Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sole Piccata

I visited Yvo's site @ The Feisty Foodie and tried a recipe from a competition that she's having for July. When I compared pictures, they didn't look the same!

When my husband saw the fish all 'dressed' individually, he exclaimed "Wah! Fine dining tonight?" I grinned at him and told him to eat up!

I must share with you my husband's eating habits. He's what our local people call a "China man". He has to have rice for dinner or at least once a day. Two days without rice and he'd behave like a bull in a China shop.

When he was in Australia with #1, he was complaining about the food. "No more sausages, burgers, beetroot and fries"!! "We have to walk 45 minutes to the closest shop selling Chinese"! Well it was World Youth Day and they can't possible serve 300,000 portions of Chicken rice! LOL!

My eldest daughter is exactly like the father! They get along like a house on fire. Rice for her is also the order of the day. "Bak kut teh" (Herbal pork ribs) with rice is fine night and day. Anything with rice is good. The Chinese has a name for these type of people - "Fan Thong" (rice pot). She enjoys all other international foods but rice is her staple.

My second daughter is very versatile. She can eat anything under the sun and enjoy it like a real food connoisseur. She can survive with or without rice. Bread all day long is also a good choice. Japanese food 24/7 would be an ideal. Her dream - to own a music school with a Japanese restaurant next door! *faints*

Anyway, when they tried the Sole Piccata this is what each said:

Husband: Very nice but not enough sauce. (I didn't add enough white wine because I thought the kids may not like it).

#1: Mmmmm....very nice mum! But next time leave out the peas. "What peas?" I asked. #2 chipped in "Aikes...they are CAPERS not peas!" "Huh! What's capers?". *faints some more*

Obviously #2 also enjoyed it and she could tell what was the ingredients to the dish too. If you want to try out the recipe, go here.

BENTO #115

Yesterday #2 didn't go to school. She had school projects to complete before she leaves for Korea for a Piano Competition in two weeks time. Not going to school meant no Bento so obviously there was no Bento post yesterday.

I planned this last night so it wasn't much of a hassle. I basically steamed the rice early this morning to make the Onigiri. The Salmon was brought out from the freezer last night and fried this morning. Half of it went to the Onigiri and the other half, I just simmered it in red miso and mirin. It was very flavorful.

On the right box is some simmered Kombu, blanched mushrooms and veggies mixed in garlic oil and shoyu. There was an orange for dessert.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bento competition has officially ended

Dear Bento friends

I wish to announce to you that Bento Pet's Bento Competition has officially ended 29, July 2008, 12a.m. Malaysian time. (Please look at the clock at my side bar).

Thank you to all who has submitted your Bento entries. I am currently sorting them out and it is extremely exciting as well as stressful because it is almost impossible to choose THE ONE!

Please be patient while I work on the post to announce the short listed Bentos. I am trying my best to work it out as soon as possible.

Thank you!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shortlisted Bentos

Congratulation to the fourteen shortlisted Bentos (in alphabetical order) from more than sixty multiple submissions worldwide for the Bento Pet's Bento competition!! It's been really exciting to daily open my mail box to see new submissions.

Needless to say, all the Bentos were "delicious"! The result of this competition is really not the qualifying factor of whether your Bento is good enough or better than the other. The purpose of this competition is really meant to be a support system for each one of us Bento packers. Some could look at it as a way to make new Bento friends and also to network. For what ever the reasons, I am awed at the number of new Bento sites emerging from this competition.

I feel a sense of 'responsibility' to post up my Bento every morning (unless there is no need for one that day). I know that some people expect to see a Bento or blog post when they visit my blog - just like when I visit other Bento blogs, I have the same expectation.

Unfortunately, we sometimes get bogged down by life's routines and life's challenges and regularity doesn't always remain the same.

My two daughters and I have been having a virtual visual gastronomic party. We each looked through all the submissions
individually (more than 100) and picked the ones which we liked best. We didn't discuss our selection and when we each finished the selection process, we merged the results and those which were picked by all three of us got into the short listed list below:

Apple from Gate of Toy is a collector of Pinky toys, she owns over fifty of them! Another amazing Malaysian hobbyist! Most of the time, Apple takes pictures of her Bento with one Pinky or another.

