ROSALES, Pangasinan – Shoe Mart (SM) City Rosales at Barangay Carmen East here showcases Christmas by holding a decoration making contest on a lunch box called ‘Bento’ over the weekend.

The contest drew 12 participants who were teachers, a homemaker, a baker and culinary students from the University of Luzon.

‘Bento’ is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal consisting of rice, fish or meat with pickled or cooked vegetables, common in Japanese cuisine, placed in a box-shaped container.

Simple arrangement of different kind of style and decorations of ‘bento’ food packs adds aesthetic value that creates mouth-watering delights for kids and adults.

The competition aims to relay the meaning of Christmas with unique decorations on ‘bento’ boxes.

SM Rosales intends for ‘bento’- making a communication channel between the (‘bento’) maker and eater as it serves stylish food common during the Christmas season. The ‘bento’ meal can also be served during Noche Buena.

Professional chefs acted as judges in the competition and declared the following as winners:

Debbee Villanueva, first prize and P5,00 gift certificate, with her “Christmas Surprise Bento” ; and Francisco Villanueva, 2nd prize and P3,000 gift certificate with his “Minions’ Carol Bento.”

A mother and a home cook, Ivendell Alegria, bagged the 3rd prize for her “Happy to Eat” ‘Bento’.

Alegria said that her “bento” is one of her creative outlets as mother. “I’ve been inspired making ‘bento’ almost every day for my kids,” she said.

All the winners received certificate of participation.

‘Bento’- making, a food art, is one way of appreciating food which not only satisfies the palate but also pleases the eye, thus, making kids who are picky eaters to love their food.

The top three winners will advance to the elimination round on December 6, 2015 at SM City Tarlac. The final round will be held on December 13 at SM City Pampanga, where winners from other Luzon SM Malls will compete for the top prizes. ERWIN G. BELEO/NorthboundPH