The very colorful bento pictured on the left is another kyaraben (character bento) contest winner in Japan. It was made by a mother for her kindergarten age daughter. It features little yellow chick shaped sushi balls (wrapped in usuyaki tamago or thin omelette), fried vegetables in a dashi based sauce, wiener sausages, pickled daikon radish, cherry tomatoes with cheese, and lettuce. Not only is it colorful, it’s nutritious too. (You can check out other entrants in this contest here, here, here, here and here.)
The much more subdued bento on the right is the winner of another Japanese bento contest. It was made by Mrs. Sachie Endo for her husband of 63 years. Mrs. Endo has 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. She still makes all three meals for her husband, and whenever she goes out and leaves him alone at home she makes a bento lunch for him. Because he can’t chew well any more, she often makes his favorite chicken and pork shuumai dumplings. The bento also contains onigiri, fried vegetables in a dashi based sauce, sweet beans and pickles; for the sake of his teeth, she also makes sure to cut up the nori on the onigiri finely, and chop the vegetables small. (The other winning bentos in this contest are here and here.)
Two very different bentos, both made with love.
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