First charaben (kyaraben) bento, or my attempt at something really cute.

So here it is as I promised my first charaben, some people use kyaraben, which I’m assuming is more authentic. Maybe some of you bento pros out there could clear this up for me, I have this thing for wanting to represent properly, and since I already feel like an amateur – possibly using the wrong term freaks me a little!

A little background first. The Wikipedia definition states: Kyaraben or charaben (キャラ弁?), a shortened form of character bento (キャラクター弁当, kyarakutā bentō?), is a style of elaborately arranged bento which features food decorated to look like people, characters from popular media, animals, and plants.[1] Japanese homemakers often spend time devising their families’ meals,[2] including their boxed lunches.
Originally, a decorated bento was intended to interest children in their food and to encourage a wider range of eating habits. It has now evolved to the point where national contests are held.

Now The Youngest has no problems with interest in her food or trying new things, but she is currently obsessed with Super Mario Bros. So my first attempt at charaben goes something like this:

Here it is, The Youngest’s first Super Mario Bros. bento.  What do you think? I’ll walk you through it, there is a turkey and cheese sandwich on a bagel thin topped with a cheddar cheese invincibility star, along with a cucumber 1-up mushroom, a strawberry and string cheese Goomba (with little cand eyes and cucumber peel details), a wafer mystery block (I used a food doodler to draw the question mark) and a Baby Bel cheese super mushroom.  There are even some gold coins (carrot) coming out of the mystery block!  This was all placed in a stainless steel container I purchased from Amazon.

When I tell you I was pleased with myself after putting this together, that is an understatement. I was absolutely giddy.  Sick right??  I never claimed to be all there.  So now begins a new chapter of exploring this way of bento making.  I’m going to aim for one a week and hopefully I will become a little speedier at it, as this one took me quite a bit longer than usual!

Well, I’m off for today, hope you all had a great weekend!  Looking forward to another fabulous week of bentos! Don’t forget to hop with the Monday blog hops links over in my sidebar, you never know what you might find!
Also if you’d like to find some really excellent examples of charaben, check out my links in this previous post!
This lunch has also been added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday, go check out all the great lunch ideas over there!

Till later,


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10 Responses to First charaben (kyaraben) bento, or my attempt at something really cute.

  1. Mindy says:

    VERY cute! The “gold coins” are perfect, and I love the mushroom. =)

  2. Christina says:

    I love this Steph! Looooove it!

  3. Alicia says:

    Absolutely adorable! My only fear would be that my son wouldn’t want to eat it – he’d want to keep it forever!

  4. linsey says:

    OMG great job!!!!! Love it Love it!!!

  5. Erika says:

    That is amazing!! love it~

  6. Uniflame says:

    I like your first attempt at charaben :)

  7. Mommywantstoread says:

    Oh wow that is amazing! I’m your newest follower. If you get a moment please stop by my blog

  8. Amee says:

    Hi, I followed you on google friends from I hope you follow me back. Thanks : )

  9. Heather says:

    Oh my heavens! so fabulously cute! I’m in utter awe of you! stopped by from the blog hop…come and see me at

  10. How cute! I loved Mario as a kid. This is really awesome.

    I’m a new follower from Swingin By Sunday :-)

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