Her description of the Bento submission:

Taufu Sushi Roll The rice fit into Japanese Beancurd Skin (Inari Sushi) and the sushi roll skin is crepe roll with fresh lettuce, chicken ham, egg and crab stick.

Some fresh cherry tomato is included in the bento as well.

Click the picture to visit Apple at Gate of Toy.

This entry below is submitted by Christene @ allthingspurple. Christene packs Bento on a regular basis for her two young children. Christene also hails from my home country - Malaysia!

Her description of the Bento submission:

It's turkey slice rolled up with a layer of cheese. On the side is a bunch of champagne grapes and some green grapes with the skin peeled cos kids nowadays only have 15 minutes break time and they don't have the time to peel grapes.

The idea is to have them eat the skin, but they wouldn't. Hence the champagne grapes.
Click the picture to visit allthingspurple.

elaineevdw/Elaine is from Reno, NV, USA and according to her Flickr profile, love literature, Web design, cookies, yoga, henna, the ocean, and astronomy. Oh, and sharing photos on Flickr, of course.

Her description of the Bento submission:

Top tier: Tamagoyaki mixed with some bonito furikake, carrot kinpira (carrots quickly stir fried in sesame oil with red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and sesame seeds), fresh blueberries.

Bottom tier: Rice cubes with vegetable furikake and fresh grape tomatoes.
I packed a higher portion of fresh fruits and veggies to bring the calorie count down, since I was going out for sushi with friends after work. Then I saw Wall-E. :))))

Click the picture to view this Bento @ Flickr.

H.W. a Ph.D. student who never has enough time for writing or knitting. She hails from SheffieSheep, New York, United States. She authors a bento and knitting blog called Cuilionn Delig.

Her description of the Bento submission:

In the top tier: bonito flake onigiri with nori decorations, sugar snap peas, cherry tomato, and chicken gyoza.

Bottom tier holds edamame, carrots, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, mango. Lid holds candies and dried fruit.
Click the picture to visit Cuilionn Deilg.

Jacki hails from Halifax, NS, Canada. Her current best friend is frozen banana leaves.
Jacki can also ice some fancy cup cakes.
Her description of the Bento submission:

Everything is home made from scratch:
-Tamagoyaki (omelette) nigiri sushi
-Sesame fried gai lon with dried cranberries
-Fried pork shumai
-Steamed broccoli
-Lemon and orange daikon pickles.
-Steamed sugar snaps
-Boiled sweet potato butterflies
-Fiddleheads, steamed with lemon juice
-Honey tangerine pieces
-Fresh cherries
Click the picture to visit Jacki's Bento Blog.

K.S. is from USA and has collectively packed over 100 bentos for herself and her husband. Awesome! She celebrates her personal 100th bento on the 29 of July 2008 - same as my blog anniversary! Congratulations!

Her description of the Bento submission:

A strawberry, an apricot, yellow baby carrots, snow peas, blueberries, and a 1/2 turkey sandwich with light lemonaise and mustard.
(granted, it's a sandwich, but I like to think of it as the cloud in the sky with the rainbow of fruit and veg).

Click the picture to visit Kastinkerbell blog.

Kashmirkat is from New Jersey, USA. She packs lovely lunch Bentos for her husband. BTW, she shares the same Birthday as Bento Pet's blog!!! Congratulations!

Her description of the Bento submission:

This bento includes a Chef Salad of lettuce, shredded carrot, diced red and green bell pepper topped with swiss cheese flowers and hearts and ham and turkey pinwheels, next to that is a heart shaped egg that is sliced and some garlic pita.

The other tier contains fruit salad of strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and mango, more garlic pita, roasted red pepper hummus topped with roasted red pepper and macaroni salad. On the side are two molasses cookies and a midget container of ranch dressing.

Click the picture to visit kashmirkat.

Kel is a full time mum from Malaysia. She has this to say "my family is my everything" :)

Her description of the Bento submission:

The contents of the box were (from left): octopus and crab sausages with mask, soba with little bow shaped nori, tomatoes, broccoli, baby corns and a few drops of mayo.

On the right top was the jelly and iced grapes, and below was the soba sauce with lots of spring onions.

Click the picture to visit Kel's Place.

Krisaki who is from Texas, USA has this to say: "I made this blog to showcase the different vegan meals I make and the sewing/craft projects that I do".

