“I Make Food That Tell a Story” reads @leesamantha’s Instagram description. Instagram has increasingly become a popular platform for showcasing kyaraben or charaben (short for character bento boxes), and has created a trend around the world of arranging famous characters and cute animals in lunchboxes.
Charaben had started as a way to charm children into eating their lunches in Japan. Since then, creative Asian parents have gained as many as hundreds of thousands of followers for snapping photos of the lunchboxes. Creating a balanced and appetizing meal with vegetables has developed into an art form.
Now, broccoli are trees, tomatoes can be found in between princesses, and between baked eggs and carefully placed seaweed, lunch has magically turned into a story waiting to happen.
Here are our top 7 favorite charaben instagram accounts:
An adorable minion gets his own caption, written in cream on the soup.
This intricate platter stars some of the most loved Sanrio characters (best use of strawberries ever), complete with a sideplate of soy sauce.
Two frogs and a beautiful ham bow, complete with stars and subtle veggies make for a potentially goofy story.
Who could resist Olaf!? Some people are worth…eating for.
This instagram features not just charaben, but the owner’s precious dog posing next to the lunchbox with “how-can-you-say-no” eyes.
Set against a woodland backdrop, these nearly identical lunchboxes star tiny Doraemon flags and broccoli that looks like trees.
There’s a story waiting to be told with this character and a guest appearance of the piggy in the center.
To find more of these beautifully decorated bentos boxes, explore the #キャラ弁 hashtag.