Bento cooking class – お弁当料理教室

Alice from KPIC here!
Summer has finally arrived and with it the Gion Festival. Did you enjoy it?
Last month, I organized a bento lunch cooking class for international residents and it was a lot of fun, even if the preparation was quite hard!


Happy bento cooking team - お弁当作りのチーム

Happy bento cooking team – お弁当作りのチーム

In France, we don’t have bento lunch boxes. Instead, when we go on school excursions or have to take our lunch to work, we often prepare a sandwich in the morning, or put some salad, pizza or quiche into a Tupperware. I am always amazed by how cute and diverse my coworkers’ lunch boxes are. It’s quite a challenge for me to make a bento, and I don’t think I am alone in this. Many foreigners in Japan and people outside of Japan are amazed by the Japanese “bento culture”, and a lot of bento recipe books have started selling in France and abroad.

That is why I decided to make a bento cooking class for foreigners living here, with really simple recipes to learn how to make the basics and use Japanese ingredients such as dashi for example.


Cute bento food - 可愛いお弁当の料理



Cutting the konjac (konyaku) - こんにゃくを切ります

Cutting the konjac (konyaku) – こんにゃくを切ります

Together with a Japanese teacher, we held this class on June 29th in Uji City. 19 people showed up for the event, from many diverse cultural horizons such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, America, Australia, New Zealand etc. We had the recipes ready in 3 languages, Japanese, English and Chinese. People then did their best to recreate the recipes and make a cute bento by themselves.
The day’s menu was as follow:

–       Japanese omelet (tamago yaki)
–       Octopus shaped wiener sausages
–       Sesame vegetables (goma-ae)
–       Ginger chicken (tori no shoga yaki)
–       Konjac sauté (konyaku)
–       Onigiri (can you make a pretty triangular shape?)
–       Bunny shaped apples

Preparing the ginger chicken - 鶏肉のしょうが焼きを作ります

Preparing the ginger chicken – 鶏肉のしょうが焼きを作ります



–       卵焼き
–       タコさんウインナー
–       野菜の胡麻和え
–       鶏肉のショウガ焼き
–       こんにゃくの炒め物
–       おにぎり
–       ウサギのりんご

Listening to the teacher's explanations - 講師の説明を聞く

Listening to the teacher’s explanations – 講師の説明を聞く

I practiced only once with the teacher before the class, so I learned again together with the participants. It was really hard to roll the omelet with chopsticks without breaking it or correctly peel the apple’s skin so the “ears” of the rabbit turn pretty, but in the end everybody succeeded and had a nice bento to enjoy. Some participants even tried to make “kyara-ben” or character bento by drawing cute faces on their onigiri.


Bento lunch boxes are ready! - お弁当箱が準備できました!

Bento lunch boxes are ready! – お弁当箱が準備できました!

We then all ate our bento together. People got to know each other really quickly (cooking makes bonds!) and soon the room was full of laughter as they compared their bento and engaged in friendly conversations.

I hope what they learned during the class will be useful and that next time they pass that dashi or konyaku in the supermarket, it will give them ideas to try new recipes and master new bentos. I will definitely give it a try!

Cute bento box!  -  可愛いお弁当ができました!

Cute bento box! – 可愛いお弁当ができました!



The whole group! 参加者のみなさん!

The whole group!


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