In this section, I've grouped all of my reviews and 'spotlight' features of bento boxes and related supplies. A review is a hands-on review, while a 'spotlight' is just talking about a box or piece of equipment I haven't tested out yet but has caught my eye. There are also some information pages.
(Note, this section is a work in progress.)
You’ve browsed the bento blogs and flickr bento groups, and while you know that any appropriate box can be used for bentos , you’re hankering after a ‘real’ bento box. But bento boxes aren’t that cheap, especially if you’re ordering by mail. How do you know you’re getting a box that’s the right size for you?
You may have read what bento box sizes are considered appropriate for kids, women, men and so on. But that’s advice given for traditional-style Japanese bento meals, where about half of the capacity or more is taken up by tightly packed rice. If you’ll only be toting Japanese style lunches those recommendations are fine, but if you plan to mix it up with salad bentos, sandwich bentos and more, then the box-capacity recommendations may not apply to you.
So how can you really tell, before you spend the money for a bento box, if it’s the right size for your specific needs?
Most bento supply sellers these days will list the capacity of a bento box in ml (mililiters) or the dimensions in centimeters or inches. If the capacity is listed, note that down. If only the dimensions are listed, use a handy calculator such as the one here  to figure out what those dimensions translate to, and note that number down.
If you already have a bento box, it’s easy to figure out if a potential purchase is right for you. If the box you own is just right, aim for one of a similar size. If not, then go for a larger or smaller one. If you’ve forgotten what the capacity of your existing box is, just fill it up with water, and empty out that water into a measuring cup that has milliliter marks on it (most standard measuring cups have these now, even ones in the U.S.) Some bento boxes have the capacity embossed on the bottom of the box.
If you don’t own a ‘real’ bento box yet, but you are using an alternative box for bento-ing, it’s just as easy to figure out if a new box will be right. Just measure the capacity of your existing container as detailed above, and compare that to that cute box you’re eyeing.
If you haven’t embarked on your bento adventures yet, there’s still a way to figure out if a box will be the right size. The biggest concern I see voiced amongst people who have yet to try bentos is that a box will be too small. To see if that is the case, try the following:
I hope these steps will help you to find the perfect box for your needs!
This is Tip no. 1 of Back To School Week . Stay tuned for more!
Are you confused about what material is most appropriate for bento boxes? Plastic is easy available, or maybe you want something greener - but is the extra cost worth it? Here’s a handy comparison chart to help you make the right choices.
This table lists all the materials that are commonly used to make bento boxes, lunch boxes and other containers that are repurposed for carrying bentos. As you can see, there are pros and cons to each type. Take a look and see which criteria matter to you the most. Keep in mind that, whatever type of box you choose, the fact that it’s reusable is a plus for the environment, not to mention your wallet.
|Material||Pros||Cons||Examples and notes|
|Aluminum||Very lightweight, plastic-free (if no seal), lasts a long time. Usually dishwasher safe (check instructions).||Not microwave safe. Can dent easily, though that doesn’t affect functionality. Uncoated aluminum boxes may get corroded by acidic foods. Questions about possibly harmful effects of aluminum. Not leakproof unless they have silicone/plastic seals around the lids.||SIGG Midi box  - coated aluminum|
|Bamboo||Lightweight, durable. Sustainable material.||Not microwave or dishwasher safe. Needs handling with some care. May stain. Well made bamboo boxes and baskets are expensive to very expensive.||Bamboo is most often used for basket-type boxes (used to carry onigiri rice balls and sandwiches, though they can be used with inner containers for other foods); solid bamboo boxes are available too (and very expensive). Dried and fresh bamboo leaves (called sasa no ha) are used as disposable food wrappers and dividers. More here .|
|Glass and ceramic||Not plastic (though usually a plastic lid is included), microwave-safe, dishwasher safe, fairly inexpensive||Heavy, breakable||Pyrex glass containers with plastic lids.|
|Melamine||A type of resin that is used for kitchenware. Colorful, attractive, feels solid.||Heavy. Can be expensive. Not microwave or oven safe.||Vivo Kids Bento Box |
|Paper (coated)||Not used for bento boxes, but used for bento cups and dividers. Lightweight, disposable, fairly waterproof. Comes in many cute designs.||Not microwave, oven or dishwasher safe. Not reusable (you may get 1-2 more uses out of a paper cup). Expensive when you consider the per-use cost.||Paper bento cup |
