So excited to share this with you guys! Presenting… the panda sushi bento box! I was so proud of how this turned out. I mean, look at that little guy, munching away on his spring onion bamboo. Kawaii overload right here.
I suppose the real question here is; how did this come about! Well, I was trying to think of some cool things to surprise Amy with, lunchbox wise, and started getting into the idea of making a stylised bento box. I talked with my best friend and she suggested doing panda sushi. Best idea ever! Anyway the panda sushi went through a few iterations, like little sushi pieces that had the fillings and nori make them look sort of pandaeqsue when you laid them flat, face up. Cute! Eventually though, I decided that, while still absolutely adorable, I wasn’t happy with disembodied little panda heads floating about my lunchbox – I wanted full-size ones roaming around in their own little forest! And thus, the panda bento box was born 😀
Being my first ever bento, this presented challenges, but I feel we overcame them in the end. One big thing was balancing ‘this looks like something I want to eat’ with ‘this is visually somewhat representative of a panda’. Edibility factor plays a huge part is these things. I mean, I could have just drawn the features of the panda’s face on with a sharpie and it would have been much easier, but I feel Amy (or the poisons control centre) may not have appreciated it so much. So I had to learn nori cutting the hard way. Hint, it dries and curls up when you’re handling it and is a nightmare! But once that little hurdle was jumped over, the rest just fell into place and ta da – panda sushi bento.
I feel it was especially cool seeing how certain parts fitted into both categories of edibility vs aesthetic. Like the pickled ginger! I used it to make them blush and for some little background decoration, but they actually really lift the flavour of the sushi rice – pickled ginger and sushi are best friends, after all. The little miso watering hole provides the much needed salty element, and the rest of the box are just delicious, crunchy vegetables to chomp on as you make your way through the panda. Needless to say, Amy was thrilled, and i’d highly recommend giving bento making a go – super fun.
- Sushi rice, nori, ginger, spring onion, edamame, enoki mushrooms, pak choi, kale, miso soup, carrots, pickled ginger
If you love the single-compartment look, try the updated Lunchbots Bento Uno. It’s a newer, more compact version of the one we used here!