If you’re at all familiar with bento, you’ll probably know that a lot of people will go all out to create adorable (or just plain amazing) meals for their children— or inner otaku, for that matter. I’ve heard that there is fierce competition to make the cutest lunches (especially for special events like Sports Day) so it’s no wonder that techniques and trends are continually changing, and it seems that the latest fad in lunches is the humble dinner roll.
The idea is to take the already cute plumpness of the roll and turn it into an even cuter face or body. For instance, a couple slices of cucumber, egg and nori cutouts turns an egg salad sandwich into a grinning frog.
▼ He seems a little eager for someone about to be eaten.
That doesn’t seem too difficult, does it? These little, er… “guys” take the same idea a little further. The crust is torn off on one half so they look like they’re wearing pants. Or diapers maybe? Diapers with bow ties.
▼ I never thought I’d want to eat something wearing a diaper.
They don’t always work out quite as planned, like this little slider bear couple with bonus scrambled egg tucked in.
▼ Is it just me or do they look like they’re mid-hurl?
The original poster said “They’re somehow scary… But don’t mind that… ”
▼ Yikes! They’re a couple of lurking burgers!
But remember, a bento can never just be sandwiches. Don’t forget to cook a bunch of little meatballs and blossoming wieners and things.
▼ I knew Disapproving Rabbits was a thing, but I never expected a sandwich to look at me so scornfully.
Some ambitious sandwich artists have taken it a step further by changing the shape of the roll to make things like this mother and baby swan.
▼ Just don’t forget to take out the toothpick. You might lose all your mom cred if your kid has to go to the ER from your sandwiches!
You can watch them being made, if you’re curious. The tools necessary to make them is kind of impressive. She uses tweezers… and a nori seaweed stamp! That is some serious sandwich decorating! It takes about eight minutes to transform a regular sandwich into a cute one.
This next sandwich was crafted along with a little storyline. If you notice, the fox on the left is presenting a love letter to the one on the right, who seems apprehensive about the whole thing.
▼ This is really upping the ante. Now moms will be expected to illustrate a choose-your-own-adventure story in each lunch. Suddenly I feel inadequate.
What do you think the story is with these hedgehogs? Does it involve how they got to have such perfectly placed ham and cheese spines?
▼ If I were a Sports Day mom, I would lose at all the courses. Even the eggs are beautifully boiled!
And then there are characters, because you just have to keep up with all the latest, most popular characters. Everyone loves Rilakkuma, especially when he looks so effortlessly-made.
▼ He’s just chillin’ in some lettuce. He doesn’t care. He’s Rilakkuma.
Disney aficionados will know Duffy, Mickey Mouse’s stuffed bear.
▼ Are those hearts made of wieners? I think I need to go and lie down for a moment.
Do you remember Stitch? I don’t think his ears were ever curled so daintily in the movies.
▼ But then he never had a wiener for a nose, either. Wieners are everywhere!
If you’ve ever wanted to see what a minion tastes like, apparently they taste like bread with melted cheese and nori. Notice that it even has hair made of fried spaghetti.
▼ That is the glassy stare of someone who woke up at 5 in the morning to make an elaborate bento.
No discussion of bento is ever complete without Totoro. Is anyone else remembering the scene where they dance to make the garden grow? So it’s true: putting stories into lunches is really a new trend.
▼ I definitely cannot ever have kids in Japan. The other moms would eat me for lunch—and I would definitely be less attractive than the ones they made. Double fail!
The best thing about this new roll fad is that they don’t even need to be dinner rolls. Someone who (quite appropriately) calls herself Kitchen Overlord has made unbelievable pizza rolls that look like 1-up mushrooms from the Super Mario Bros. games.
▼ I give up. I give up on lunch forever. I bow to the Kitchen Overlord!
These pictures should probably make me want to leap through a garden to make veggies grow or eat an adorable mushroom to double my power, but I think I’m more the Gudetama type. Darii.