In Japan, we're huge on bento culture. For those of you who aren't familiar with "bento," bento (弁当) refers to food, usually for lunch, packed into boxes. You can buy these practically at any convenience store in Japan, but there are also many people who make their own bento. In bento, there's usually rice, along with side dishes. Since you're able to make your own bento, people go out of their way to arrange their bento into food masterpieces! For example, there is キャラ弁 (kyaraben), which is bento made to look like popular characters. Many styles of bento are out there, and in order to make yours number one, the Japanese bento market has created so many things you can use to "decorate" your bento, such as food picks!
There are various kinds of food picks, such as food picks made out of wood, but the most common forms are made out of plastic, like the ones pictured above. With so many kawaii designs out there, it'll make you want to collect them all! You can reuse them as long as you wash them, so they aren't one-time things. How do you use these food picks though? What kind of things can you do with them? Well, that's when you get on your creative side...
Take a look at these cuties! They're food picks, literally!
These food picks resemble leaves. They make your lunches a little greener.
Look as these quirky food picks! These look like eyes, so they bring your food to life!
And these food picks are from the alphabet, so you can spell out names and words through your food!
All these food picks are very helpful in making your bento the best it can be. You might think, but what if I don't eat/make bento? That's fine! Food picks aren't limited to bento. You can stick them through almost anything to decorate your foods, such as sandwiches, fruits, and even cake! Making food even more presentable and appetizing is one of the goals Japan strives for.
Come to think of it, I can recall very clearly the times when I've passed by family restaraunts in Japan that have お子様ランチ (okosama lunch, lunch for children) and each one would have a food pick flag inserted into the food, like this:
There's actually history behind Japanese food picks. In 1930, Japan was suffering from the Great Depression. In order to bring happiness to children and make them smile, a man named Ando Tarou came up with the idea of "okosama lunch." It featured foods of children's favorites, like hamburger, pudding, and ketchup rice. The rice was shaped as Mt. Fuji, and at its top, a flag! When I think about this, I realize that food picks are very important to Japanese food culture.
We have many food picks here at J-Subculture, so if you're up to decorating and adding fun to your foods, feel free to look through all the products we have below! Keep the tradition alive!
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