All the things I need for starting with Bento

Franzi_89X
Bento-ing from: Böblingen › Germany
Joined: 30 May 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 46 weeks ago.

Hey everyone,

So as you might know I am totally new when it comes to Bento and now I would like to go shopping on ebay for my first real cute Bento Box. Most of you are able to make so great Bentos, I am jealous ;) Now I need some advices what you would buy as a Newbie. I mean which Equipment is really useful for the beginning?

I would love to hear some advices and can`t wait to look around at ebay :)

Yours Franzi

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"And so the lion felt in love with the lamb" - Twilight

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moonshae
Bento-ing from: Melbourne › Australia
Joined: 9 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 27 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

I started with a lock'n'lock lunch set and that's it. I started making my boyfriends bento's in a plain old square tupperware. Not very exciting. So yeah, you can start with nothing except something to carry food in if you want.

My most useful item and the only think I've bought besides the boxes is silicone baking cups to separate foods.

Franzi_89X
Bento-ing from: Böblingen › Germany
Joined: 30 May 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 46 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

Thanks for the fast replie :) Then I will look for the right box first and maybe find some other stuff i will like. I am sure the other extras will come after a while. Every collection has to start small *lol*

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 13 hours 16 min ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

Hi Franzi! You really do not need any special equipment to start making bentos. As moonshae said, you just need a box that has a lid that will be reasonably leak-proof. That can be a 'real' bento box, or a Lock 'n Lock, or other plastic box with a sealing lid. Take a look around the kitchenwares departments of your local stores - you may find a suitable and inexpensive box right there!

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The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

Cannelle
Bento-ing from: › France
Joined: 29 May 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 11 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

Hi,
Any box can agree, when it is fully waterproof and suitable for food contact. For me, it is important that it can go in the microwave.

I find that the box must have a volume of 600ml + or more.
Two floors is very useful one for vegetables / fruits and one for things that are warm in the microwave.

I like the small bottles for salad dressings. And as Moonshae, I like silicone baking cups to separate foods.

anon.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

I would like to second the silicone cups! I had some for baking, and I can't imagine bento-making without them. They come in super handy to seperate any kinds of food from each other that do not go well together - really good for carrying strawberries and curry tofu in one tier of the box, and nothing spills over. Because, you know, strawberries and curry don't go together that well.. ;) Besides that I'd recommend getting a good water bottle - for me drinking is super important, and I like nice water bottles. Everything else will come with time, as you notice if you need it or not. I'd say start out simple, and then go from there.

pii_bii
Bento-ing from: Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 28 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

I agree with moonshae and the rest - you just need a box, and a bit of creativity! I also think that it's important that you have a fairly well-equipped kitchen with a bit of space to spread out and experiment! Our kitchen is not so big, but there is just enough space to make a bit of a mess and try things out! I will try and expand my gear and buy some silicon cups and washable dividers - at the moment I only have paper dividers which are not very environmentally friendly! I advise you to always keep an eye out for anything you think may come in handy when you are out shopping - even the most basic container can prove to be a lifesaver in a pinch. Once you have your 'bento goggles' on, every shopping trip is an opportunity to find new goodies, so don't feel you always have to stock up on strictly Japanese import items (nice as those are!)

BananaMama
Bento-ing from: › British Columbia › Canada
Joined: 9 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 10 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

I am newer than you are to the world of bento, but I did it bass ackwards and did the shopping first (I'm lucky to have the only Daiso in the province mere minutes from my house).

Top for me and my particular needs (picky eaters, aged 3 and 5) were cookie cutters for sandwiches (can get anywhere), metal veggie shape cutters, and funky toothpicks (for stringing edamame and cherry tomatoes). I also picked up a mandolin slicer from a dollar store.

From Daiso I just went crazy and bought stuff I don't know how much I'll use as my bento will not contain very much Japanese food. I got onigiri molds, sauce containers, an actual bento box..that sort of thing. I took some (really bad) photos of the stuff on my (only 2 posts in the blog) blog, www.bentobananamama.blogspot.com

I haven't taken anything out of the packs..I'm just staring at them, all pristine :)

hth

Dee

another_amanda
Bento-ing from: › USA
Joined: 12 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 4 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

Since you said "I would like to go shopping on ebay for my first real cute Bento Box," I assume that you know any tightly-sealed container will work, but you WANT the cute stuff. ^^ I sure did. Here's what I bought to begin bento-ing:

1. Bento box (2-tier Lube Sheep brand, $15 incl. shipping on ebay, came with chopsticks and bag)
2. Cute fish-shaped soy sauce containers ($1 on ebay, shipped with above)
3. Bento belt (took a headband with rubber that keeps it from slipping through hair and shortened it to fit the bento)
4. oshibori case ($0.50 for travel soap container)
5. oshibori (cheap package of thin washcloths, can't remember the price, but very cheap)

This stuff definitely fulfilled my desire for cuteness without breaking the bank. Before I bought anything, I spent two weeks or so scouring ebay to make sure I was getting a good price on my bento. About a month after this, I eventually bought silicone muffin cups. I would highly recommend them.

Zoé
Bento-ing from: Warsaw › Poland
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 9 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

I'm so happy to see that people consider any box to be a bento box! it's a true relief!
I believe one should start with few and then only see what they are really craving for...I agree that some cuteness now and on can be really fun to do and eat!

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http://vegetarianzoe.wordpress.com/

rehfilet
Bento-ing from: › Germany
Joined: 11 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 11 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

hello franzi, since you are from germany:
im rewe gab es gerade "brotdosen" auf den wühltischen, das waren eigentlich 2-lagige bento-boxen. kindermotive wie spongebob, aber auch roséfarbene hello-kitty-boxen mit bordeauxfarbenem einlageboden. hab' mir eine für 6 euro oder so ähnlich gekauft- schliesst gut, hat etwas mehr als 500ml fassungsvermögen und das motiv ist zwar kitschig, aber nicht auf grässlich aufdringliche art.
für den preis bin ich sehr zufrieden- vielleicht gibt's ja noch welche?
(if anyone is curious what this is about: i basically wrote that there's a german supermarket chain that recently sold cheap bento boxes)

ladybugnessa
Bento-ing from: Owings Mills › Maryland › USA
Joined: 13 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 10 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

Brand new to the Bento idea myself (and this is my first post)... so I'm game. for ideas!

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Nessa

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 31 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

I agree with all the posters here. While we *want* the cute bento gear, what we need most are good eyes and a variety of foods. Once you've got your leak-proof container, all you need to do is assemble your ingredients in a pleasing layout. When things are looking a little blah, I start counting the colors and textures. Somewhere I read a "rule" of five -- five colors, five styles, five tastes. Orange mini-carrots or red cherry tomatoes for pop. Green ruffly lettuce for a background. Black olives. Two-inch pieces of green beans or asparagus. One bright green piece of broccoli. And don't pooh-pooh the idea of garnishes. A twist of yellow lemon, a sprig of basil, a lovely scented shiso leaf. These add color, texture and fragrance. The shiso (which is very easy to grow from seed) is said to have anti-bacterial properties, so helps keep your bento fresh.

When you start buying supplies, those plastic grass dividers (easily found in green, but also come in pink and yellow) are a must have. I find that I use them in almost every bento. In addition to keeping foods from touching, they add both color and visual texture. And as pii_bii said, once you put on your bento goggles, you will find more goodies. Often times in your own home. For instance, last night while I was cleaning up from dinner, I realized that the plastic container that held a single portion of tuna was just the right color, height, and size for my husband's bento box. I've also realized that my train case cosmetic bag is the same size and design as some bento bags I"ve seen online. It is also waterproof and slightly insulated. On a recent flight on Southwest Airlines I noticed the red stirrers they put in coffee were topped with a heart. I drank several cups of coffee and now have cute skewers for our bento. So keep your eyes open and you will see lots of bento opportunities.

bluelilo09
Bento-ing from: San Jose › Costa Rica
Joined: 2 Jan 2010
User offline. Last seen 4 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

this is a great post I'm new here too and I'm open for new ideas, I bought my first bento box in a Japanese market here, is a hello kitty box with the bottle is so cute, now I need to check on ebay for the rest of the stuff I want to have

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 31 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

You might be able to satisfy your desire for cute and still save money by buying a simple leak-proof container (Tupperware, Lock n Lock, Gladware, etc.) and customizing it with stickers. I bought a large sticker of the Golden Gate Bridge and applied it to the clear lid of one of my formerly blah containers. It looks great. Since I can get unadorned bento boxes from Daiso for $1.50-$3, I am planning on dressing some with Monokuro Boo and Flower Power stickers and giving them as gifts.

ral2594
Bento-ing from: Northern Virginia › Virginia › USA
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

Buying things individually from different sellers can be tricky on ebay, and very expensive if you get a lot because each item has it's own shipping cost unless you buy from the same seller.
I ordered most of my obento supplies through J-box.com with the exception of my Totoro Yamabuki set (Which I had to purchase individually) totaling around $65+ shipping, and since I ordered a ton of stuff through Jbox- it was about $75 with shipping through them. >_> I definitely use most of the stuff I ordered, but I could use a few extra things to make it perfecto like nori punchers and vegetable sculpting tools. However! You really don't need to go all out! I'm just extremely OCD when it comes to making my obento boxes, and well, it's a life long problem. XD

What I recommend though for beginners is:
1.) An obento box that you personally adore.
2.) Onigiri molds unless you rock shaping them by hand (which I don't).
3.) The Silicone baking cups are a great idea, however be wary of the size of your box and the size of the cups.
4.) Sharp knives and cutting boards. The Good news is, I now know how to sharpen knives! >_<

That should help you brainstorm a bit. :)

____________________________________

" What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

zombi
Bento-ing from: oklahoma city › USA
Joined: 24 Jan 2010
User offline. Last seen 2 years 42 weeks ago.
Re: All the things I need for starting with Bento

Having also just started with bento, I admit that for now, I am simply using little tupperwares -- or the little containers left from take-out chinese foods that are plastic, or so. I figured I could reward myself with a cute bento box once I felt I was "more good" at bento making! It's a nice incentive to make the bento often and learn to better shape my onigiris.. -_-;;;;

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if that which you seek you find not within -- you will never find it without.

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