Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I am bento-less today!  But that's okay, this was intentional.  My workplace has a sort of tradition where Wednesdays are "pupusa" days.

Pupusas are a dish from El Salvador!

(Picture from Wikipedia, read more about pupusas here!)

It's essentially a corn tortilla filled with all sorts of goodness.  I enjoy mine with a chicken and cheese filling, but they have veggies in there too!  We obtain our pupusas from a local farmers market that happens near work on Wednesday afternoons.  The pupusas there are not only cheap, but delicious.

We don't go every Wednesday, but we haven't been in quite some time.  It has probably been about a month for me.  But - for today, it is definitely on the agenda!  So I have shelved my bentos (literally!) for today.

Still.. if you haven't tried pupusas, please do someday.  I didn't even know what a pupusa was until I started this job last year.  I am very glad I took the plunge!  I am not always an adventurous eater, and I have some health-related dietary restrictions that can make spontaneity difficult (another great reason to pack bentos), but in this case it was worth the risk.  Nom.

                      /\' '/\
*~Bento Neko =^.^=

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Zaru Soba

Hello everyone!

Today I packed myself zaru soba or cold soba for lunch in my bento, along with some fruits for snacking during the afternoon.

I do have some tsuyu packed in the upper lid layer of the bento that isn't pictured here.

The soba was quite easy to make.  For the stuff I bought, you boil it for ~3 minutes before draining and rinsing it in a colander or strainer.  I have leftover for another day, which I have stored in my fridge wrapped in seran wrap and sealed in tupperwear.  Soba loses some of its firm texture in storage, but I'm okay with that myself.

It should also be noted that this dish IS meant to be eaten.. well, cold!  It is cold soba after all!  I have stored today's bento in the fridge at my workplace for today instead of on my desk where I normally might keep it.  If you are going to be traveling or in a place without a fridge for lunch storage, zaru soba might not be the right choice for your bento!

That's all for today. :3

                      /\' '/\
*~Bento Neko =^.^=

Monday, June 17, 2013

Starting With the Basics

Well, here is the lunch I've packed for myself to take to work today!  I put it together this morning before work.  Given that nearly everything was already put together, it didn't take long at all.  This bento contains my lunch as well as some snacks.

Above is my monbento box, used for today's test run!  You can see my messy work desk in the background...

And there is today's lunch!  Inside, we have a pre-made sake onigiri from Mitsuwa Japanese Market, half a cheese sandwich made into small rolls, a small protein/fiber bar, and lots of fresh fruit!

I nibbled on the bar (cut into squares) for breakfast with some tea.  As you can see, I've used some cupcake/muffin liners to hold the fruit.  I bought foil ones so that even if the fruit is moist, it won't soak through the paper. :3  Looking forward to enjoying this today!

                      /\' '/\
*~Bento Neko =^.^=

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Today I went by Mitsuwa Marketplace in Santa Monica.  They are an awesome Japanese market with a small book/video store and even a food court!  There are several locations throughout southern California, but the Santa Monica one was the most convenient place for me to stop by today.

I picked up some shirataki noodles, which I'm really excited to try.  I bought the kind made with tofu.  I enjoy the ones made just from the yam fiber, but the tofu adds a little extra protein.  Hopefully I can dress it up in an appetizing way!  Shirataki are great because you can eat a whole bag for about 40 calories and 6g of carbs.  That's it!  They're also already cooked.  You take them out of the bag, rinse them, and your'e ready!

I got the skinny kind, made to resemble angel hair pasta.

I also picked up some cold soba and cold udon noodles that came pre-packed with dipping sauce, ready to go!  This is great for a lazy neko like myself.  Of course, cold noodles are quite simple to make, especially if you just pick up your tsuyu (dipping sauce) from the store.  The thing I like about the stuff I bought today, though, is that the dipping sauce is packed and sealed already and I can just stick it into my bento without using a sauce container.

Do note, though: this is only useful if you're like me and have access to loads of little cups at work!  You'll still want a sauce container of some kind if you don't have anything to put your tsuyu in.  Although, you could just drizzle it over your noodles and enjoy!  If you enjoy it, also add some wasabi, scallions, and/or ginger to your bento to add to your dipping sauce.

Mitsuwa also stocks pre-made onigiri of several varieties.  My favorites are the ume (pickled plum) and sake (salmon) varieties!  These are fairly cheap and a nice option if you aren't great at making your own rice balls.  They can be frozen and eaten later, which is what I am doing with mine.  You can defrost in the microwave or gradually in the fridge - whatever works for you.

(Please note: this image is note mine, bit it is from a Mistuwa!)

On the western side of things, I've collected some materials for making sandwiches.  I've also loaded up on fruits!  Raspberries, blackberries, grapes, bananas, and nectarines.  I love clementines too, but was sadly unable to find them today.

In any event, those are what I'm starting with for now!

                      /\' '/\
*~Bento Neko =^.^=

Saturday, June 15, 2013



This blog is meant to chronicle my attempt at becoming a regular maker of bento lunches for myself (and, if he wants me to, my fiance).

I am the Bento Neko.  I'm 23 years old and I live in Los Angeles, CA.  I don't really know how to cook much of anything.  I live in a small apartment with a tiny kitchen and pretty limited counter space.  I own a decent set of pots and pans, but don't have any kitchen equipment outside of that.  I currently own 2 bento boxes, pictured below.

A more traditional looking bento...

And a more modern-styled one.

Both of these bentos are fairly large inside.  The red and white one (looks like a pokeball, ne?) holds 500ml in each tier, while the other holds 460ml in each tier.  Again, both pretty large in size.  I may end up acquiring smaller ones as I go along.  In general, I like to pack my main lunch meal in the bottom tier and use the upper tier for snacks through out the day.

If either of these interest you, I bought the traditional looking box from  The item is listed here.  The other one is a monbento box that I ordered from

I also have a couple of books to help guide me and give me a few ideas along my way.

(as you can see, I have taken the book images from Amazon... heh!)

Although I love Japanese cuisine, most of my bentos (for now) will likely be Western in nature.  If I can fit it in the box, it's a bento. :3

I won't be packing one until Monday when I am going to work... so no pictures of actual food until then.  See you next time!

                      /\' '/\
*~Bento Neko =^.^=