Loving Home Newsletter

Charaben workshop on preparing a loving lunch box

Many parents rack their brains over their children's picky eating habits, but a little thought can turn regular food into their favourite. One way is to make a Charaben (cartoon lunch box) that children instinctively find appetising. The SHKP Club took Star members to YATA in August to learn how to make enthralling Charaben.

Loving home lunch boxes offer support

Popular Japanese bento trainer Yumiko told members at the workshop to use three elements – bright colours, lovely shapes and balanced nutrition – create lovely, delicious bento. Bento preparation isn't complicated, but parents need to be patient to create the cartoon images children love. Below is a recipe for Kumamon bento.

Ingredients (Kumamon's head)
Rice 100 g
Mozzarella cheese 1 slice
Red sausage 1
Seaweed Sufficient
Black sesame 2 seeds
Dry spaghetti 2 sticks
(each about 1.2 cm long)
Salt To taste
Rice ball filling To taste


  1. Mix salt and warm rice well, wrap in plastic and form into an oval by hand.
  2. Remove the plastic and cover the rice ball with seaweed, then replace the plastic and form into an oval until the seaweed is completely stuck to the surface.
  3. Cut the mozzarella in two and use half to make Kumamoto's eyes, inner ears, cheeks and eyebrows.
  4. Wrap the other half of cheese with seaweed and make Kumamoto's ear lobes.
  5. Cut openings on either side of the seaweed rice ball (head) and insert the cheese ear lobes.
  6. Cut a nose and mouth in the ball, position the eyes, inner ears, cheeks, eyebrows, nose and mouth according to the pictures, and then place a black sesame seed in the middle of each eye.
  7. Finally, cut about 2 mm off each end of the red sausage and stick them on the cheeks using spaghetti sticks.
  8. You can add fillings like plum or dried meat floss to the rice ball before making Kumamoto's head for more flavour.

Ingredients (sunflower sausage)
Red sausage 1
Corn To taste
Okra 1 pod
Dry spaghetti 5 to 6 sticks
(each about 1.2 cm long)


  1. Cut the sausage in half then cut a grid of 16 equal squares (each about 3 mm deep) on the cross section.
  2. Boil the okra and sausage separately and let cool.
  3. Skewer the corn with the spaghetti sticks and insert the sticks into the sides of the sausage to form sunflower petals.
  4. Finally, slice the okra on an angle into leaves for decoration.
Instructions of bear head
Instructions of sunflower sausage