Spice Up Your Life With a Taste of Japan

*Fun Bento Box**Cute and Natural Food From California*


Inari Sushi Bento ~Year of Monkey~

Almost new year already.....
Happy year of Monkey!

I cut inari sushi pouch and stuff rice inside.
Here is my bento page on Japan Up! magazine Feb issue;)
Please pick it up at your local restaurants or Japanese grocery stores!! (in LA and OC )


Tofu Dumplings Panda Bento

I made this bento for Japan Up! magazine Jan issue!
This month's theme is tofu, so I made healthy tofu shumai, (kinda dumplings)
Instead of wrapping fillings with wan ton square wraps, I cut them and coat the fillings with them,
Please see below for more details.

Tofu Dumplings
200g Tofu
100g Ground Chicken
1/4  Onion, minced
2tbs Soy Sauce
1tbs Sugar
1/2tbs Sesame Oil
2tbs Potato Starch
1/4tsp  Ginger, grated
20 Won Ton Square Wraps

1. Drain tofu well. (see my blog post "how to press and drain tofu) Mix all the ingredients besides wraps.

2. Cut square wraps into short strips as shown.

3. Shape the tofu mixture into desired size and place on the strips. Coat the tofu balls with the strips. Press firmly to secure strips stick to tofu balls.

4. Steam for about 15 mins.


1. Cut a couple strips of spaghetti into 1-2 inch segments and pan-fry. 
2. Put a black bean on top of the pasta. Repeat 8 times. Carefully insert the pasta into the tofu dumpling where you want to add ears and eyes.

3. Poke a slice of cheese with a boba straw to create nose outlines for panda. Or carve with a toothpick.

4. Carefully move the nose to the face.
5. Cut a piece of nori seaweed to create noses and place on the cheese.


Halloween lunch bento box

Quail egg Jack o lantern bento:)
skeletons are made with quail eggs too.


How To Make Halloween Bento

It's officially fall now! The most wonderful time of the year! I love fall so much.
I'm relocating from SoCal to NorCal. Although I love this socal beach weather, I'm looking forward to having the seasons again.
Therefore no more class at Tokyo Central for a while:(
I'd like to say thank you for all the people who came to join my classes!!!!!
I think I will teach irregularly, so If you'd like to receive the updates from me, please sign up the newsletter through the "Email Signup" app on my Facebook page.

If you have friends or family in the Bay Area, please share my facebook page so that they can get information on my classes:)!

Looking forward to meeting new people in the Bay Area!

This October's issue of Japan Up, I posted how to make Halloween Bento!
Please pick up the magazine if you live in LA or OC!


Disney Silhouette Rice Balls Bento

Went to a concert at a nearby park with this bento tonight!
This silhouette rice balls are easier since you don't need to make face parts.
I had some leftover imitation crabs from the bento class last weekend and wanted to use them up!
Just unwrap a imitation crab to separate red and white parts.
Wrap the red part around rice ball and you'll get this silhouette Disney characters!
In case you don't know what those are.....
Mickey, Minnie, Pooh and Piglet!

For the side dishes, I made chicken karaage and veg spring rolls.
I like wrap a lot of veges with rice paper for picnic bento. It's nice and portable.
Easy to eat with your hands!


Cake Decorating

Made vegan cakes<3
I've been eating cake almost every day lately....;P

Summer Beach Lunch Box

I will teach how to make this summer beach theme bento at Tokyo Central Costa Mesa on 7/25!
12pm~ and 1:30pm~
Please register at the store!
I might post how to make this bento on the next Japan Up! magazine too:)

Tokyo Central
  • 1420 S Azusa Ave
  • West Covina CA 91791


How to Press and Drain Tofu

I used tofu a lot for cooking.
Most of recipes call for drained tofu. It tastes better too!
There are many ways to press and drain tofu, but this is what I usually do.

Use a Pickle Maker!

It works really well and super easy.
I got this at Daiso (http://www.daisojapan.com/)

1. Open a package and wrap tofu with paper towel.
2. Place in a pickle maker and press,

That's it!
Drain water from time to time.
It's done when no more water coming out from tofu.
It depends, but it takes only an hour or two.

Or if you are in hurry, just cut tofu into big cubes and put them into boiling water.
Cook for about 5 mins and drain. Let them cool and use for cooking!


Father's Day Lunch Box

I will teach how to make Father's Day Bento this month!!!
I should have named this bento "kids doodle" or "drawing" bento!?
Anyway, how about give this bento to your dad on father's day his year!?