Here’s a little info about me. I have been vegan for almost 6 years and enjoy making all types of meals for myself and boyfriend. I am also a fashion design major at UIW in San Antonio. I have one year to go and am very excited about finishing up my degree.

Her description of the Bento submission:

There is the Asian noodles and cabbage, then on the left we have a half of pita tore into bite sized chunks with some hummus, and some sliced strawberries and kiwi with raw unsalted pumpkin seeds.

I never knew pumpkin seeds were so healthy until recently. My friend did the Master Cleanse and wanted some pumpkin seeds for when she was done so I checked out the health benefits.

Two of major things pumpkin seeds have in them is zinc and magnesium. In 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds you get 92% of your daily magnesium. They taste somewhat like a sunflower seed but larger. Personally I prefer the taste of almonds or walnuts, but they’re a nice snack and aren’t as expensive as nuts.

Click the picture to visit Krisaki - Food. Fashion. Bento.

Lyvvie is from Dalgety Bay, Scotland. She's the one who packs an edible joke with her Bento to go.

Her description of the Bento submission:

Left: Two onigiri one with ham and cream cheese parcel inside, the other has fried chicken, mini fried chicken kebabs, rocket leaves, mange tout, red pepper.

Middle: Puree of ham, red pepper and cream cheese topped with nanami togarashi, sliced carrots, sugar snap peas, red pepper and sliced hot dog.

Right: mixed nuts, haribo, apple and an orange.

Click the picture to visit Lyvvie @ Obento Baby!

Rei is a full time working mum from Singapore, she has two fantastic kids. Cooking and Baking is therapeutic exercise for her.

Her description of the Bento submission:

Bento 6 : Rice, sakura denbu, black sesame and Natto, Unagi, stir fry Kale with carrots.

Click the picture to visit Rei at All That Matters.

3lilangels, a happy stay-at-home mommy of three pre-schoolers, 2 girls and 1 boy. Interested in making Bento meals, child rearing and education, reading and scrapbooking. 3lilangels mummy is also from Malaysia.

Her description of the Bento submission:

Bottom container had chicken rice (claypot style but cooked in rice cooker) with shredded chicken thigh underneath. Decorated with flowers cut out from cucumber and steamed carrots. Swapped the insides to create a visual interest. sausage, thousand island sauce in pink container #1, tomato sauce in the other, extra Stalks were made of cucumber and leaves from sweet peas.

The top container had Chinese veggies, and grapes.

Click the picture to visit her blog at 3lilangles.

Yvo from New York city, New York, USA is a veteran Bento packer. She also authors The Feisty Foodie where she records her gastronomic journey.

Her description of the Bento submission:

Top tier: sauteed button mushrooms; sauteed Napa cabbage; BBQ chicken thighs Bottom tier: 6 dark chocolate covered pretzels from Trader Joe's; marinated squid banchan; and curried salmon orzo.

The dark chocolate covered pretzels are good, but not quite as good as the peanut butter filled chocolate covered pretzels. I like the pb ones because they're sweet and salty and creamy, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I love salty snacks, I'm not into sweets that much, so this is perfect for me. I love those...

Click the picture to visit All My Bento Are Belong To Me.

I am currently in a state of 'brain drain'! I've been working endless hours to reach this point of posting.

No worries, I'm enjoying it, only thing is hubs is a little sore that I'm at the computer all the time!

This is where you get to enjoy visiting all the different blogs and savor all the delicious Bentos that all these wonderful people have been making day in and day out.

I am most likely going to put up a poll so that you can vote for your favorite Bento. Please bear with me while I get the poll up.

Meanwhile, I'd like to record a note of thanks to all my new found Bento friends who joined in the bandwagon to have some fun taking part in this competition.

Everyone of you has become a friend and those whom I personally know, I want to affirm you all that each one of your Bentos gave my two daughters and I a mind boggling time in deciding on the final fourteen.

*Towards more Bento days!*

BENTO #114

#2 was raving about the tuna mayo and alfalfa when she got back from school yesterday. She asked if she could have it again today. "Sure! Still had some left (makes it easier for me too)!"

This morning, everything looks so pale. In the left box is blanched cauliflowers topped with Japanese Kewpie Mayo and Cheddar cheese packed next to some lemon roasted chicken (freezer stock).

The right box had some konyakku noodles mixed with garlic oil and loads of tuna mayo, alfalfa and tomatoes. Another Apricot fruit roll for treat!

