The Snack Report: ポッピン クッキン つくるう! おべんとう! Poppin’ Cookin’ Make! Bento!
I must confess something. I am a straight dude whom has fought in muaythai and karate, whom plays sports and video games, and whom has multiple badass tattoos… and yet, I am an absolute sucker for over-the-top cutesy adorable stuff. Puppies, stuffed animals, Kirby’s Dream Land, you name it. I am an unabashed fan of super cute stuff. So frigging naturally I would see this and go OH MY GOD WE NEED TO BUY IT…
Okay, so let me defend myself a little bit here. I do really like bento boxes, because I think they’re a really neat little idea. And I do like Japanese culture and food. And I do like gummies more than most types of candy. So let’s just say this thing had a lot going for it. But uh, what exactly is it?
So this here is Poppin’ Cookin’ Make! Bento! It’s a DIY kit for making little gummies instantly, to create an adorable candy version of bento. If you’re curious, bento is basically a Japanese thing where people put little assortments of food into a small box, and take it for lunch. They usually contain rice, some sort of meat, a vegetable, maybe fried egg, and other assortments of little treats. This kit had molds and ingredients for making onigiri rice balls, karaage fried chicken, broccoli, tamagoyaki grilled egg, takoyaki grilled octopus, annnnd… spaghetti. Yep. Just plain-old-ass spaghetti.
The idea here is that the packets contain special gummy mixture that when mixed with water will turn to gel rather quickly. You mix them up using the tiny fork they give you, in the molds, and pop ’em out to make candy bento. It sounds pretty simple, and for the most part it is, though it certainly helps that I do know a bit of Japanese, at least enough to make my way through the directions. However, if you don’t speak any yourself, allow me to give you a very condensed overview of the process.
For starters, all your water is gonna be measured using this little triangle that you cut off the corner of the tray. The directions tell you how many triangles to add to each package, into each mold. Fortunately, water is the only outside ingredient you need; everything else is included.
One by one, you add the powder to a tray, and mix it with the triangles of water. After a few minutes, it will set and turn into a gel, making you a fresh gummy. The colors are mostly self-explanatory. In this case, green becomes broccoli. Brown becomes the chicken, red becomes the octopus. yellow becomes the egg, the orangey pink becomes the spaghetti, and the blue package actually is the “rice” you need for the riceballs. On top of that, there’s also a package of sour/sweet sugar that’s almost like Pixie Stix, which serves as the “seaweed” wrap for the rice balls.
The only two that are somewhat tricky are the spaghetti and the rice balls. The spaghetti gets mixed into a little bag, which you cut the corner off of. You then squeeze it out of there onto the plate, in a long strand, so it looks like noodles.
The rice balls meanwhile are a bit more tactful. For those, you make four separate balls. One triangular one, one large oval for the panda head, and two small ones for the panda ears.
After forming the rice balls, you need to pour the black sugar into the small rectangle and panda face in the tray. After this, you press the big oval into the panda face, and the sugar presses onto it, leaving an adorable little mug of an animal imprinted on it. Similarly, you take the triangular one and roll the bottom over the small rectangle of sugar, giving it a strip along it. These onigiri are actually the most fun part of the entire kit since it gives you a little bit more to do than just stir. Making them actually feels like making real-ass rice balls! Plus, come on, how can you not grin when you see this thing.
After that, it’s just a matter of removing everything from the tray and arranging them. Now, I think the box the kit comes in can actually fold into a tiny little bento tray, but I couldn’t figure out how to do this. We made due with a regular dessert plate.
So was it worth it? Well, that depends. Personally, I would be inclined to say yes about this, since it’s really, pretty fun. And on top of that, the gummies actually do taste really great. You’d probably expect fresh ones made of powder to be sorta gross and chemical-y, but honestly these tasted better than regular, American gummy candies I’ve had here at home. The sour sugar specifically is awesome since, as mentioned, it sorta just tastes like sour Pixie Stix sugar.
The only reason I say it would depend if it’s worth it, is because ironically this did take a fairly long time for making some candy. From start to finish, it took at least 45 minutes, however to be fair that was mostly because it took me a little while at the beginning to decipher the directions which are entirely in Japanese. If you go into it knowing what to, thanks to this handy little guide, you might finish a lot more quickly. Either way, if you like playing with your food or you like making things, or really as long as you’re not impatient, this little kit is well worth it. The only true downside is it wasn’t the cheapest thing, since I bought it for around $5.00 at a fancy candy shop however you can find them on Amazon for like $2.50 right now. It’s certainly a nice little one-time treat, and would be a cute gift for someone who’s into Japanese shit. Oh and obviously like I said at the beginning, just look at it, it’s so friggin’ adorable!
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Popin’ Cookin’ Make Bento
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