It seems everyone is going crazy for Angry Birds. The popular game has been marketed across several platforms, and merchandise like t-shirts, plush toys, and cell phone cases and skins. One crafty food artist has even created a Bento box lunch around the Angry Birds characters.
The food, showcased in late January on MyMealBox.com, features the iconic red bird and a smirking green pig nestled in a cozy bed of greens. The bird was created using tomato paste and rice, and the pig was done with a combination of edamame, pea paste, and rice. Balls of sticky rice like this are known as onigiri in Japanese cuisine.
After shaping the bodies, the bird’s beak was formed from the tip of a baby carrot, and a cucumber slice was used for the pig’s snout. The eyes of each character were formed using cheese and sheets of pressed seaweed called nori. More nori was added to make expressive eyebrows, and a sheet of red pasta cut into a feather added the finishing touch on the bird. The artist even cleverly added some chicken nuggets to form the pig’s “fortress.”
Bento-style lunching is becoming very popular in the United States. In Japan, it was originally designed to make children more interested in eating their lunch, and the traditional bento meal provides a varied diet with proper proportioning of the various kinds of foods needed for a balanced, healthy diet. This is partly why it appeals to Americans, since it typically makes for a tasty, low-fat snack packed with nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables.
This particular style of bento creation is called kyaraben, which is a shortened form of the Japanese phrase meaning “character bento.” Many kyaraben meals are very elaborate and time-consuming to make, this one included. The art form has become so popular, both in Japan and across the world, that there are contests held for bento creators to show off their skills.
Other artists have created some really cool kyaraben based on video games, but this one is easily my favorite so far. On top of being pretty to look at, it sounds delicious and super-nutritious.
I give it all three stars.