Easy peasy Bento!

Monday, July 28, 2008


Dear Bento friends

Please note that the "Bento Pet's Bento Competition" officially ends at midnight on 29th July 2008.

All of you Bento enthusiasts who have not made your submission, you have approximately 24 hours to do so.

Enjoy preparing your Bento or browsing your old posts to select one for the competition.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

May the best Bento win!!

BENTO #113

Thank God for leftovers!

This morning's Bento had a wedge of Salmon cream cheese to go with some Focaccia crisps which I baked dry last week. There was some left over strawberries from the Birthday party decor for the cup cakes.

The other box contained a mixture of leftover tuna mayo, alfalfa, tomatoes and fish balls!

This Bento didn't require any effort, only some ingenuity! LOL!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Surprise Party for #2

When Hubs and #1 was in Aussieland for the 2008 WYD, #2 turned 16 and we quietly and un-eventfully had an Italian lunch of Salmon Ravioli, Fettuccine with white sauce and Tiramisu.

She had wanted to celebrate her birthday before Hubs left for Aussieland but we were too busy and brushed off her request. She was quite disappointed and was feeling a little forlorn.

Actually, Hubs and I had already discussed and planned a surprise birthday party for her the weekend after he got back. So yesterday, after all the planning, 'hiding', 'stringing stories', secret phone calls, secret conversations with her friends etc, etc, we finally had the big surprise!

Boy! Was she surprised! She didn't even have an inkling of what we were up to. I had to bake the cakes and transport it to a friend's house for #1 to do the icing just so that #2 wouldn't suspect anything.

This was the result of the Birthday Cake made by #1.

What do you think? Nice right?

Friday, July 25, 2008

BENTO #112

When #2 saw me preparing Tuna sandwich for her this morning, she exclaimed "I want those cute, cute faces too!" "Huh?, I reply". "You know, those Winnie the Pooh you make for #3!"

"But I don't know if it works for tuna sandwiches, I reply". Anyway, I tried and it wasn't too bad.

#3 brings bread spread with butter and Marmite to school. To humour her, I cut them out with the Winnie the Pooh sandwich cutter which I have. #2 has been eye-ing them but I don't use the cutter for her thinking that it's a little childish. Hahaha! The childishness in her has surfaced and 'cuteness' really does make a statement.

I baked some cup cakes yesterday so there is one in her Bento this morning, there is her regular dose of Vitamin C in the green Kiwi. In the other box lies Winnie the Pooh cut out tuna sandwiches, some sugar biscuits and another fruit and nut bar for after school. There is also a frozen grape fruit roll for treat.

Tomorrow morning I'm off to Curve to get my week's supply of Strawberries. *happiness*
Going to be a very busy weekend ahead, will update next week with more 'happenings'......!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

BENTO #111

This is a tiring morning for me. Yesterday I was busy running errands and #2 had a cast & crew party at 7ate9 in Ascot Hotel. It started late and ended late. Hubs and I knocked off as soon as we hit the pillow - that's how tired we were.

I didn't plan this morning's Bento and I was a little frazzled. Not planning Bento is not good!

Luckily, I had left over spaghetti from yesterday. Aglio Olio again with some skewered fish balls and carrots. In the other box, the orange silicon cup contains leftover minced pork fried with yellow onions and potatoes. There was some alfalfa sprouts for greens and another yellow Kiwi. *yawns* I'm going back to sleep....too tired!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My second award!

Thank you Emily for this "Kreativ Blogger" award! This site doesn't get a lot of awards (one so far) and when it does, I am truly awed and floored by the people who appreciate it.

The coincidence here is, my first award was also a "Creative Blogger Award" given to me by Sue Sue many, many moons ago! LOL!

Emily is a crafter and has done some amazing and awesome stitching. Me? I used to sew (many moons ago) patchwork bags, blankets etc, went into scrap booking, costume jewelery creativity, etc, etc, the list goes on.

Emily and I began our blogger friendship on a very comical set. I made a post on my 'trauma' cooking 'tongue' and she dropped some comments and our blogger friendship bloomed from then on. LOL!!

Emily is a member of the Malaysian Bookcrosses club, which I think is awesome! I've however been unfortunate to have too little time in my hands to enjoy what I love most - read! Reading is my passion but once I get my hands on any book, I drop and forget everything else. My utter weakness!

