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My name is Joanna and I’m currently a junior in college studying Visual Media and Marketing! I grew up moving around a bit, from some time being born in Brazil, to mostly being raised in Hong Kong, and moving between New York and back a few times. This exposure to different cultures really grew my passion for exploration, food, and connection with others. When I moved back to New York to finish high school and go to college, I realised I never really understood where I felt home was, until I left Hong Kong. And ever since that moment, I’ve been on a journey to truly connect with my roots and identity. Learning how to cook from my brother and sharing my journey on social media is one of the ways I’ve felt connected the most, where I get to learn and understand the history and stories behind different dishes, as well as share new memories with loved ones.
I aspire to find balance within myself as a whole and make a difference within the community around me. Far out into the future, I hope to start my own café. My journey of self identity altogether has led me to be so proud of who I am today and every experience that has brought me to this point. As much as I love sharing my story, I want to open a café where I can express my love for what home means to me through food and interior design. Alongside, I would love to use the space as a creative venue for small artists to share their own stories as well as support other small businesses.
A bento box to me is a treasure box of love. It reminds me of the way my own mother would pack me lunches every day before she headed to work. With 3 kids, it wasn’t easy, but she still packed each one with love and care. Now that I’m older and cook for myself and others, I realise how much cooking is a labor of love. Each element within the bento box was carefully made and placed in order to come together in a fusion of flavors. As simple as bento boxes can be, they will always hold a multitude of love and memories no matter what.
In my TAKENAKA Bento, as a college student, I pack whatever I feel like cooking that day! While other times it’s leftovers, sometimes it’s just a snack! One of my favorites so far is the bento with char siu inspired pork belly, egg, stir fried pea shoots, and rice. The flavors are extremely nostalgic and bring me right back to grilling pork chops with my best friends in Hong Kong during camp.
My favorite part of the boxes are how simple and cute yet sustainable and durable they are. The color I’ve chosen is pale olive, one of my favorite shades of green!
Char Siu Inspired Pork Belly Recipe
1 lb pork belly
1 bunch of pea shoots (dou miao/豆苗）
1T garlic (minced)
~1t shaoxing wine
~1t fish sauce
1 stalk scallion
rice (1 serving)
Pork Belly Marinade:
2T brown sugar
1/2T oyster sauce
2T soy sauce
1T shaoxing wine
1/4t five spice powder
a drop of red food coloring
2T garlic (minced)