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Friday Favorite – Bento Boxes


I am jumping on the Friday Favorites Meme so I will be posting a family favorite in our household every Friday. Today’s favorite is Bento! Bento is the Japanese tradition of making beautiful and functional box lunches. My all time favorite lunchbox for my kids is an American style Bento box called a laptop lunchbox. It you didn’t catch my review of these a few months back here it is again.

Well, there is a funny story about that first post. I guess it inspired Jenn to start using bento boxes. She quickly found that it can be addicting and she and a partner ended up starting Bento Yum, a bento blog that I am loving. I am totally impressed with Jenn’s ability to create beautiful bento box. On the other hand….my bank account doesn’t like Bento Yum very much as Jenn and Abigail also use it to sell authentic Japanese Bento boxes direct from Japan. I am quickly getting addicted to collecting Bento boxes and related accessories too, despite the fact that I don’t really have a reason to make any lunches during the summer months. :) Although we did take a couple road trips to Amish country and one to visit three uncles and a cousin (who are Japanese incidentally) and I packed Bento luches for my kids to munch on in the car.

I like Bento boxes because they make it easy to make waste free lunches, they are easy to put last night’s leftovers in, they are adorable and make lunch making fun, and it has meant delving into a whole different culture with foreign words for your kids to use and impress friend with like…tamagoyaki, oshibori, onigiri. It is great fun!

I have taken a picture of some of my favorite Bento boxes that I have accumulated (above). Among the actual bento boxes you will see egg molds, food cups and dividers, chopsticks, and condiment containers. And (close your eyes Jenn) I may have a lead on a local source of Japanese bento boxes so I am checking it out this weekend. Amazing how something like a lunchbox can be so exciting.

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  • Carrie

    I made a feeble attempt at bento a couple of weeks ago when me and the kids went out of town. I couldn’t find bento supplies anywhere but managed to make some pretty cute little food creations in small rubbermaid containers.
    I confiscated some of my boy’s Lego flowers and greenery lol! I also had some sushi grass.
    It was fun. I can see how it can get addicting.

  • I came across bento yum site the other day and was totally inspired to make lunches for the hubby to take to work. Mostly he’s just getting fancy leftovers and whatnot but it’s been pretty fun. I have been looking at bento boxes to get something decent for him to carry his lunch in. hopefully come payday I’ll be able to get him something.

  • Tiffany!!! Where are the pictures of what you found HERE?

    It’s like four whole days before I can get down to that store and I’m just drooling to know what they have. Incidentally, I’ve found that taking the kids to Mango’s Place while I go work via wifi at Panera is a great excuse to make bento lunches. :) (Mango’s will feed the kids if you take a lunch)

    I’m also headed to Boston and San Jose/San Fran in August. I hear I can get great bento supplies cheap. You’re here in town, so if there’s anything you are craving, let me know and I can see what I can find.

  • Well, they are not cheap…so that sucks but they had some really nice adult bentos. I like the kiddie themed ones so I got 2 Hello Kitty ones and one adult one that looks shimmery like pearls with little turtles on it. They also had some pencil boxes that I thought would make good bentos. I bet they will have awesome bentos in San Fran!

  • i wonder if you have a diaso store near you? these are japanese dollar stores that are just opening in the states. they have amazing bento boxes and supplies all for $1.50!!!! yes, everything in the store is $1.50.

    i recently gave bento boxes as the ‘favor’ at my son’s birthday party. you can read about daiso on my blog:

    i’m enjoying your blog. thanks!

  • I’d heard of these somewhere but never seen them–what a fun thing to use for lunches–I bet my teen daughter would love them.

  • melinda

    I just got a Bento/laptop lunchbox for my 4 year old…..he wants to use it so badly for his school lunches, but is unable to open the lunchbox….he is trying to master it so he can use it. It is such a great way to do lunches.

  • Niall Harbison

    Hi there

    I just came accross your blog thanks to stumbleupon and I am loving the food pics that you have, they are all so bright and full of colour. I started off as a blogger myself a year ago and loved talking to other food bloggers around the world so much that I wanted to find a way of more people sharing photos and meeting other foodies. I used to get annoyed that I would be making so many great recipe videos and food photos and hardly anybody would see them! That is when I came up with which is a new site for foodies all around the world to share food photos, recipes and videos as well as meeting other foodies. We are only starting off and are currently a small community but I would love to see you there sharing some of your amazing photos with other foodies! Keep up the good work on the blog and hope to talk soon.


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  • dana

    Hey! You did not mention where you purchased the bento boxes? Are they bpa free? Thanks

  • Got the bentos in many places…ebay, japanese gift shops, etc. Got them before BPA became a well known issue too so not sure about BPA…

  • AJ

    Just an FYI in reply to BPA concerns! ;0)

    Shinzi Katoh boxes (and most other Japan based bentos) are generally made from (PP) Polypropylene; outer lid: (SAN) Styrene Acrylonitrile; inner lid: (PE) Polyethylene. (They are recycleable #’s 5, 2, & 4). Many Bento boxes are made of these non leaching plastics – just look for “polypropolone” “high polyethylene” and “low polyethylene.” They are the most common plastics used in Japan – vs. the plastics used by China (most imported to the US)

    You can find them on ecrater, jbox and ebay. As well as a number of private company sitee!