Mealtime fun with Little Miss Bento

Bloesem Kids | Little Miss Bento Interview

I think few things sound cooler than being a bento specialist like Shirley Wong of food blog Little Miss Bento. If you follow her on Instagram, you'd have seen all her eye-catching creations of meticulously prepared bento featuring our kids' favourite characters (and some even reminiscent of our own childhood!). Besides that, the talented Shirley also uploads pictures of her homemade traditional bento, Japanese tarts, sweets and more.. As if scrolling through her feed endlessly wasn't satisfying enough, she shares all of her recipes on her blog for readers to try! Now, before we have a go in the kitchen, here's the rest of the Bloesem Gazette interview we had with Shirley..

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Japonica rice topped with some salmon flakes and a hot bowl of miso soup.

Ah, that sounds delightful.. And what about secret indulgences, any to share?

I am so in love with Hunters' pistachio butter lately. Some nights, I sneakily open my fridge and eat a spoonful to satisfy my cravings.

What is your favourite comfort food and why?

Bar chor mee. This definitely speaks volume of the local girl I am. Aside from the fact that Bar Chor Mee is simply delicious, there is certain resonance because of its familiar and nostalgic.

And what's a must-try local dish here in Singapore?

Hainanese chicken rice!

Any tips to making the perfect sandwich?

Everything is best when served fresh and using fresh ingredients with good bread. If the sandwich has to be packed to be on the go, I usually prefer slightly thicker bread slices or more crusty type of bread to prevent sogginess. You can also consider buttering the bread and ensure that the vegetables are dry (e.g pat dry using some kitchen paper napkins).

Got to keep that in mind! Now here's a deeply personal one.. How do you like your eggs?

Sous Vide style eggs – perfection!

What are 5 places you go to for recipe inspirations?

I can't name 5, but the immediate thoughts are my mum's kitchen (she is such an awesome cook), Japanese cooking websites and some of the Instagram accounts that I follow.

Get together with your best friends: where and what do you eat?

At home(s). The best gatherings so far are hosted at home. While none of us are professional chefs, nothing beats the freshly prepared home cooked meals and the quality time spent in such intimate settings.

Agreed! Then what do you think is the most versatile ingredient to use when preparing meals?

As a bento and food artist, rice is one of my most favourite versatile ingredient that I work with. The amazing thing about rice is that not only can it complement the side dishes, it can also be a key highlight of the meal. And of course, rice has also enabled me endless possibilities in shaping and making the different bento and food art designs.

What trends do you see in foodie culture?

One is the popularity in rustic and all-natural healthy foods, hence the increase in products such as nut butters, granolas/muesli, chia seeds etc. Coupled with the digital media trends where people are often on the lookout for the next "in" thing, one would often see the introduction of new or less common flavours/food from bamboo charcoal to yuzu for instance. It is also interesting to note that despite the strong emergence of international food scene such as Seoul food, there is still a constant demand for local flavours, the same reason why flavours such as salted egg, milo and milk tea are often popular.

True! Not only do people enjoy trying out new, interesting food, they also love taking photos of them. Do you have any tips to style a nice food shot?

Space. Let the food 'breathe'. Styling requires not only the right food and props but also the entire composition of the elements. For me, I think a good attractive food picture is often one that draws your eyes to the food but yet not overcrowded. Giving the viewer the breathing space for your eyes to rest. I cannot also stress how important good lighting is. Be it a brightly lit setting or one that is dark and moody, lighting will help you get your desired shot much quicker.

Take it from Shirley.. Her Instagram feed is lovely and her creations amazing. Thanks for your contribution to our latest Bloesem Gazette!

.. Follow Shirley Wong on Instagram and give Little Miss Bento a visit!
.. Bloesem and Zara S. on Instagram
.. Bloesem Gazette Issue No. 5

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