Originally, this bento was going to be purely a left-over kakiage (julienned vegetables in tempura batter) bento, but my mom accidentally ate half, thinking I brought the left-overs home for her. Definitely not enough to feed me, so I fried a few slices of bagnet to complete the set.
Bagnet is a special fried pork dish that is the specialty of Vigan, a very charming town near the northernmost part of the Philippines. Vigan is popular for its ancestral homes; you feel like time stopped somewhere during the Spanish occupation. Anyway, you buy the pork in giant slabs wrapped in old newspapers, already cured and partly fried / dried / whatever they do with it. To prepare, I like to slice it into manageable chunks before deep-frying. It’s best eaten with fresh tomatoes and a dipping sauce of soy and vinegar.
Under the tomato slice is a small canister of tempura sauce, also from the restaurant where I purchased the kakiage. Finally, I included some plain steamed rice. But it felt so plain, so to give it a whimsical touch, I added a nori pig cut-out (forgive me if it doesn’t look like a pig, I was in a rush), with an exclamation mark to show that he was quite shocked at encountering the bagnet. Quite a scary encounter for a young pig who’s thinking of his future, don’t you agree?