All posts by Small Tokyo Kitchen

A Japanese Tokyoite loving food, design, culture and writing

Kindergarten bento – Last bento for the next 40 days (19/Jul/17)

Summer holiday starts at the end of this week (usually 21st of July) in most of the public schools in Tokyo. Our daughter’s school is one of them, and today is the last day for me to prepare a bento for the next 40 days. Despite the joy of bento making for my dearest daughter, it is such a relief not having to do so every day for a while. 

Menu: Onigiri with grilled salmon filling, Omelet, Boiled edamame, Boiled vegetables in chicken stock

Kiwi & banana for dessert


The daily bento making will resume in September. Until then, I will try to write some essays on cultural topics I’ve meant to write for a while…

Thank you always for visiting my blog. It means a lot to me.

Kindergarten bento – A lot of veggies (14/Jul/17)

Menu: Simmered sword fish, Steamed pumpkin, Steamed cabbage & daikon slices, Cucumber sticks, Rice

Grapes for dessert

I cheated and microwaved cabbage & daikon. Somehow it makes me feel a bit guilty to cook veggies in the microwave, but it can’t beat to save some precious time in the morning.

Kindergarten bento – Rice only bento (13/Jul/17)

Once a year around this time of the year, the oldest kids at my daughter’s school make Japanese style curry as a special in-school activity. As requested by her homeroom teacher, I only packed rice (and a bit of veggies & dessert) for her bento today. The kids will pour in their handmade curry to the empty space in their bento box. What a lovely idea, and next year, it’ll be my daughter & her friends turn.

Kindergarten bento – Niku-jaga croquette (12/Jul/17)

With the leftover niku-jaga in the bento yesterday, I made a bunch of croquettes as a variation by mashing the niku-jaga, applying flour, beaten egg & bread crumbs, and deep-frying them.



Despite my effort and to my dismay, however, my daughter only ate one of them in her bento today, claiming the sauce was missing, and it wasn’t very tasty… What an excruciating criticism from a 4-year-old…

Yes, indeed I did omit to season it with her favorite Japanese Worcester sauce this morning. The magic sauce that works wonders with deep fried food such as croquettes and tonkatsu (Japanese style pork schnitzel). I thought it wasn’t necessary because the niku-jaga was already seasoned.

But my daughter is right, the niku-jaga croquettes do taste much better with the sauce, so I served now the leftover croquettes for dinner, this time with her favorite Japanese Worcester sauce.

Kindergarten bento – Onigiri!! (11/Jul/17)

Last night my daughter came up to me while I was washing her bento box in the kitchen, and asked me why I only cook rice or pasta for her bento box and never any onigiri (rice balls). She sounded quite desperate on the verge of bursting into tears. She said one of her best friends’ mummy always pack onigiri for her daghter, but I never do it for her, and she’s very sad, bah bah bah…

I felt a bit trapped with her teary request because I don’t make onigiri always for a good reason; it takes an extra step to make onigiri in the busy morning. I’d rather just pack freshly cooked rice, and get an extra 3-minute-sleep. Wouldn’t anyone?

Nevertheless, I gave in and made onigiri for my daughter out of mother’s love this morning. 

Menu: Onigiri riceballs with nori seaweed, Niku-jaga stewed potatoes & meat, Cherry tomato omelet, Boiled green beans

Banana & Apple for dessert

Kindergarten bento – How to cool a bento in summer (10/Jul/17)

The annual heat wave has arrived in Tokyo, with the humidity of what it feels like 120%. Under this condition without any fridge at my daughter’s school, I must take ‘cooling’ her bento into consideration. I usually put the bento box in a plastic bag, along with two ice patches from the freezer. You get these ice patches from any grocery stores in Japan, since the heat is just overbearing for fresh ingredients.Some kids have a more effective thermos bento box or a bento bag with ice patch embedded. My solution is rather primitive, but it seems to be working just fine so far.

Menu: Chicken meatballs, Shredded vegetable salad, Boiled green beans, Rice with goma-shio sprinkles

Apple mousse & mashed sweet potato combo with raisins for dessert