|Plastic and styrene - disposable||Very cheap to free, lightweight.||Disposable plastic and styrene boxes (such as takeout bento boxes) are okay for a single use, but it’s not recommended to re-use them. They may leech or corrode. Clear plastics may contain BPA. See What are Japanese (and other) plastic bento boxes made of .||Don’t reuse disposable bento boxes and takeout boxes unless you are really desperate.|
|Plastic - reusable||Practical, economical, lightweight. Prices range from cheap to expensive, depending on design, quality, etc. A huge range of designs and sizes to choose from.||Some people are concerned about the safety of certain plastics. May stain. Not all plastic bento boxes are microwave or dishwasher safe.||Reputatuble bento makers always include information on what plastics are used, and whether the box is microwave safe or not. See What are Japanese (and other) plastic bento boxes made of .|
|Silicone||Not used for bento boxes but frequently used for bento cups and dividers. Lightweight, durable. Microwave, dishwasher and oven safe. Comes in many colors and shapes.||If you are against using plastic, you may also object to silicone. Can get a bit sticky and oily after several uses in the oven or microwave (try washing in very hot soapy water).||Silicone cupcake/muffin tin liners|
|Stainless steel with seal||Durable, usually well made, usually dishwashwer safe (check instructions). Thick stainless steel boxes can be heated up on a hot plate (handle with care!)||Not microwave safe. Heavier than plastic. Retains fingerprints on the surface (use soft cloth to buff off). Not totally plastic/silicone free because of sealing elements. More expensive than most plastic boxes.||Zen 01 stainless steel bento box , tiffin boxes. Also see stainless steel bento boxes .|
|Stainless steel with no seal||Durable, plastic free, usually dishwasher safe (check instructions)||Not microwave safe. Rather heavy. Retains fingerprints on the surface (use soft cloth to buff off). May not be suitable for food that might leak because of the lack of sealing elements on/around lid. More expensive than most plastic boxes.||LunchBots , Planetbox , New Wave Enviro |
|Stainless steel and other metals used for bento accessories||Durable, plastic free, usually dishwasher safe (check instructions)||Cheap metal cutters may discolor or get bent over time.||Bento and cookie cutters used to cut out decorative shapes are usually made of stainless steel; some cheap ones may be made of tin. Nori cutters are often made of plastic with zinc cutting parts.|
|Thermal bento boxes||Usually consists of a stainless steel cylinder into which plastic containers fit. The plastic containers are usually microwave and dishwasher safe. Keeps some of the food warm to hot for several hours.||Expensive. Can be rather bulky and heavy. Not plastic free. Not all parts may be dishwasher safe.||To get the most out of a thermal lunch box, be sure to read the instructions carefully! Mr. Bento line from Zojirushi, similar range from Thermos, Aladdin box . See in-depth look at thermal bentos/lunch jars .|
|Wood, coated or lacquered||Beautiful traditional craftmanship. Less susceptible to staining than uncoated wood. May make rice taste better. A pleasure to handle. May become a treasured heirloom.||Not microwave or dishwasher safe. Needs some handling with care. May stain. Well made boxes are expensive to very expensive (a cheap wooden box is not worth buying).||Kyo bento box. Besides boxes, chopsticks can also be made of coated wood. See also: the care and watering of wooden and lacquerware bento boxes |
|Wood, uncoated||Beautiful traditional craftmanship. Makes plain rice taste better since it absorbs any excess moisture. A pleasure to handle. May become a treasured heirloom.||Not microwave or dishwasher safe. Needs some handling with care. May stain. Well made boxes are very expensive (a cheap wooden box is not worth buying).||See Magewappa bento boxes . See also: the care and watering of wooden and lacquerware bento boxes , and see how traditional magewappa boxes are made .|
This is Tip no. 2 of Back To School Week . Stay tuned for more!
As the popularity of bento boxes spreads around the world, bento box and accessory manufacturers are also becoming more international. One of the most interesting bento box makers is monbento. Their headquarters are in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and their site proudly proclaims that their products are designed in France.
monbento boxes come in a variety of chic, modern and bright colors, and you can even specify your own color combinations (more on that later).
Everything about a monbento box is classy, even the box it comes packaged in. This is a red 2-tier model; each layer has a 500ml capacity, for a total of 1000ml for both layers. (They also have single-layer 500ml boxes.)
This is an orange model, that was sent to me by monbento for review. (I actually bought the red one for myself.) I’m not an orange kind of person but the orange that monbento uses is really nice. What makes the bentos look and feel even nicer is that they have a gorgeous matte finish. (Note: the standard bento band color is now grey instead of the black shown here.)
