This week I decided to focus on Bento Boxes! If you don’t know already, I’m one of those weirdos that love plane food – if only for the packaging and “compactliness” alone, even if the taste isn’t always there. (Okay, is almost never there. I know, unforgivable culinary faux pas).
For me, there’s nothing that delights my eyes more than an attractively packaged lunch or snack. When food is fitted perfectly into small shapes and spaces, I am in bliss. Blame it on my obsessive compulsive nature or something. Anyway, at least the Japanese share my love of packed foods in this respect. So I spent some time this week, drooling over Bento boxes and here are some of my favorites.
This box set is rustic and simple. There is nothing to detract from the food you put in it, except maybe the expert dovetail joints that are just works of art. This is a Bento box for serious people, grown-ups, or boring children. Just kidding. This box is lovely, with no thrills, only natural lines and colors that pair well with well-made food. Anyone could eat out of this and feel like they’ve dined with a king, I’m sure. The maker is Aoosy and on Amazon, it sells for around $30.
This smart-looking Bento box is perfect for the office. Bentgo boxes are actually FDA approved for all food materials, believe it or not, and they only run around $15-20 on amazon. Not bad! Bentgo has several other nifty lunch products such as kid-friendly versions, soup and drink containers, etc.
For those folks who like skinny boxes that don’t stack, this is one option that has a lot of variety. It comes with chopsticks and two insert trays that can be used one or the other, or both at a time to allow different combo options. It’s called a Skater box and can be purchased for $15 on amazon.com.
The Eco Lunchbox is another great brand with a classic stainless steel finish and simple clamp closure. These Bentos make for particularly great-looking Bento photos so if you want to start photographing your kid’s lunches, these are the boxes to use. I found them on amazon.com for $30.
And let’s not forget one of the big bonuses of bento box meals – portion control. With a Bento, you’ve got limited space to pack in all the veggies, fruits, proteins, and carbs you desire. The space is finite so you’ll have to make some difficult decisions. This Bento, in particular, from Fit & Fresh, helps with the heavy-lifting and has portion. It will run you $40.
This Yumbox just looks slick, doesn’t it? The only downside in my humble opinion is that you’ll need to either heat everything up that you put in the tray or else eat everything cold. There’s no mix and match with a single tray box. Even so, this box is stylish with its haute menu graphics and slender box approach to a meal. You can snag one of these of one of the two smaller versions for $35-20.
Although its pretty much sacrilegious to eat out of a Bento box with a fork, I found this great utensil set that includes one. Notice, it also has chopsticks so if you don’t know how to use chopsticks, you can at least rest easy that while carrying your Bento kit around, the Bento gods won’t curse you entirely. If you want to feel a bit more authentic, you can get this lovely wooden set for $15 from Startostar.
For those not afraid of the almighty chopstick, here is a nice little set of Bento utensils just for you. These come from K-Steel for $12.