This is the first full-body onigiri that I have done. I was so excited - I've been waiting for this all week!! It's definitely not perfect, but I'm very happy with it. Plus it was fun! I've been drooling over bentos with onigiri sculptures for a long time, thinking that one day I would have a reason to try it. The zoo doesn't have any rabbits so...I thought a panda would be perfect for a Chinese New Year bento.
The Atlanta Zoo has a new baby panda. It's teeny tiny and not ready for a public debut yet, but when it is we'll go see it. This will be the second baby panda that we've gotten to see which makes me so happy :D The pandas are just so cute, I can't help it!
In the bento: Rice ball panda with lots of nori, cucumber bamboo, carrot and provolone 'ball', steamed broccoli, two picks of corn kernels, raspberries, hot dog flowers (you can't see them because they are behind the panda's head), shredded carrots, tiny carrot and provolone flowers.
The second tier holds: More rice with black sesame seed garnish, a bit of cucumber, some frozen peaches, frozen blueberries, more raspberries and more tiny provolone flowers.
The panda's facial features were punched from nori. The eye detail is provolone and the cute cheeks are gari (pickled ginger). He's resting on a huge bed of red leaf lettuce and there is a large piece of veggie hotdog underneath the head, holding it up at the proper angle.
Normally I wouldn't have packed the second tier for A-chan, it's just way too much food for her. However, I'm not actually sure that she will eat onigiri with so much nori on them. I don't usually put that much nori, so I packed some extra plain rice and fruit as insurance.
I'm already planning for next year's CNY bento - A chinese sleeve dance! I've got a whole year to practice and plan so I might just be able to pull it off, lol. I had so much fun mixing in some Chinese dance with my dance class last night, it made for great inspiration.