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Bento Boxes & Accessories

alien
Alright, I thought it would be useful to do a post cataloguing all of my various bento supplies and where I purchased them, etc.

WARNING: Massive and picture-heavy post ahead

Updated on March 29, 2006.


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BENTO BOXES - I'll start with my more basic containers and then my way to the cute bento box sets.

These are basically tupperware containers with a removable divider. I purchased the one on the left from my Super H Mart (Asian market) and one on the right from The Container Store. These are my "large" bento containers. Also known as "tight bento" (no idea why), they can be microwaved (without the lid) and are great for packing food that doesn't conform well to a smaller container. I can't remember how much they are, and I can't find the link to the one on the right, but I believe each was under $10.

I purchased these two "divided keepers", which are smaller than the ones pictured above, from The Container Store for less than $5 each. These are my "medium" bento containers and are microwaveable.

My "small" bento containers that I generally use for fruit or dessert. I bought one without a "cup" inside for 99 cents at the H Mart, and another with 2 cups inside for $4. I just took one of the cups out and gave it to the empty one. These Snap 'N Lock containers are also available at The Container Store, but I am not sure if they have them with the cups inside.

These are my Totoro minis - only 2"x2"x1" - that I use for bento box extras. They are available as a set at JBox for $4.50.

This is the "Uneri" (Wave) bento box I bought from JBox. The rectangular shape works well with most of my bentos, but it is a tad on the small side for my big-eating husband. $24

The various components of the Uneri bento - 2 tiers, one with a well-sealing lid, and chopsticks in their own case. There was once a blue band to help keep the bento together, but my husband already has lost it. I will have to buy or make a replacement.

Available for $19.50 from JBox, although I swear it was $18 when I bought it. Anyway, this is a "deeper" bento and can hold a good amount of food.

I like that each tier has its own lid, and the built-in chopsticks are very convenient. This set also once had a bento band that my dear husband managed to misplace. *shakes head*

The Totoro lacquered bowl bento set. I've seen this on eBay for $40, but you can get it via JBox for $25 (the shipping is much more reasonable as well). There is no band to hold this bento together and it will fall apart if you knock it over. I found that a medium, black Sephora bag (the kind you get for free when you order online) is the perfect-sized kinchaku to hold the bento together and transport it safely.

The bowl set is fairly small and doesn't work well for big eaters. It is great for packing a miso soup ball (or a packet of miso soup), as well as for packing noodle-based soup meals. You can find small instant broth packets at Asian markets that you can pack along with your noodles and toppings.

I saw this bento set, which matches so perfectly with my Totoro bowl set, on eBay and had to have it. My biggest indulgence by far, as the seller charged an arm and a leg for shipping. You can find it on eBay by searching for "totoro lunch".

The square shape is easy to work with, but the lack of sealing lids is a bit of a disadvantage if you are trying to pack "wet" foods. This box also is more roomy than the standard bento.

This bento set also did not come with anything to hold it together. I bought a pretty furoshiki from eBay and use it to wrap the bento. Wrapping with furoshiki is very traditional -- you also can stick a pair of chopsticks through the knot. To tie, I place the box in the center of the cloth with the corners of the cloth lined up with the flat edges of the box. I wrap opposite corners over the box and then tie the remaining opposite corners together into a little knot.

My lastAnother pretty bento set - this one comes from an eBay store called Nagomi Inc.. I bought it for $18, and the shipping was reasonable. I was jealous of the rectangular uneri bento I had bought for my husband, so I had to get one of my own. :) This one still has its bento band, which I plan on hiding from the hubs.

All the pieces -- 2 roomy tiers, each with a pretty good lid. The dividers in each layer are removable. This bento set also came with a rice mold that you can press onto your bed of rice to form little logs that are easier to pick up with chopsticks. In fact, I wish this set came with chopsticks.

The bento set in its matching kinchaku. So cute! Plenty of room for other bento sundries in the bag as well.