Class is at Tokyo Central West Covina

1420 S Azusa Ave., West Covina, CA 91791


Spring Picnic Bento

 My husband and I try to have a date night (or a day) at least once a week.
It was a couple of weeks ago that I made this bento for our beach picnic date day.
It was soooo windy out that ended up eating at a park though...

I got salt pickled cherry blossom when I went to Japan last February.
I mixed it with rice and made rice balls.
(You need to wash off salt well. Otherwise so salty)

I made some spring theme animals and flowers with vegetables.
Clover& bees: Green & yellow peppers pickled with shio koji (what is shio koji )
Ladybug: Cherry tomatoes

If you have a seaweed puncher, you can make these characters without spending a lot of time!
You can find them at some Japanese grocery stores or Daiso,


Cute Rice Ball with Kikkoman Soy Sauce

This is another bento I made for JapanUp! magazine May issue.
Yaki Onigiri (roasted rice ball) is very popular in Japan!
Since kikkoman soy sauce has a savory aroma, it is perfect for yaki onigiri.

Squirrel  Yaki Onigiri
 About 250g Cooked  rice 
1 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce 
1/2 tbsp Kikkoman oyster sauce  
1/2 tbsp mirin 
1 mini sausage 
1 fried pasta stick

1 meatball 
1 mushroom 

For face 
A slice of cheese 
Nori seaweed 

How to make

1.Mix rice and 1/2 tbsp soy sauce.

2.Place rice in separate plastic wraps, and make the face, body, tail and hands.  (See picture 5)  Press the rice firmly together so the rice wont fall apart.

3.Heat a little oil on a non-stick frying pan.  Place the rice balls and cook on medium-high heat until the surface is crispy.  Flip them over and do the same on the other sides. 

4.Make a sauce by mixing 1/2 tbsp each of soy sauce, oyster sauce and mirin.  Brush it on the rice balls.  Be careful not to put too much.

5.Put the rice balls on a plate, and decorate the squirrel head and tail with seaweed.  Wait until they cool and place the head, body and tail in a bento box.

6.For ears, slice the sausage as shown in the picture, stick the fried pasta and attach them on the head.

Make an acorn by cutting the tip of the meatball and attaching mushroom with fried spaghetti.  Put the acorn on the body of the squirrel, and place the hands on both sides.  Make the parts of the face with seaweed, and place them with a pair of tweezers.  For cute eyes, use a sliced cheese cut into round shape.


Japanese Character Bento Classes

Do you want to make cute character bento, but don't know how?
Then come join my bento classes!!
Each month I teach you how to make different character.

Sign up for the class updates through my facebook "email signup" app!!

Register for the classes at Tokyo Central Customer Service Desk

Tokyo Central (Costa Mesa)
  • 2975 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa CA
Tokyo Central (West Covina)
  • 1420 S Azusa Ave, West Covina, CA


Animal Rice Balls Bento Box

I made 5 cute bento boxes for JapanUp! magazine May issue.  Each character showcased different Japanese products. (See all five here) I used Yamamotoyama's Soy Wrappers for this animal rice balls!!

Looks like this bento is the most popular of five bento I made.
Therefore, I'm posting the instruction for this animal friends bento:)


June Bride Bento Box

Made lunch for Japan Up! magazine June issue.
June Bride Bento!!!
It's omelette-rice that looks like a bride:)

I made ketchup-rice by frying about 160g of rice and seasoned with ketchup (about 2tbs), salt and pepper. Use more or less seasonings to your taste.

For filings, you can use anything that goes well with ketchup.
I like to put ham, cheese or chicken!
Make 2 rice balls for a head and a body.

Gather the ends of plastic wrap.

Transfer to a bento box.

To creates hair, cut a piece of seaweed as shown and make slits for easier wrapping.
(as shown with white lines)
Then wrap the cut nori around the top of a rice ball.


To make a top hair, just make a tiny rice ball and wrap nori seaweed.

For the dress, I make a thin egg white sheet and fold to look like a dress!

Below is the directions for regular thin egg sheet.
For a thin egg white sheet, you just need to replace 1 egg to 1 egg white.

Thin Egg Sheet

  • 1 Egg
  • 1pinch Salt
  • 1/2tsp Potato starch, dissolved in 1/2tsp water (to make a egg sheet less breakable)
  1. Mix egg, salt and potato starch/water with a fork.
  2. Strain the egg mixture.
    Crystal Casters_p
  3. Heat a non-stick pan over low heat.
  4. Add a little oil and wipe with kitchen paper.
  5. Add the egg mixture in the pan.
  6. Cook over low heat until the surface look not very liquidy. (only takes a couple minutes)
  7. Turn off the heat and put a lid. Let the remaining heat cook the egg completely.
  8. Carefully peel it off from the pan.