I try to steer clear of story books and conversations about good reads. Otherwise, I will be 'hiding' in the toilet with a "no-end diarrhea condition" trying to finish the last few chapters of the book at 3a.m. in the morning - that's my perpetual excuse if hubs wakes up and asks if I'm okay (*guilty*).

Anyway, all that said and done, I'd also like to extend this award back again to EMILY! I know you extended this to me but I love 'stalking' your blog if you don't know already! (Unfortunately, I'm a silent stalker!) I think you deserve this award all over again!!!

Then there are my new 'stalking victims':

NOBU who tirelessly keep 'educating' readers about the wonderful world of Japanese Oishii food! I have a passionate love for Japanese food and I find his site very educational! Nobu is diligent in updating his blog and most times when I log into his blog, it's updated!!

I want to thank allthingspurple for consistently dropping comments and thoughts sometime or other in this blog. I think we bloggers thrive on this. It keeps me going and enthusiastic that some people find this blog interesting enough to keep coming back. My heart gives a little jump of excitement when I see random comments becoming 'regular' and then progressing to becoming 'blogger pals' per se. She's got picky kids and she 'desperately' uses different ways and methods to present the same type of food in creative ways, by way of 'kawai' bento boxes and accessories. So much effort! (*salutes you*).

Then there is
Terri @ hunger hunger who doesn't care a hoot about 'awards' but I love to silently stalk her creative cooking site because of her honest to heart type of ranting and amazing recipes. I learnt to cook my first "best soy sauce chicken" from her blog!

Finally, I've been stalking all Bento blogs possible. I like visiting Lyvvie @ obentobaby because her blog is updated regularly and I love the creative 'edible' jokes that she writes out for her kid/s. The edible joke is an awesome idea and I've been scouring the bakery supplies for 'sugar paper'. I've found my edible ink pens and soon, I hope to be sending some 'edible messages' with my Bento too!

Ok, here's the rules :
1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees

BENTO #110

Last week, when hubs was in Aussie land, I roasted a whole chicken for dinner with #2. She exclaimed "Huh! Mum! How are we going to finish a whole chicken?". Well I intended to freeze the left overs. That's what I did, there was enough to freeze four portions.

This morning, I made Spaghetti Aglio Olio and topped it with some leftover chicken. Added the very last batch of Burdock Kinpira, some Broccoli and Cauliflower topped with salad cream and an orange. Today's Bento!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BENTO #109

I made inari sushi tofu pockets on Saturday and left four pieces out of the freezer for use this week. The tofu pockets were basically filled with the same filling that Maki of Just Hunger recommended for "low calorie high fibre inarisushi (zushi) with hiziki".

It's amazing how people who are health conscious tend to create and re-invent ideas and recipes to achieve their own expectations of a healthy eating lifestyle. I cook hijiki quite often and last year when I had a party, I too mixed the hijiki and sushi rice mixture and stuffed them into the inari sushi tofu pockets. It was a hit! But, that was the only one time I used that recipe because, eventually, I forgot about it!

I was pleasantly surprised when I read the post by Maki and it reminded me of the one time I made the same thing. Of course then, I didn't think of it being low calorie and high fibre but more of using up the balance of Hijiki and sushi rice.

One thing I learnt from that post is that you can also add Hijiki to Tamagoyaki. I haven't tried that and I'll do so before my stock of Hijiki finishes. It'll be interesting to taste the Hijiki and Tamagoyaki.

This morning's Bento is free and easy. I stuffed the Inari sushi tofu pockets with Hijiki and sushi rice. Had a bit of blanched carrots and kyuri. Two pieces of "train shape" watermelon and some left over 'Tempe" from yesterday's experimental cooking. The fruit and nut bar was brought back by Hubs from his Aussie trip.

Monday, July 21, 2008


The May-June issue of Flavours magazine ran an article on Tempe. I love eating tempe sold at the local Malay stalls. My favorite of all is the fried tempe with peanuts and ikan bilis (anchovies).

I tried this recipe out and it was pretty good. It's got a more interesting flavour than the ones bought from the stalls because it calls for kaffir lime.

I didn't have time to take photo of this morning's bento because Hubs and #1 were arriving this morning after the two kids were sent to school and everything was a little chaotic. We had "Bak Kut Teh" for breakfast as soon as they touched down. Had to satisfy their desperate need for some local food!

