If you ever feel like your plate doesn’t spark joy, and let’s be honest, it happens more often than we’d like to admit, you may wanna get yourself inspired by this Japanese food art. Also known as kyaraben, it features fun and super kawaii food assembled in elaborate styles and compositions.
And one food artist from Osaka, Japan who goes by the nickname Boc_Metal is a perfect example of bringing back fun to the table. The guy makes cute little characters and intricate scenes from the ingredients he finds at home: from rice to zucchini and Japanese omelette, everything turns into edible pieces of wonder.
Let’s take a look at Boc_Metal’s creations down below, but let me warn you that Totoro soba may become the only kind of soba noodles that you need in your life from now on.
If you’re already familiar with the similar concept of bento, you’ll probably know what kyaraben is all about. This is basically the same type of home-packed and pre-prepared style of lunch box meal, but ten times more cute, quirky and fun.
To find out more about this kind of Japanese food art, Bored Panda reached out to Rina Lund, bento enthusiast and blogger at “Bento School Lunches.” Rina explained that bento is a compact, balanced, visually appealing meal packed in a box. Meanwhile, kyaraben is “a type of bento based on characters, people, or any fun food in general.”
Kyaraben refers to the most elaborate and intricate food arrangements where imagination and creativity has no limits.
It turns out, both kyaraben and bento are extremely popular in Japan, “especially kyaraben, which is typically based on anime or movies,” said Rina. The bento food blogger explained that bento is used as both a way of balanced nutrition because it uses “a general packing rule of thumb of 3 parts carbs, 1 part protein, and 2 parts fruits and vegetables.” But most importantly, “it is a way to express your food in an artistic way.”
This type of Japanese food art originated as a fun way to tackle picky eating in young children, but it soon blew up all over social media and became a legit bento art subgenre with hundreds of thousands of followers around the world.
Every kyaraben composition features a fun edible recreation of popular characters from Disney, studio Ghibli, and Sanrio. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Totoro, and Hello Kitty are among the most common ones, but the artist is always free to come up with their own imaginary creatures.
The best part about the super cute lunch is that it doesn’t take a whole lot. All you need are the ingredients waiting for you in the fridge and a couple of handy bento tools like vegetable cutters, rice molds, nori hole punches, stencil plates, and any other kitchen gadgets you can find in a baking aisle or children’s section in a supermarket.
In fact, bento art for many Japanese is very culturally important because it serves as a means of communication between the maker and the one who eats it. The love and care that you put in a bento meal is reflected in the immaculate attention to detail and the incredible compositions that took hours to make.
Moreover, most bento are made of carefully selected healthy ingredients because this is how Japanese mothers ensure their loved ones are taken care of and eat healthy food.