The best bento box for you really depends on your needs


As you may know, I was kind of away from this website for a little while. Although I was still writing about meals here and there, also about different topics associated with Japan and Japanese culture, I have been rather absent from the world of bentos. Well OK, I did compose another bento cookbook! But .

In my absence, the idea of the bento box has become a lot more popular. It’s no longer challenging to find a suitable box and other equipment, as it used to be when I started this site back in 2007. Folks are packing all kinds of bento boxes, or lunchboxes if you prefer, as the multitude of consequences for hunting for”bento box” on Google or Pinterest and much more reveal. Individuals who have interest in anything Japanese, or food, are currently showing interest in bento lunches. This is a great thing; once I began this website, it was to to spread the idea of the bento lunch, not just Japanese recipes to get bentos. Simply looking through the recipes on this website (that are 100% bento-friendly) will reveal that there are plenty of not so Japanese recipes as well as Japanese ones, and both Just Bento Cookbooks have lots of recipes of both types.

In case it is not clear, the tl;dr version is: A bento dinner is just a mobile meal in a mobile container. A homemade bento lunch is usually packed in a re-usable container, and ideally contains food that 1) tastes great (and safe!) A few hours after it’s created, 2) meets your or your family’s dietary needs, and 3) looks quite yummy.

While the overall notion of the bento dinner has really spread wide and far, I still feel that a whole great deal of individuals are not quite getting it. An instance in point is a recent video inspection submitted by the traditional American institution, Cook’s Illustrated. With due respect, I think that they are quite missing the point.

There is no such thing because the sole ideal bento box which matches everyone.

The issue with product reviews of any kind that select the”best” of a thing is that they do not take into consideration which everybody has different priorities and requirements. The aforementioned mentioned video review is different. A sizable MonBento version, the one they picked, is perfectly great. MonBento makes great bento boxes (here is my review of one), but is the one that they selected for everyone? Surely not. It’s huge. It is truly marketed as a picnic box for 2 or more individuals. It’s going to take up a ton of room and how would you package that thing in even a bag or a briefcase? And just how would a small child having a back pack carry forth and that back to college?

Before heading out to purchase a bento box, think over your motives and priorities needing to get to bento lunches, and everything you would like to eat inside them.

That’s a long headline, but it will cover before rushing out to buy a bento box, what everyone should think over. For instance:

  • Do you wish to really get into Japanese style bentos? Then of course, a’conventional’ Japanese bento box will work flawlessly.
  • Are you really interested in producing charaben/kyaraben, i.e. cosmetic bentos with cute faces and these? Again, a tiny Japanese style bento box works fantastic.
  • Are you likely to be mainly packing’fluffy’ foods like sandwiches and salads? A Japanese fashion bento, if the food in it is really not or Japanese, is packaged quite closely with very little room for your meals to maneuver around. This usually means you can pack a great deal of meals in a container. However, if you’d rather package meals that wants a good deal of space and can not be compacted, like a sandwich or a salad , then you are going to need a container. It’s possible that you, or your kid, is and not bothering each other, in which case you’ll also need a box with lots of perhaps compartments or space. (if you’re simply likely to be packing the standard sliced bread kind sandwich, you could just get a sandwich box)
  • Would you wish to warm up your food before you eat it in a microwave? Then you require a microwave-safe box naturally. You could think about a thermal lunch jar, which keeps your food cold or hot .
  • Do you need to decrease or eliminate your usage of plastics? You might wish to opt for a non-plastic box made from wood or metal, although you have to be aware of the drawbacks of these materials.
  • Last but least, would you just want to accumulate those fairly boxes? I know – I had been like that for a short time. That’s a whole other issue like collecting dinnerware or something. For practical purposes you don’t need a huge number of boxes.

It seems to me the only kind of supper the Cook’s Illustrated testers were considering for their reviews were the’fluffy with lots of air’ type, which explains why they went for the huge box. However, if that’s not the type of lunch you wish to pack that distance and bulk taken up by a box is merely unnecessary.

Many men and women need at least 2 unique forms of bento boxes, plus a couple of side boxes.

Odds Are you will need at least 2 types of containers to your bentos unless you only eat one type of bento lunch:

One streamlined Japanese style box, for thickly packed meals. As I’ve stated many times on these webpages, Japanese bentos are quite packed pretty closely and hold a lot of food.

The photos here are in the Just Bento Cookbook 2; they show a fairly hearty meal organized on a flat plate, and the same meal packed into a single-layer type Japanese bento box plus a two-tier type box. The single layer box comes with a capacity of approximately 850ml, along with the two grade one a total. The plate is a normal dinner plate, about 11 inches (28cm) in diameter.




One bigger box, for salads or sandwiches and other foods that require a good deal of air around them. Both of these boxes have a potential of about 900 to 1000 pound; the one on the right would be really a 2-tier box, and every tier holding approximately 500 ml. Still a good deal smaller compared to the MonBento box yet! Personally I don’t really like large boxes because of the bulk, so I would rather pack cakes in a number of boxes – a large one for the greens that are fluffy, along with a leakproof facet box or two for saya bean blend marinated in dressing or shredded cheese and ham.


In addition to the two box types, you may always want to own:

Some small unwanted boxes for fruit, dessert and so on that you would like to stay different from the remainder of the food, or even to use for the salad packing method described above.


That should cover the needs of most people. If you want to put in a kind of box that a thermal type may be useful, especially for soup lunches, that are great in winter. Here’s another bento from the Bento Cookbook 2, using sides at a small yet adorable kids’s bento box and a soup at the container that is thermal that I use as a side box.


Non-plastic bento boxes


Some are made of other substances, although bento boxes are all made of some kind of plastic. My comparison chart of different kinds of substances employed for bento boxes should come in handy. Think about how much you desire to get rid of if eliminating or reducing plastics is a priority for you. If you need 100 boxes, then if you put items that are liquid inside them they’re going to flow.

The remedy would be to not place things that are liquid in them, and carry them the perfect way up, if you wish to maintain your bento containers. It’s a little hassle and you want to take into account whether it is possible to deal with that. If you can permit yourself a diminished amount of plastic, then a box with a silicone or plastic sealing side boxes for liquid elements or sealing a couple of internal silicone gasket around the lid or plastic containers with lids might be a suitable compromise.

Further studying

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Or just garnished with a classic vegan tofu scramble could be a perfect way to serve this up.

Store in the freezer for up to 6 weeks . The best approach is to wait around to fully cool to room temperature. You so they don ’ t ’ ll want to put the patties at a ziploc bag adhere together from the freezer. To reheat from frozen, heat in the microwave for about 45-60 seconds on each side until heated through.

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  • two Tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 1/2 white onion, cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, pared
  • two (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • two Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil


  1. Combine ground flax seeds and water in a little bowl. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to thicken up.
  2. In a food processor, add the bell pepper, white onion, garlic, and black beans. Pulse beans are mashed but still a bit chunky with a couple beans still undamaged and until peppers and onions are chopped very little.
  3. Insert bean mix into a bowl. To it, add seasonings, bread crumbs, and the thickened flax mix. Stir to blend all of the ingredients.
  4. Employing a 1/2 cup, then form the mixture into 8 patties.
  5. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Drizzle olive oil . Brown patties in skillet 5-7 minutes on each side.