Starting Fresh   Leave a comment

I’m completely new to making bento, but no stranger to cooking. Recently, the “bug” just bit me and I can’t exactly explain it. It’s now turning into something just short of an obsession. A year ago when I saw random pictures of bento, I thought to myself, “Wow, that looks REALLY great, but I bet it’s a real pain to make.” I even went on to j-list back then, browsing their bento box collection, but the question came to mind, “What would I even put in my box? I can’t fix anything as fancy as those other ones… and I just don’t have that much time.” My, have things changed. Over the past few weeks and quite a few YouTube videos later, here I am, making wonderful little boxes of culinary goodness. So, I decided to start a blog dedicated to my love of food and my adventures in making bento. Today, I’m starting fresh.

About two months ago, I discovered an Asian grocery store nearby that happened to carry a LOT of Japanese goods. From Pocky to unagi sauce, instant dashi and fresh bunapi mushrooms, they seemed to have it all! Even better, the prices were beyond reasonable! It was official… I had died and gone to food heaven! I was so eager to go back and when I finally did, the first few times were on the weekend. For those of you unaware, Asian markets in general seem to be the busiest on weekends. >.< It was hell just trying to get down an aisle, let alone stay in one spot long enough to read labels on sauces and other seasonings. It was too easy to feel claustrophobic. I grabbed a few necessary items and headed out. The next few visits weren’t as bad, probably because I went much earlier in the day. Still, I hadn’t gotten to browse all the aisles completely due to being pressed for time and I was already carrying groceries from the usual grocery store.

Today, I happened to be very lucky and was able to not only go on an “off” day – Wednesday, it was early – 11 am! I was excited. When I arrived, it was relatively empty. I was beyond ecstatic to browse the aisles, each one this time, and not worry about A) being in someone’s way, B) the heavy groceries I normally carry (which just get heavier over time), and or C) having to get back home soon because hunger is telling me I need to. (Maybe it’s just me, but I get hungry when I go into grocery stores and it’s much worse if I haven’t eaten.) I must have stayed in there for an hour. I’d never seen so much great stuff since I went to Mitsuwa in the suburbs.

So here’s my haul:

I know black bean sauce isn’t necessarily Japanese, but it’s still really good on chicken, which would be great in a future bento. I was really excited about the eel/unagi sauce, because it’s very tasty on shrimp tempura maki as well as other things. The goma shio furikake was another “flavor” I was excited to try, after reading so much about it on other sites. Of course, no haul would be complete without a few sweets as well. :]

When I finally got back home, I was starving – the soup I had earlier did well enough to keep hunger at bay while I was out, but the heat and walk home got to me. (As well as having bags of more food to cook!) I foraged through the fridge and remembered I had more left overs that had to be eaten soon so I began the process of warming them up as well as making a fresh batch of rice. (Today just happened to be the day I didn’t have any premade left.) It was time to test a few of the products I got.

Here’s the breakdown:

The goma shio furikake was amazing! It had a slight toasty, nutty flavor with a touch of salt. It wasn’t as salty as I thought it would be, but I can see how too much can over-season your rice. I also drizzled just a teeny bit of unagi sauce on the chicken teriyaki and it gave it an even deeper flavor. Overall, it was the perfect bento after a fun food adventure.

I’ll be posting again soon, but until then, happy eating!

Posted June 16, 2010 by Auryon in Uncategorized

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