Anyway, this recipe is for Mihoo. We had a little conversation about tempe and this is an interesting and flavourful dish. I didn't follow the recipe exactly because I didn't want to cook so much and I improvised. However the recipe I'm providing is exactly from the magazine.

Tempe Goreng Kering
(Tempe fried dry - direct translation from Bahasa Malaysia to English)

The combination of crunchy tempe and peanuts in a sticky, tangy sauce makes an excellent snack or accompaniment to rice (4 to 6 servings).

500ml cooking oil
100 g skinned peanuts
2 packets (300g) tempe, sliced thinly
3 shallots, sliced thinly

spice paste
80g tamarind paste, mixed with 150ml water to extract juice
150g palm sugar (I used brown sugar)
2 teaspoons salt
5 cm galangal, skinned and julienned (I didn't have this so I omitted it)
15 bird's eyes chillies, sliced (I used dried chillies)
15 kaffir lime leaves, sliced

To deep fry peanuts, tempe and shallots: Heat wok over medium heat. Add oil and deep fry peanuts until golden. Remove and drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil. In the remaining oil, deep fry tempe until crisp; remove and drain on paper towels. Fry the shallots until golden brown, remove and set aside.

To prepare spice paste: Remove most of the oil from the wok, leaving about 2 tablespoon. Add in tamarind juice, palm sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, add galangal, bird's eye chillies and kaffir lime leaves. Leave to simmer for 3-5 minutes or until mixture thickens.

To finish: Toss the fried peanuts, tempe and shallot crisps in the spice paste; stir until well mixed. Remove from wok and leave to cool. Serve as a snack or with white rice. This can be stored in an airtight container for about a week.

The final product.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

So busy today!

Hubs and #1 are expected to touchdown Monday morning from Sydney transit Singapore and then arrive Kuala Lumpur. As you have noticed, I've been hogging the computer and posting multiple posts/day for the last two weeks.

Not only have I been posting multiple posts, I have a Bento competition running which ends 29th July 2008 which also marks my blog's One Year Anniversary. I've also re-packed my Bento gear and currently enjoying a fluid access to all the items.

Today, in between a long and leisurely breakfast, grocery shopping, music class, and blogging, I was busy cooking and preparing for dinner and stock for next week's Bento frenzy.

#2 is going to
KLPac to watch the The All American Boys Chorus tonight. #2 loves singing and since this was a Charity concert she roped in a few friends to go with her.

I decided to make an easy dinner of her favorite sushi!
I simmered the mushrooms and fried the Tamagoyaki. Cut up some avocado and kyuri, topped the sushi rice with surimi crabsticks, Kewpie mayo and viola .....Futomaki!

Our dinner, tonight. Yummilicious!!

I prepared my Bento stock for next week. The picture below show you the ingredients for
Hijiki and aburaage ni. #2 and I love this seaweed dish.

The picture below shows the Hijiki in slow simmer mode. Delicious. When ready, half of it will go into the fridge and the other half will be packed in small containers into the freezer.

I simmered a batch of mushrooms for tonight's futomaki and for future use.

As usual, half way through I will add all the kombu from making dashi into the simmered mushrooms. After that I will cut the kombu into strips and add to the futomaki. It is very delicious. A good way not to waste the kombu.

This is how I pack the cut mushrooms and slivered kombu. The balance of mushrooms, I will leave whole and pack in another box. The whole mushrooms can be used as a side dish in future Bento.

All packed and ready for the freezer.

A busy and eventful day. Looking forward to seeing Hubs and #1 on Monday! Yipeeee!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Where to buy Bento gear?

Very often, I have been asked where I purchase my Bento boxes and accessories.
I live in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. The locations are around the vicinity of Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur.

1. My favorite is the Japanese 100Yen store. Most items in the shop sells for RM5/=. Currently, they sell minimal Bento items. I like to shop here because most of their Bento’s are made in Japan. Mostly, theirs are the traditional 2 tier Bentos that require a Bento strap
to keep together.

However, if you visit often enough, they do have occasional new items, which are few but far in between.
Bento items sold at the 100Yen store (when available) are basically:
• Bento boxes,

• Bento bags,

• Chopsticks for Bento,

• Cutlery for Bento,
• Kitchen utensils for Japanese food cooking and
• Some Japanese ingredients for Japanese cooking.

