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Kyara-Ben: The Character Bento

June 20, 2016

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The Worldwide Popularity of Little Miss Bento, a Kyara-Ben Blog

One of those blogs is Little Miss Bento, which was started by Singapore-based award-winning bento artist Shirley Wong, who is also a certified instructor and food stylist. Her wildly popular blog and Instagram feed feature gorgeous photos of her adorable and skilled creations, along with descriptions of the ingredients she uses. It doesn't come as a surprise that Ms. Wong is a huge fan of Japanese culture, food and all things kawaii. While she initially started making bento for practical reasons, she began experimenting with creating her own cute character versions, and has even authored a Kawaii Bento book. We asked her a few questions:

- Where do you find inspiration?
I like to call my bento and food creations a form of art, as it is just like a 'canvas' that allows me to be creative and also design. My inspiration comes from my everyday life experiences, which could range from trending topics, popular characters or even something as remote as the weather. Most of the time, when I get an idea, I will either sketch it out or jot it down, so most are planned in advance. There are some rare instances I wake up and out of the blue comes an idea that is so good I decide to just drop my previous plans and make it.

- What is the most challenging character you've achieved?
I think the most challenging item would be a seaweed cutting I made of a Totoro character, as the design was very fine and detailed. It was challenging to ensure that the seaweed didn't tear or break apart. I am happy I was able to achieve it!

- Can anyone make a kyara-ben?
I believe like all new things, there is a learning curve. It is not possible to try to achieve a very complicated design when one is absolutely new to bento making. But it is a skill that can be acquired over time. I recall how I used to take hours to make one character bento, and now I can have one ready in just 30 minutes!

Credits: Shirley Wong, "Little Miss Bento"
Photo credits: Shirley Wong, Maaserhit Honda
by Vivian Morelli

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