Here’s the bento un-stacked. There’s an outer lid, plus an inner lid for both of the layers. (Note: the inner lids are now grey in the standard configurations instead of the black shown here.)
The inner lids have small capped lids so that they can be vented when you want to microwave your bento. The lid is color coordinated with the bento, which is nice. The entire box, including the lids, is microwave and dishwasher safe.
This is the inside. It comes with one moveable divider in one of the compartments.
The monbento sauce cups are also very well made. They come in sets of two in a variety of color combinations that match the bento boxes. Each pot holds 20ml.
What makes these pots special, besides their cuteness, is that the lids screw on securely and have 2 little silicone gaskets, which make them pretty leakproof. They will leak if you carry them sideways or upside down for a length of time, but if you carry the bento box right way up (as you should really, to avoid a mess) they are about as secure as any sauce pots I’ve seen.
monbento makes two kinds of utensils: color coordinated chopsticks, and a metal cutlery set. I was sent the cutlery set for review. There’s a fork, spoon and knife, all packaged neatly in a plastic case with a snap-on lid.
The cutlery is small, but not too small as to be unusable. It kind of reminds me of the nice cutlery you used to find with airline meals. They are also very sturdy metal, so you don’t have a feeling they’re going to bend or anything while you’re using them.
So here I filled up a monbento with a fairly standard bento for me. The two tiers are quite easy to pack. I put things I might want to heat up in the bottom compartment, and salad and fruit type things in the top compartment. (The sauce lids are off just to show the insides.) One thing to keep in mind is that if you pack both layers very tightly with calorie-dense foods like rice and you are trying to watch your intake (i.e. you’re on a diet), 1000ml is quite a lot. So you’ll want to pack those dense foods in maybe just one layer, and fill up with vegetables or something.
Cleanup was very easy too since I could just throw everything in the dishwasher. I put everythning in the top rack, with the little bits in a basket.
This last accessory is brand new and very interesting: the monbento mold set. The set comes with 3 pieces: 2 small cups and a larger one, all made of silicone that is heat-safe up to 240°C/464°F. It comes in this classy grey, blue and fuschia combination.
The smaller cups fit perfectly into one of the monbento box layers, so they can be used as dividers.
The bigger mold however does not work as a box liner, since it has a big lip all around.
This mold is meant for cooking things in, that fit perfectly into a monbento box. It has a slightly smaller capacity than the box itself at around 450ml. You could use the small molds/cups for cooking too, since they’re made of the same heatproof silicone material.
Now, monbento used to make a double-mold, which I have in my collection, but they no longer manufacture it. It’s the fuschia one here. I’ve been experimenting with cooking things in the molds - here I’m trying out cake salé, a savory “cake” (like a quickbread in the U.S.) of the type you see sold quite often at markets in France.
As you can see, the mold produces a flat little cake that fits perfectly in the boxes. (I’ll have the recipe for the cake up on the site soon.) I can see the mold being used for many other things…what about a baked omelette for example? I’m going to continue experimenting and post the good results.
I guess the one quibble I have with the mold is that it’s small, so baking something in it in a big oven feels very wasteful somehow. If you have a toaster oven with baking functions that might work out better. I may try using it in a frying pan too, as well as the smaller cups. In any case it’s a really good idea in principle.
All in all monbento makes great stuff. Besides the items reviewed here they also have bento bands in many colors, bento carrying bags, chopsticks and a few other things.
There are several options for buying monbento products:
1. Directly from monbento 
Shipping costs vary depending on where you are. If you’re in France you get free shipping if your order exceeds 60 euros. Note: If you live outside of the EU, e.g. in the U.S., you can subtract 20% of the listed price, which is the VAT. You may have to pay customs in your home country but do keep that in mind.
2. From Bento&co
Bento&co  carries a good selection of monbento items, starting with their bento boxes  of course, as well as sauce pots, chopsticks, the cutlery set and more. If you’re on a shopping spree there anyway, or if you’re in Japan, it’s a good option.