There is also other non-Bento related stuff too.
I’ve always been asked for the addresses so here it is.

100Yen outlet address:

• Petaling Jaya
52, Jalan SS2/61, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
• Taman Connaught
94, Jalan Cedas, Taman Connaught, 5600 Cheras
• Taman Pertama
63, Jalan 2/90, Taman Pertama, 3 ½ miles Cheras, 56000 K.L.
• Klang
10GF, Lorong Batu Nilam 3D, Bdr Bukit Tinggi Shoplots, 41200 Klang
• Puchong Jaya
18, Grd Flr, Jalan Bandar 7, Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47100 Selangor
• Sg. Long
32, Jalan SL6/6, Bdr Sg. Long, Batu 11 ¼, 4300 Cheras, Kajang

New 100Yen outlet opening after mid July in Uptown, Damansara Utama.
Opposite to Uptown Towers 2.

Below are samples of Bento's that I have purchased from them.

2. If you are buying for children, there are lots of Barbie, Thomas Train, Barney single layer lunch boxes where they even have a divider in between.

You can get these at:

• Parkson or Jusco at 1Utama.

• Isetan, in KLCC and most major departmental stores.

Look in the stationary section where they sell pencils and school bags.

3. If you are buying for adults and prefer something not so ‘cutesy’ then look up this brand “Lock & Lock”. It’s available in all the kitchen sections of major departmental stores (Parkson, Jusco, Isetan etc).

Very often, there is a 20% discount during the sale periods and
personally I think this is a great product. There are sectioned boxes, some remove-able some not. I like their small bottles, which I often use to freeze fruit juices for my kids.

I don’t use the Lock & Lock boxes for Bento but I do use them for freezing my stock for Bento. My frozen Gyoza, Spam musubi, Mac & Cheese, leftover cooked meats, spaghetti/pizza sauce etc, etc. goes into the varied sized boxes.

Best thing is they all come with snap locks on four sides and you don’t have to worry about spillage and spoilage. They are stain resistant, microwave
safe, freezer safe, and dishwasher safe. 4. Alternatively, if shopping and searching for a suitable Bento box from complex to complex is not on your agenda, then you can purchase on-line from the comfort of your own home.

To be honest, I’ve been conned before by e-bay sellers and having being singed, I’m quite skeptical about buying on-line.

When I found a local vendor “New Stylish Tokyo” selling some quite comprehensive Bento stuff on-line, I couldn’t resist the temptation and took the risk to purchase some stuff from them.

I’m happy to say that I am completely satisfied with their service and support.
I think most of their pricing is reasonable compared with many e-bay sellers and the best thing is, their postage/shipping cost is almost negligible (for local delivery).

Certain items may be on the high side if compared to what one would pay buying from Daiso. But the nearest outlet is in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and the next one in Singapore.

New Stylish Tokyo shipping charges are cheap so it makes sense to buy from them because it balances off the cost of the item which makes it reasonable in the final calculations.

If you are intending to purchase on-line then there are lots more choices and with a little effort to research, you can have anything your budget permits.

Personally, the shipping cost is way beyond what I want to pay for. I noticed that often, the shipping cost is more than the item itself.

All said and done, I want to add that if you want to start to bento, you can go for the practical methods like using an existing Tupperware that you own at home or buy a practical container.

No need to go 'insane' like me hoarding up shelves and shelves of Bento gear. I excuse myself for this 'addiction' because I keep telling myself that it goes a long way just because I have 3 kids.

One already past the stage of taking Bento to school. One has another year and a half to go and the last kid who brings food that don't qualify as "Bento material" so I stopped blogging about her box for a while until I can get her eating 'food' again!

Disclaimer: Please be informed that I have no affiliations with the 100Yen stores or Lock & Lock or all the mentioned Departmental stores or New Stylish Tokyo other than being a regular paying customer. All opinions are mine personally and does not serve to be or claim to be an authority of any sort. I receive no monetory rewards or discounts from any of these mentioned stores (other than commercially available discounts for all customers) or any other companies or persons mentioned in this article.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday sweetheart! This song says it all!! Love you!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

BENTO #108

This is #2's lunch today. She is staying back to support her team mates for a College Trophy debate this afternoon at school. After that, she goes for language tuition and I fetch her at 7.00p.m. Long day, so I prepared her a hearty meal.