For convenience, you can collapse the 2 tiers together for storage. The blue uneri bento set and the yellow Totoro set above also are collapsible in this manner.

Added to collection on March 9, 2006. This was a birthday gift from the lovely meocat! It is a 2-tier lacquered bento set that also came with matching chopsticks. It's a roomy 5.5" x 5.5" x 3" when it is assembled like this, and ties up neatly with my furoshiki. :)

The layers of the birthday bento. The compartmentalized layer is a little smaller than the other and serves as the bottom of the set.

This bento is also collapsible, with the bottom layer fitting nicely inside the top layer.

A gift from my hubs - this Hakoya bento came from San Francisco's Japantown. It is gorgeous! Very roomy and made of very solid materials. Definitely not microwave safe.

The Hakoya bento's layers. I like how the white lid provides a very tight seal. This is not a collapsible bento.

This is now my smallest bento, coming in at 5.5" x 2.5" and 3" tall. I got it at Nagomi, Inc. for $15. Why did I get another bento box? Because I had to get one for my hubs, and since I had to pay shipping anyway... :P

The different layers of the little usagi bento.

It's collapsible too! :)

My husband's new bento that I purchased from Nagomi, Inc. Plenty of room for lots of food! And it is sort of manly -- if you don't read the teeny tiny fine print under "Urban Style."

The many parts ofthe Urban Style bento. I am jealous of the built-in chopsticks holder!

AND its collapsible? What can this bento not do? ;)

And that is it for bento boxes! Whew!



BENTO ACCESSORIES - Here are all of the bento goodies that I have collected since I began making bentos in January. I haven't even gotten to use some of them yet!

Rice molds galore! The nigiri mold and two </i>onigiri</i> molds on the left were bought from AsianUtensils, although I have seen them for good prices on eBay as well. I use the smaller triangular mold for mixed rice onigiri or onigiri rolled in different toppings. I use the larger mold for stuffed onigiri. They really are a time saver. The squid, octopus, and 4-shape molds on the right are new (purchased from H Mart this weekend). I think the squid and octopus were $1-$2, and the 4-shape one was $2 or so.

Sauce containers. I bought a package of 15 mini sauce containers from AsianUtensils for $3.50 (the pig, fish, and bottle shapes) and on JBox (I think for less than $3). I bought the disk-shaped and barrel-shaped ones from The Container Store for 99 cents. All are reusable. You fill the pig/fish/bottle containers by squeezing, placing the opening in the sauce, and letting suction pull the sauce into the bottle. To avoid having to clean the little suckers too often, I just keep refilling the same containers with the same kind of sauce (i.e., I always have 2 soy pigs, 2 soy fish, 2 chile bottles, 2 pigs with Vietnamese dipping sauce, etc.).

Sushi grass ($5.99 from AsianUtensils) is great for separating foods in a bento. I sometimes use foil cupcake liners. There are cuter liners available from eBay stores like The Bento Store, which also carries tons of great little bento doodads. On the bottom left are mini-cookie cutters that are good for vegetable garnishes and mini-cookies. And on the bottom right is a wiener cutter that turns an ordinary mini-hotdog into a crab. I think I bought the cookie cutters from AsianUtensils and the wiener cutter (that still makes me laugh as I type it) from The Bento Store. You can find them easily on eBay and other online vendors.

My beloved spam musubi press - excuse the water spots. I think I bought this from AsianUtensils, but I have seen it for less in Asian markets and on eBay.

Last but not least, pictures I ganked off of AsianUtensils of more products I purchased there. The upper left is a tamagoyaki pan, which makes making uniform rolled omelets incredibly easy. The bottom left is a spice toaster - a little pan with a netted lid that keeps the sesame seeds or whatnot from popping all over you and making a mess while you're trying to toast them. And, lastly, to the right is a sesame seed grinder.



I am sure that I have more stuff that I am just not remembering, but that is definitely most, if not all, of my bento collection. Phew! =^-^=



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