Breaking in my Jyubako with a Picnic Bento

Last Saturday marked the 2nd Anniversary picnic of Kalye Pinky, our local Pinky:ST collectors group. For me however, it signaled a totally different thing. It was the perfect excuse to break-in my brand new 3-tier Jyubako! A jyubako is a multi-tiered serving box traditionally used for New Year’s feasts. While it’s not New Year’s, nor was it a feast, I figured a picnic bento was a good enough excuse to start using it.


Bento #181 • 26 January 2008

Because it was a snack picnic, I devised a menu where everything is practically finger food or could be handled with picks. For the first tier, I prepared small onigiri made with steamed Koshihikari rice and sakura denbu (Ground Seasoned Codfish). Adding sakura denbu to the rice adds a sweet flavor and pink appearance to the onigiri. In the same tier, I added quail tea eggs, basically, quail eggs steeped in a mix of tea and spices. Tea eggs are sold as street food in China, however, it can easily be made in advance and stored for future use. (Yes, a tutorial is forthcoming).

In the second tier, I placed mostly meat. I prepared bifteki, Greek-style meatballs with Feta cheese inside, and fried chicken marinated in patis (fish sauce) and calamansi (Philippine lemon). Unlike in my previous recipe for the fried chicken, I rolled the chicken breast pieces in cornstarch before frying. While this lessened the spattering as I was frying, I should’ve skipped the coating part because I miss the crisp texture of chicken meat that made direct contact with oil. In the middle, I cooked some adobong mushrooms. Normally, I use bigger mushrooms than these but I had no way of knowing before opening the can.

Adobong Mushrooms v. 26 January 2008

1 can button mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp liquid seasoning (Knorr or Maggi)
2 Tbsp garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp brandy
1 pc. Bayleaf

1. Heat oil and butter.
2. Lightly sauté garlic.
3. Saute mushrooms
4. Add the rest of the ingredients then let simmer for a few minutes, occasionally stirring, until mushrooms are infused with the various seasonings.

For the last tier, I opted for easy to put together things as I was already running late! I threw plans of making veggie rolls out the window and opted for things that required no cooking. So, I threw together some Genmatcha Chocolate sticks, kiat-kiat or miniature oranges, and tuna salad in cherry tomatoes.

Tuna Salad Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes v. 26 January 2008

tuna flakes in oil or vegetable broth, drained
Kewpie Mayonnaise
cherry tomatoes

1. Slice the tops off the cherry tomatoes, then carve out the insides, to create little tomato cups.
2. Mix together tuna flakes and kewpie mayonnaise. Add a small amount of mayonnaise at a time, just enough to make the tuna fuse together. You don’t want a liquid-y mix. If you can’t get kewpie mayonnaise, you can use standard mayonnaise but you’ll have to season the mayo with salt and pepper.
3. Stuff the tuna salad mix in the tomatoes.

It took me roughly four hours to put this bento together from scratch. It would’ve been faster, had I started at least the quail eggs the night before, but I fell asleep. Despite the tiring preparation, I felt jubilant in the end. It was my first full-fledged picnic obento! And in a Jyubako at that. Because I didn’t have bento belts that big, I simply riffled through my craft boxes and picked out two pieces of large bright colored ribbons to secure the boxes together. Cuteness!


After I got to the picnic however, I realized that I packed too much food! We had a never-ending supply of food, so I ended up with lots of leftovers. Still, I dub it a success, leftovers notwithstanding. Now, I need more excuses to use the Jyubako more often—these picnic-style obentos are very addictive to plan, cook and put together!

Want a Jyubako of your own? Check out the
selection of Jyubako, bentos and bento accessories at Jlist /!

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18 Responses to Breaking in my Jyubako with a Picnic Bento

  1. Tony Lou says:

    gaaah! so pretty your bento. and the food looks yummy. and that bento box is so beautiful. at syempre may colour coordination ang pagkain. hehe!

  2. YUE says:

    I enjoyed so much of your bento!!
    Lets have pcinic again soon ne? (so that you can use your jyubako again..hehehe!)

  3. Nightfall says:

    Even though I don’t eat any meat, someday I want to steal one of your bento meals – they are always so pretty!!
    (so, yes, you want to picnic in Boston? ~.^)

  4. Mila says:

    That is so pretty! Box and all the food you made. Picnic!!!

  5. dementedchris says:

    I wish we could picnic somewhere… and you will have no choice but to feed me.

  6. JMom says:

    hi kaoko, what a georgeous picnic bento! and wow! the selection of goodies is awesome :)

    I’m going to have to try the mushroom adobo and lemon/patis chicken. They sound yummy!

  7. Victoria says:

    Mmmm it looks so good! I like the different types of cuisine represented in your bento; very nice *thumbs up*

  8. kaoko says:

    @Tony Lou
    Thankies 😀 😀 😀 Box so cute no?

    Glad you liked it 😀 Yes, I’d love to picnic again just so I can reuse the box.

    How I wish I could just hop on a plane and have an instant dollie picnic with you. ^_^

    Thank you very much 😀

    I will feed you…the question is what? Bwahahahahahaha!

    Thanks! Glad you like it, and I hope the recipes work out for you.

    Thanks much! I was trying to include a wide variety. I’m glad you give it a thumbs up 😀

  9. toni says:

    Aaaah! I love it!!!

    Oh I can’t wait for that quail egg tea egg tutorial.

  10. jelchu says:

    Naglaway ako sa adobong mushrooms. :)

  11. Nilmandra says:

    I have the exact same jyubako too and am still waiting for an excuse to fill it up with food!

  12. Kaits says:

    How gorgeous! I just bought that bento box from Daiso and have been trying to think of ideas for food. (My friend and I are having a hanami picnic.) Your food looks simply glorious!

  13. Pingback: Kitchen Cow Reader’s Favorites | bento, restos & recipes at

  14. cali_maki says:

    i think it would have been better to pack the jyubako using a furoshiki instead of ribbons. i love the food presentation though :)

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