Instead of brown lunch bags, Japanese kids typically bring bento boxes to school for lunch. And sometimes these bento boxes can be an outlet for mothers to unleash their creativity. You’ll can see how simply by searching for the term ‘Chara-ben’, or ‘Character bento’. There are a surprising number of these results that blend bento and cute characters, and many of them come from Cookpad, the largest recipe portal in Japan.
Over on Cookpad, there are over 15,000 bento recipes available. Moms can browse to find their ideal bento, but there’s a simpler solution that does the work for them. The app is called ‘Kawaii Obento Kensaku’, or ‘cute bento search’.
The app makes it quick and easy for busy moms to find bento recipes, letting users to search for cute bento recipes by color, character, or by ingredients. All of these curated recipes are hand-picked by the developer.
Kawaii-Obento-Kensaku made its debut on a popular weekend TV show, and jumped to number one in the food category after it aired.
On a related note, the same developer behind this bento app has created another interesting recipe app. ‘Cook Lawson’, showcases recipes from Cookpad and other recipe portals that uses foods available from the convenience store Lawson. The app was born out of a hackathon held by Lawson back in August of 2013.