Bento Boxes

Bento box.
Bento box.

The bento box originated in Japan centuries ago and is commonly used today throughout numerous Western countries as well as East Asia. Here we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions one might have and also review the most popular bento boxes you can buy.

Topics Covered

  • How did the bento box originate?
  • What is the difference between a bento box and a regular lunch box?
  • Can a bento box be microwaved?
  • Popular bento box food
  • The best bento boxes for adults
  • The best bento boxes for kids

How did the bento box originate?

The word bento was first used as far back as the 13th century, during the Kamakura period, and translates to convenient or convenience. The discovery came with the invention of dry rice, which people could carry to work and eat during their lunch break. There was nothing glamorous about it since the first bento’s merely consisted of rice being carried around in a bag.

It wouldn’t be until the Edo Period (1603–1867) before these bento boxes became widespread across Japan. At first, they were mostly made from woven bamboo and then later wood. By the 1980’s the wooden and metal bento boxes fell out of favor for those made from plastic, and it’s also around the same time that they became internationally popular.

What is the difference between a bento box and a regular lunch box?

There is no difference between the two because they are both lunch boxes. A bento box, however, does carry some traditions and differences when compared to Western lunch boxes. Some of these include packing food tightly so that it doesn’t move around in the box while looking appetizing enough. It should also have different food groups so that you can have a variety of flavors and textures.

Can a bento box be microwaved?

Yes, they can be microwaved – but only for heating and not for cooking. Basically, treat it like any other lunch box.

Popular bento box food

Popular bento box food.
Popular bento box food.

When it comes to food choices, the sky is the limit because you can be as creative as you want to be. In Japan, the popular options are rice (both white and brown), salads, sushi, stewed beef, fish, vegetables, various meats, deep-fried food, and Tamagoyaki, which is a sweet Japanese rolled omelet.

If you would like some unique and creative recipes then visit here.

The best bento boxes for adults

Traditional Rabbit Moon Bento Box Set

This beautiful rabbit moon set comes with a bag to carry it around in and a pair of chopsticks. Not only is it safe to microwave, but it’s also dishwasher safe and made from food-safe plastic.

The total capacity of the box is 640ml and consists of two compartments that can be separated – the bottom compartment can hold 300ml and the top part 340ml.

Take note: If you love soup, then you may want to reconsider purchasing this item because the lids do not seal tightly enough. Other than that, the product is impressive.

The total weight is 7.7 ounces and has dimensions of 7 x 3 x 3.3 inches.

BentoHeaven Box

This item is extremely durable so that you can put it in the dishwasher, freezer, and microwave without any problems. Also, with your purchase, you get chopsticks, a food divider, a lunch bag, and a cutlery set. The containers themselves are 100% leakproof, so it’s great for soup too.

The item is made from food-safe plastic, weighs 13.4 ounces, and has dimensions of 7.3 x 4 x 4.3 inches.

The best bento boxes for kids

Send your kids to school in style with these cute, adorable Japanese lunch boxes which have been specifically designed for kids.

San-X corner sumikko gurashi bento lunch box

The San-X stationery company makes this cute little pink bento box from Japan. It has two different 300ml compartments that can be disconnected from one another and used separately.

The item comes with a pair of methacrylic resin chopsticks, weighs 7.8 ounces, and has dimensions of 7.8 x 3.9 x 3.3 inches.

Kotobuki ninja boy bento box set

This two-tier ninja bento box is ideally suited for kids, or adults for that matter, who have a ninja obsession. It has two compartments for keeping different types of food apart. The top compartment can be removed and used separately, so it can also be used as two lunch boxes instead of one.

The item is made in Japan with food-safe plastic. It weighs a mere 6.4 ounces with dimensions of 3.8 x 3.8 x 5.5 inches.

Related Content

Making sushi rice to perfection on the stove is an art. Simplify it with these rice cookers from Japan.

Learn how to make sushi at home.

Find other great products from Japan.