It’s amazing that the little compartmentalized lunch box used in Japan for centuries took so long to catch on in the U.S. Actually, that is a little misleading since restaurants have been using compartment to-go boxes made of Styrofoam for decades.
Many of the Bento lunch boxes available for the Western market are made of BPA-free plastic with a few in stainless steel.
The difference is that we called them “to-go” or “take-away” boxes while the Japanese had a much better sounding name for them: Bento Boxes. In reality, bento just means “lunch”.
One of the reasons that these boxes are so popular is that sandwiches can be assembled when the diner is ready to eat instead getting soggy or squished in a traditional lunch box.
Thus, food is more appetizing and more likely to be eaten instead of tossed. Another advantage that many cooks find is that by owning several Bento boxes, meals can be prepared ahead of time.
Best Bento Lunch Boxes
Black + Blum, maker of Box Appetit presents a Bento box that is similar in function to the traditional Japanese style lunch box. he lid has a rubber seal to inhibit leaking and the sauce pot which is normally purchased separately for other brands is part of the design.
Additionally, Box Appetit has a section called a separator that allows hot foods to be heated in a microwave on their own. They also offer a Bento Box which is half the size of Box Appetit for smaller appetites or as a snack box and a Lunch Pot which is 2 containers for soups or soup and salad. Dishwasher safe.
This Bento Box is made in Japan in the traditional style as that used by most Japanese. The design on top is more suitable in Western countries for females of any age. Although this is an adult box, girls would love it just as much.
Included is one two part compartment that is deeper than those made in America and China, a flat compartment with a lid used as a plate for the meal, chop sticks and a Rabbit Moon designed carried bag. None of the parts of this box are for use in a microwave or dishwasher.
A very popular Bento box among Westerners because of its sleek, business like design, the number of compartments and the elastic banding that keeps the box together, Monbento has the highest number of sales.
It comes only in black with 2 interior sauce cups in black and white. This box is designed to hold enough food for an American sized appetite. This box is microwave and Dishwasher safe.
Choose from either green or pink when you pick this snappy box. With 3 removable compartments, a clear snap on lid to keep the food inside and a handy drawstring bag, the Takeya box makes popping items for reheating into a microwave and keeping cold foods cold while you wait quick and easy.
The single container that holds each compartment becomes your plate so you don’t feel as if you are eating TV dinner. It’s also microwave and Dishwasher Safe.
Bentgo has created a lunch box for children under 8 and boys who love to toss their lunchbox in the air for no reason. You can choose from one of the three popular colors – green, blue and purple.
The divisions are each individually sealed with compartment matching leakproof gaskets and the two-latch open and close system is familiar to the smallest hands.
Inner compartment is Dishwasher and Microwave safe but Bentgo recommends hand-washing the outer shell to preserve the rubber seals.
Your Choice – Your Eating Habits
As you can see, Bento boxes come in a variety of styles with any number of compartments and accessories.
Typically, a bento box is an all-in-one food container, plate and carrier rather than compartmentalized plastic boxes that would be typical for storing items. Smaller appetites need less space while kids need securely sealed boxes. Go about choosing your box keeping your need in mind.
How To Make A Bento Lunch Box
After you purchase a lunch box you will need to know how to prepare one. The following video does a good job of demonstrating how to create a traditional Japanese bento lunch box: