LP25: 10 Things About Bento

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The 25th round of Lasang Pinoy is all about bento (or should I say baon) and since I’ve been packing lunch for work almost always for the past 6 months, I decided to list down 10 things about it.

1. The size of my usual teeny weeny lunchbox makes my officemates worry so much if I’m eating enough.

2. The Kiwi lifestyle is that everybody eats lunch in the office. Or at least I think so. Uso ang magdala ng baon. Bakit kamo? Ewan ko but most probably because they all believe in preserving the environment. Usong linya po yan sa opis. Seriously, I think health and frugality are the main reasons.

3. The office lunchroom:
– Very baon-friendly. Clean and efficient except for the fact that the cutlery drawer is too far from the coffee station. With 2 large dining tables and a long bar counter, it is big enough for our informal meetings and gatherings. It is also a library.
– Love the kitchen. Complete whiteware. 1 big fridge and a small one full of bottles of fresh milk. (Not to mention that hot, hot, HOT 20-something Maori milkman who delivers ‘em!) There’s hot and chilled water direct from water filter tap. Easy to prepare your lunch as there’s bread toaster, oven and microwave. Cleaning up isn’t a problem, too. Everybody’s responsible enough to place their dirty stash in the dishwasher.
– Coffee (fresh or instant), tea and chocolate drink are free anytime of the day. Drinks (beer and wine), nibbles and lollies free every Friday afternoon.

4. As a result of no. 2, I am oh so conscious of what goes into my lunchbox. Sa Pilipinas, adobo ulam wow na yan sa classmates ko. O kaya porkchop pero pritong galunggong OK na din sa akin. Basta importante may kanin. Ngayon feeling ko kailangan ang baon ko ay complete meal. Sus! Daming kailangan. There should always be vegetables. There should be more vegie than my usual intake. I have to bury those yummy chunks of pork fat under the potatoes. Can’t bring anything smelly like dried fish or alamang. Blah blah blah…

5. As a result of no. 4, I get obsessed with neatly arranging my lunchbox. Once an officemate, she’s American, was totally blown away saying “Goodness! Your lunch is neatly arranged!” O ‘di ba? Designer na designer ang dating ko? Though it was just steamed rice topped with Swiss Vienna sausage, carrots and beans.

6. I do try to cook most if not everything freshly in the morning but oftentimes cooking extra for dinner is the key. When really lazy, then sandwich it is.

7. The usual suspects:
– Noodles or plain rice topped with leftovers (i.e adobo, chicken curry and the likes). I steam vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, green beans or potatoes while eating breakfast.
– Fresh salad greens with tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese. Throw in slices of ham or bacon or chunks of cooked pork or chicken. Leftover shrimps the previous night add a delightful color.
– Pasta tossed in olive oil with bacon and mushrooms.
– Sandwich. From really nice stuff in it like bacon and lettuce to simple but yummy matamis na bao. On such occasion, I eat at my desk.

8. If I eat lunch at my desk while working, I usually spend my break time wandering the streets of cosmopolitan and chic Newmarket.

9. No cute bento for the kiddo. He’s happy to have:
– A pair of white bread with cheese or chocolate spread in it.
– Donuts.
– Rice with sausages or adobo or tuna and a banana.
– Noodles topped with few chunks of meat and little vegies.

10. Baon makes us feel better about our health and finances.

That would be my tocino bento all over this page.

Cut thin triangles around slices of carrots. Mix ‘em with green beans.

Use those tiny carrot triangles and diagonal rings cut from edges of the green beans as garnishing. Have fun! Get creative and playful as much as you like. Your hard-boiled egg can be anything you want it to be.

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

10 thoughts on “LP25: 10 Things About Bento

  1. kagandahan namang bento/baon nito sister! onga naman, parang ang konti:) that wouldn’t be enough for me:) naaalala ko tuloy ang mga first few days ko sa Brunei! eat lunch to death! maski anong iluto ng housemates! haha!

  2. Kagandahan nga naman ng tocino bento mo . . . I remember my 4-month stint in Kiwiland years ago and everyone in the office (and site!) brought baon bags, too, for lunch . . . and yeah, not to forget the HOT Maori milk delivery men you mentioned . . . Wahahaaa!!!

    Great entry! Thanks for joining LP25!

  3. Ganda nang presentation nang bento mo lalong nag mumukhang masarap. Sa stress na naidudulot nang work ngayon, dapat maganda at masarap ang bento para naman mabuhayan at mas masaya.

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