Today’s bento is a little hard to swallow, mainly because it’s full of tiny erasers, not food! I spied these in San Francisco’s Japantown and thought you all might get a kick out of them. See if you can find inarizushi, shumai dumplings, onigiri rice balls (both plain and grilled yaki onigiri), grilled fish, mini hot dogs, a quail egg, cherry tomato, strawberry, apple rabbit, corn dog (!) and a cup of tea (!). (Click on the photo for an annotated version with what’s what.)
My favorite is the apple rabbit, which reminded me of a big bowl I spotted at my son’s Japanese immersion preschool last month during prep for a school lunch. (As you may remember from my apple rabbit how-to, the final step is a soak in cold water to get the “ears” to curl up nicely.) The children usually bring their own bento lunches, but once a month parent volunteers get together to make a communal meal for all of the students. As you can see, apple rabbits were on the menu — classic children’s food in Japan.
For locals, I picked up the little bento eraser sets at Ichiban Kan dollar store for about US$1 per box, and then experienced classic bargain-hunter vindication when I saw the exact same thing for sale at Kinokuniya’s stationery store for US$4.15 each. Ha! Ichiban Kan rules. They also sell the erasers loose, so you can choose your favorites. (See the SF Bay Area shopping guide for bento gear.) (Disclaimer: I have no commercial affiliation with Ichiban Kan.)
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