-enthusiastic caricature of himself.
This bento is:
- Fun to look at
Bento Lion Tutorial
Here's a tutorial on how to make the lion.
- Cut the corn into 1.5" pieces. Don't worry that the centre looks unpresentable, it will be covered by cheese!
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out the lion's face from orange cheese
- Draw the lion's muzzle with a toothpick from white cheese and lift it carefully
- Use a nori punch to punch out the lion's eyes, nose, mouth, whiskers
- Place the orange cheese face in the centre of the corn
- Place the white cheese muzzle slightly above the horizontal middle line
- Using a tweezer, arrange the nori for the eyes, nose, mouth, and whiskers
- Place white roasted sesame seeds on the muzzle
Tip: Place the corn in a small dish to keep it free from fingerprints and dirt.
- Cooked Japanese short grain rice
- 2 slices tamagoyaki
- 1 sheet aburaage
- 1 cheese ball
- 1.5" corn, boiled
- A little ham
- 2 quail eggs, cooked
- 1 baby carrot, boiled
- 1 slice carrot, boiled
- Some roasted white sesame seeds
- Seaweed sheet
- Crab stick, red part
- Orange cheese
- White cheese
- Bacon wrapped asparagus
- Stir-fried okra with shimeji mushrooms
- Cherry tomato
- Baby carrot
- Craft punch
- Cookie cutter
- Leaf bento pick
- Hat & ribbon bento pick
- Flag bento pick
- Elephant bento pick
- Butterfly bento pick
- Lion bento pick
- Giraffe: Cut off the edge of 1 tamagoyaki slice and place it adjacent to the other slice to form the head and body of the giraffe. Using a craft punch, cut out the eye and nose from nori sheet. Using scissors, cut out random shapes from nori for giraffe's spots. Dab a tiny amount of ketchup on the cheek.
- Monkey: Wrap a smaller portion of rice (compared to panda and humans) in cling wrap. Remove cling wrap and wrap aburaage over rice, cover with cling wrap to make aburaage adhere to rice. Cut out monkey's face from white cheese. Remove cling wrap and place cheese on aburaage. Cut ears from cheese ball and place white cheese for inner ear. Attach cheese ball ears to the monkey head with pasta sticks. Using a craft punch, cut out eyes, nose and mouth from nori sheet. Dab a tiny amount of ketchup on the cheeks.
- Panda: Wrap rice in cling wrap to form the head. Wrap small portions of rice in cling wrap, then wrap them in nori to form the ears. Use a pair of scissors to cut from nori the ears, nose, and mouth. Place 2 white sesame seeds for the eyes.
- Lion: See tutorial above. I'd like to add that you should cook the corn from scratch instead of buying vacuum packed ones because those will squish up the kernels and you won't have fluffy kernels for the mane.
- Rabbit: Cut out ears from one quail egg and attach them to the top of the other quail egg. Cut out rabbit's inner ears and nose from ham. Using a craft punch, cut out the eye and nose from nori sheet.
- Boy: Add ketchup to warm rice to get the desired 'human' shade. Mix well until the color is even. Shape the boy's head and right hand using cling wrap. Use scissors to cut out the boy's hair from nori and wrap it around the shaped rice. Cover with cling wrap again to make nori adhere to rice. Punch out boy's eyes and tongue from craft punch. Cut out a wide mouth from the red part of crab stick using a round cookie cutter. Dab a tiny amount of ketchup on the cheeks. Place a red flag in the boy's hand and let him wear a hat.
- Girl: Same as boy. Instead of a hat, place two ribbons in her hair.
- Place bacon wrapped asparagus and stir-fried okra with shimeji mushrooms as desired. Insert a butterfly bento pick for some pink. You can use lettuce or put the side dishes in silicone cups to prevent the oil from staining the bento box.
- Fill empty spaces with vegetables such as broccoli, cherry tomato, baby carrot, lettuce.
- Create dimension and color by adding bento picks.
Obviously this many characters wouldn't fit nicely into one box to be brought to the office, so I had my husband have it for dinner. You can either get a bigger lunchbox or divide them into two boxes.
This anniversary bento means so much to me in many ways - that I actually remembered our wedding anniversary, that I managed to pull off this overly ambitious kyaraben with so many characters, that it's my comeback post after a hiatus of 5 months, that it's the first food post in a loooong time, and that it marks the start of something new! 😀
If you liked it, please pin it!