You’ve probably had a bento box down at your local Japanese restaurant; rice, pickled veges, sushi, maybe some chicken katsu and a bowl of miso on the side. Elegant, delicious, and ideal for those who like their food organised in small compartments.
But, we can guarantee that you haven’t seen bentos like these before. The beauty of social media has meant that bento boxes have become fodder for home cooks to turn their meals into quirky works of art - and we are very much on board.
Singapore-based Instagrammer Tian Min Lim creates incredibly elaborate bento box lunches for her daughters that feature cartoon and anime characters crafted using different foods.
Her Instagram account, 5amBento, boasts an impressive 30,000 followers waiting eagerly for her next update.
“I have always wanted to make beautiful bento boxes as a child after coming across a bento book which my cousin bought from Taiwan,” Lim tells SBS.
“Then when I quit my job as a college teacher to look after my elder gal who entered primary school, I started making bento boxes for her to bring to school.”
Lim says that her bentos aren’t just popular online; her daughters spend each lunchtime crowded by classmates who want to find out what type of bento they have for the day, and Lim has started to teach bento art classes around Singapore.
“I always try to create themed bentos based on my gals daily lives,” explains Lim.
“For example, a bento for back to school, a bento to cheer them on during exam period, or maybe a bento to remember the places that they visited.”
Lim is not the only Instagrammer creating elaborate, themed bento boxes for their family.