I used the Thermos flask Bento set and filled it's flask with piping hot miso soup, wakame seaweed and some colorful Fu balls (the same type that I'm including into the Winners Haul from my Bento Competition).

Hot rice topped with black sesame seeds and chicken karaage with a slice of lemon. In the side box was some Chinese cabbage pickle, Tamagoyaki, carrots marinated with sesame oil and sesame seeds and some dried Figs for desert. I had the same for lunch and I truly enjoyed it.

All the bento stuff ready to be packed into the black bag on the left.

Reorganizing of Bento boxes and accessories

In a previous post, I was grumbling about how I was unable to access Biggie's blog and somehow she tracked my problem, tackled it and now I can have 'limited' access!

Not through any fault of Biggie's because I found that I only have limited access depending on which browser I use. If I use FireFox (which is my default) then I cannot view or post any comments. If I open Safari, I get to see everything.

I'm not very IT savvy and I can't understand this, if anyone has a solution, can you please let me know. I know that Biggie has exhausted all avenues and so have I.
Nevertheless, ever since I've been able to view Biggie's blog, I've been scavenging her old posts and archives! You can never learn too much from her, the guru of Bento in blogger world!

I particularly liked her post on "Reorganization of lunch gear storage". It's a problem very close home!

I don't know about you, I have an overflow of Bento stuff that's driving me crazy! I have them stuffed into all nooks and corners of my *dry kitchen cabinets. In one of my posts' entitled "Looking for space for my Bento boxes", Lyvvie of Obentobaby made this comment, read here.

Since then, I've been looking for ways to reorganize my Bento gear. This is my third time reorganizing so there really isn't a one time solution to this because 'reorganization' is going to be a continuous process.

My basic requirement for reorganization is to take up as little (dreaming here) space as possible and the fluidity of my movements accessing my Bento gear. I wanted them all in one spot but couldn't completely sacrifice space already allocated for other storage.

Since my last reorganization, I used two shelves with multiple drawers which I could fill with some Bento boxes and some accessories.

See here:

But, I still had left overs stuck in different places and some morning's I'd go crazeeeee looking for a particular item I wanted.

Yesterday I bought two multiple drawer shelves and a handyman's accessory (for nails, screws and small items) nine drawer shelf.

I repacked and reorganized all my Bento gear and this is what I got.

The right side shelves was from my last repacking process. Actually these two shelves were re-cycled from my crafting days where I put huge rolls of ribbons in it. Now the ribbons are all boxed up.

You can see the bottom three shelves contain only Bento boxes. The top three contains paper and silicon cups, egg molds and Onigiri disposable boxes and 'stock' e.g. bento straps, wiener cutters, etc.

In the new shelves on the left, I've packed into them, more Bento boxes.

The handyman's accessory drawer shelf was the best! Top layer contains all the food dividers (baran), small sauce cups and shoyu containers and Onigiri face molds. (Notice I put anti-slip knobs under the shelf).

Second layer has little boxes for soba dips, dried fruits or frozen canned fruits, the middle drawer for various picks and the third drawer for more picks and mini forks.

Finally, the last bottom layer has a mix of face punches and more wiener molds.

This morning when I was packing #2's Bento, all I had to do was pull out the drawers containing the baran and food picks out to use. It was a very organized morning!

This is how I keep the Bento bags and insulated bottle bags, hang it against the fridge.

I recycled this cutlery holder to keep my Bento straps in one place for easy access.

I keep my Japanese recipe books and current reads in this mobile basket which I roll around the house where ever I prop myself for a read with my cup of green tea! Hehehe! Lazy, I know!

I had to push the two fridges all the way to the side wall before I could 'acquire' this spot to 'hide' my mobile library!

See the green clip file with the pen? It's all my homework for each morning's Bento. Scribbles and dribbles, lots of illegible pictures and notes......

Finally, I have lots of space in the one last cabinet shelf which I use to store my cutters, Oshibori boxes, more Onigiri molds, cutlery, zip lock bags, stock, etc, etc.

*dry kitchen - you know, some friends from Taiwan, Hong Kong and some western countries tell me that only in Malaysia do people have two kitchens. One wet kitchen and one dry kitchen.

They tell me that it's 'uniquely' a Malaysian problem! Please, share with me your opinions.


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