Building Blocks to the Bento – A short interview with Jonathan DeLise

A  long shot of Jonathan in Moscow/Photo owned by Jonathan DeLise

For Diversity Eats this week, I have a special interview for you all! The owner of Building My Bento was kind enough to donate his time in talking to me this week. Jonathan DeLise is the owner of the blog and his blog goes over a plethora of areas to cover. He is enthusiastic on all things food, travel, architecture, and culture.

I was floating around in the world wide web and spotted his blog which I found interesting. Some of it ties into what I’m trying to do but on a bigger broader scale. He currently (and originally) resides in the NYC area which has a prominent/interesting diverse food scene itself. Prior to that, he has spent most of his time in East Asia.

Here is my full conversation with Jonathan DeLise.

When did you start blogging about this topic involving food of
diverse background?

I started the blog in January 2012, at the insistence of a friend who
was curious about my often- bizarre adventures.  Writing about a
diverse array of food comes naturally; I’m from NYC, and I’ve lived in
various places in East Asia in the past.  Eating something local/new
is always a priority in my travels, whether that means walking a few
blocks in Manhattan or flying to China.

Why did you start this blog?

A friend thought I had a lot to say about living in East Asia. She
may yet be right, but the blog also serves as a nostalgia trip
whenever I post photos.  The name, BuildingMyBento, stems from my
seminal trip to East Asia. I lived with a host family in Kanazawa,
Japan for a month during high school.

What do you find is the most challenging thing about maintaining this blog?

In the beginning, it was finding time to write a post, but now that
I’ve been at it for a while, my biggest issue is having a library of
very low res. photos.  Seriously!

What role do you think blogging should play in the future of
journalism as a whole?

I’m very cynical about media.  Any form of it is way too powerful and
increasingly, quite toxic to one’s ability to possess sound judgement.
Blogs aren’t an exception to the rule.

What’s the most interesting or exciting aspect of running this blog?

Rehashing various events that happened years ago, and sharing those
experiences with anyone interested, whether it’s a regular reader or
someone merely amused by the photography.  Attending food events to
try new flavor combinations/ideas also has its moments, but in NYC, I
don’t think the fire department would be too pleased with how many
occupants are typically in attendance.

What advice do you have for someone like me just starting to maintain
a beat blog or anything related?

Learn a bit about SEO; find online forums which correlate with your
blog’s content, and create a presence among those spheres; take
higher-resolution photos; have patience with the stats; and add
new/original content at least twice a week.  Enjoy it too, it’s your

Aside from Philly & NYC, what other cities in the U.S. have a prominent food scene like the other two?
There are a number of good food
cities in the US these days…Chicago, both Portlands’, LA, SF,
Charleston, SC, New Orleans, and although I haven’t been, Austin first
come to mind.

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