Welcome to Vanilla Infinite!
We are a team bonded by our passion for food and home-cooking. We especially love delicious, healthy, and colorful bentos, and we hope that you can find some inspirations here for your next meal.
Start your bento adventure from here.
Hi, I’m Ophelia.
My favorite bento dish is Taiwanese braised pork and pickled radish omelette. I enjoy the moment of opening my steaming hot bento box everyday, and I like that my food are arranged nicely without blending with each other. Most important of all, I love how making bento connects me to people whom I love.
I started cooking after I moved to the U.S. in 2018. At that time, I was a student who missed home so much, emotionally and physically. The convenience life in Taiwan had spoiled me, I was so used to be surrounded by gourmets and delicious snacks but never learned how to cook a proper meal. So, starting form scratch, I learned about the magic of turning ingredients into food in my little kitchen.
To my surprise, cooking, this seemingly daunting task is actually like yoga. It brings peace and a great sense of accomplishment. Cooking, for me, is a quality time with myself, and an activity which reminds me of where I’m from, who I am, and the people whom I love.
Bento/Biandang is a celebrated culture in Taiwan. Store-bought or self-made, bento contains endless varieties of dishes from all around the world. The gourmet inside the box could be sushi, fried rice, pasta, hamburger, curry, or spring roll. It’s about having the freedom of eating whatever you like anywhere, anytime, and about self-care.
The other benefit of cooking and making bento is that I got endless topics to talk to my parents, aunts, and friends. Sometimes, I facetimed my dad in Asian grocery store for which fish is fresher, and sometimes, I asked my friends’ input about what to cook tonight. Moreover, I met news friends who share the love of cooking on social media (and…here you are! A new friend who is reading my bio).
And hi, I’m Claudia.
Growing up in Taiwan, I’d bring my stainless steel bento box to school every morning, put it in the classroom steamer with everyone else’s to heat it up until noon time. When the school bell rang, someone would immediately open the steamer, and the classroom would be filled with all sorts of flavors mixed together in steam.
Honestly, that steam didn’t smell great, as you can imagine after heating dozens of different bento boxes for hours. Yet I was always looking forward to the lunch break with my friends to have my mom’s dishes, even if it was usually the same thing as I had the previous night.
My favorite bento dish is curry rice. Curry reheats quite well, and the flavor improves overnight. Also, I think curry is the one dish I make that is the closest to my mom’s (always impromptu) recipe.
I didn’t start cooking until I left home for college. My mom is the best chef in the world, and she can magically put together a feast in half an hour. When my mom takes a break from her fortress, my dad would get excited for his experiment time. He loves trying new kitchen gadgets, and he is never afraid of trying new recipes.
So I didn’t really have much chance to cook at home. And then, being an international student, suddenly I had to deal with foreign language and culture, and being away from family and friends. Food was the cure for my homesickness, and cooking was destressing. I would chop up a whole cabbage to make dumplings the night before finals (try it, it’s incredibly soothing!), and cook spinach and broccoli from the salad bar in the microwave (which was all I had at the dorm).
And now, I cook for my family and friends, just like what my parents have always been doing.
Hi, I’m Lexie!
Grew up in a family in which both my parents enjoy cooking, my childhood memory is filled with food. Since I was a child, I was the “sous chef” of my mom. We used to spend a lot of time wandering and shopping in the traditional market for dinner. I particularly enjoyed the time in the market with my mom: the vibrant energy and the smell of food are still vivid even till today.
My mom and I spent so much time together in the kitchen, turning the ingredients into gourmet dishes on table while chatting about my school life. The dinner became my school bento for the next day-that was my first and dearest memory of bento. To be honest, I didn’t appreciate the reheated bento at that time, but looking back now, I miss those bentos so much.
Unlike my mom who cooked every day, my dad was a holiday chef. He was creative about cooking and enjoyed his culinary experiments. Although he didn’t cook much, the dishes he made were full of surprises. I wouldn’t say the results were always delicious but it was his daring spirit that inspired me when I started cooking.
The aromatic and spicy Mapo tofu was the starting point of my cooking journey. I learned this dish from my mom and I cooked for my family from time to time. The ability to prepare healthy and tasty dishes helps me achieve my goal in fitness and it is my way of fulfilling a healthy living style. For me, cooking is the gesture of love and the process is soothing and full of fun. Hopefully, you can find the joy of cooking here as much as we do.
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• Something for Everyone–30 bento/75 recipe from around the world.
• Easy to Prepare–simple recipes with approachable ingredients
• Sustainable Lifestyle–reduce expense and wastes from takeouts
• Healthy Diet–all bentos are under 500 calories