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Bento #100!!!!!

After long, tiring, endless, painful hours of planning (2 hours this afternoon) and a quick tossing together in the kitchen tonight (3 1/2 hours) I have finally completed my 100th bento! It’s a sealife theme featuring some creatures that I’ve seen before on the crazy Japanese bento site

Bento 100

The corners each hold 3 pieces of maki: 1 cucumber, 1 ume, and 1 avocado. Tucked inside the three pieces is a piece of okra. I have no idea what it tastes like, but it looks cute. heh.

The ocean water in the middle is made of white rice dyed blue and green to give it a more aqua look. Here’s a close-up.

Ocean Close-up

At the bottom I have some furikake “sand” with a crab hotdog on it with cheese/nori eyes. I learned tonight that Redondo Hawaiian Winners, though nice and bright red, do not make for good bento hot dogs. They’re very difficult to cut due to the little balls of fat. Plus, finding little balls of fat is gross in itself. I’ll stick with turkey hot dogs!

The coral is cut with an exacto knife out of bell peppers. The fishies are carved out of carrots and bell peppers. The starfish is made out of kamaboko (fishcake) and has sesame seed eyes and a nori mouth. The squid in the middle is made from a Redondo hot dog and the head is a thin slice of turkey hot dog.

Since this is an obscene amount of rice, I doubt I will be eating the ocean. The 12 pieces of maki and the two hot dog pieces are more than enough to fill me up for lunch. It sure doesn’t feel like I’ve done 100 bentos!

Many of you know that I’m giving away some bento items in celebration of today’s lunch. I wrote everyone’s name on a piece of paper and folded them all up and put them into a little lacquer bento box. Baby Girl picked one out and the winner is…

Jennie from the US!

Why Jennie loves bento:

Because I need and want my children to eat healthy well balanced meals. Plus sometimes it is just cool!

Congratulations Jennie! Funnily enough, I shook those little papers around like crazy and yet the person who won was the last person to enter. ^_^ I’ll be in touch for address info and what not!

My regular readers may remember that I mentioned a certain okazuya shop a couple weeks ago in Hilo called Y’s Lunch Shop. My Aunty K did in fact deliver me some of their awesome fried fish and musubi and it tasted exactly as I remembered it. Having just relived the old taste memories of high school so recently, I was very sad to receive an e-mail informing me that the “Pop” of this little “Mom and Pop” okazuya store had passed away. Frustratingly, I don’t remember his first name; I only knew him as “Mr. Miyamoto”.

He was a very kind old man, I remember going next door to buy something to eat and sometimes he’d give me a couple extra potatoes. (probably cause he’d seen me scrounging in the car for any little coins to use) I remember sitting on the back steps watching him bring back bags of food from the downtown KTA, wondering how it was possible for him to buy ingredients at the same market we shop at and yet produce such amazing fried chicken, egg, fish, and spam musubi. They’d be there at I swear, 3 or 4 am to start cooking their addictive food. Sometimes at the end of the day when they hadn’t sold everything, he’d pack it all up and give it to me or my brother. I had this massive crush on his oldest grandson who I never did get the courage to talk to during the summers he was in Hilo.

I dedicate my 100th bento to Mr. Miyamoto, who smiled a lot and gave to us whenever he could. May Y’s Lunch Shop always be there on Keawe Street. Hilo just wouldn’t be the same without it.