3. From Amazon
The Amazon stores carry a limited selection of monbento items:
(Disclaimer: Some of the items reviewed were sent to us by monbento for review purposes. (The other items were purchased.) We did not receive any compensation for the review and the opinions expressed are my own. The links to the sellers are affiliate links. By making your purchases via these links you help to support the site at no additional cost to you. ^_^)
As I have said often on these pages, bentos are usually filled with food that is supposed to taste good at room temperature. But there’s no denying that sometimes we want our lunch to be hot, or at least warm. There are various ways to make sure this happens of course, from using a microwave (if you have access to one) or carrying your lunch in a thermal lunch jar  and/or an insulated bag. The Atsuben Kun bento box  takes the warm bento lunch a step further: it actually heats up your bento within the box itself.
From the outside, the Atsuben Kun looks like a regular bento box. It’s very sleek, and the white plastic feels very nice.
The logo is very cute - the “u” of At(s)uben is a litle steamy pot. (The “atsu” or “atu” part of the name means hot,”ben” is short for bento, and “kun” is just an informal, affectionate suffix for a name, usually used when addressing a young man or boy.)
The Atsuben Kun reveals its secret when you look at the base. It has power input…
…for the bottom section, which contains a ceramic heater, similar to the ones you see in space heaters. (The warning label in Japanese says to not touch it when it’s plugged in or while it’s still hot.)
Here’s what’s in the the Atsuben Kun package. It looks like a three-tier box from the outside but it’s actually two-tier box with the bottom tier being the heater. The top compartment has a leak-resistant flexible plastic lid. There’s also a power supply for Japanese electric outlets.
The power supply has 100/110V-220/240V / 50-60Hz input and 3Amp / 8V output, so you should be able to use it just about anywhere in the world. You can use Japanese plugs as-in most U.S. outlets, though if you are not sure you can get an adapter plug. In Europe and many other places you will need an adapter plug, which is not included (the one shown in the pic is for France) - they are cheap and easy to get at any electronics store. You can also order the Atsuben Kun with a cigarette lighter car power plug instead.
I tested how well this thing worked with a real bento! I filled it up with fairly standard (for me) bento foods: rice in the bottom section with a little furikake  on top, and the other foods in the top compartment (Miso marinated pork , Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira , some steamed broccoli to fill the gaps, and tamagoyaki ). I put the rice in the bottom compartment because I wanted it to get the warmest. Then, I put the 2 sections filled with food in the refrigerator for about 8 hours. This was to simulate a typical scenario where I can see this bento box being used - you make the bento and fill it up the night before, pack it with an ice pack in the morning (in an insulated bag to really keep things cool) and heat it up before lunch.
I re-assembled the Atsuben Kun and plugged him in, and set my timer for 70 minutes as per the Japanese instructions.
So did it heat up from refrigerator-cold to hot in 70 minutes? Not quite. It was warm enough to be pleasant, but not hot. Probably if you heated it up from room temperature 70 minutes would be enough. Anyway, no big deal - I gave it another 20 minutes.
After the additional 20 minutes, the rice in the bottom compartment was actually hot! It almost tasted like freshly cooked rice. The top compartment doesn’t really get hot since it is not in direct contact with the heating element, just warmed up a bit from the little steam rising from the food in the bottom compartment. But that’s enough really to have a warm-bento experience. I really enjoyed it!
I think this bento box is great for people who don’t have access to a microwave at lunchtime, but still want a warm lunch experience. With the cigarette lighter power plug, you could even heat up your bento on the go! (Personally I think I’d order the box with the cigarette lighter plug and get the house-current one separately, if I needed to use this in my car.) It doesn’t draw much power (the instructions say it consumes about .6 yen per use - and electricity in Japan is expensive), and is quite unobstrusive.
To sum up: I think this is a very cool box that is sure to draw comments at the office. If you yearn after a hot bento at lunchtime, especially if you like making your bento the night before and sticking it in the fridge, this may be just the box for you.
(Disclosure: This product was supplied to JustBento by the vendor for review. I was not compensated in any way for the review, and the opinions expressed are my own.)
(I have a whole bunch of other cool bento product reviews coming up. Stay tuned ^_^!)
Unless you were living as a hermit away from any internet connection last year, you have probably heard of Gangnam Style, the phenomenal video sensation by South Korean entertainer PSY, aka Park Jae-sang, that took over the world. But Gangnam is not just the name of a rap song featuring a geeky looking dude dancing like a madman.. It’s also the name of a district in Seoul, South Korea, and that’s where this interesting line of bento boxes  come from.
You’ll notice right away that unlike most reusable bento boxes, these boxes have slanted sides, rather like some disposable bento boxes. This means that they hold a bit less than they seem to - which is not a bad thing, especially if you’re using bentos to try to keep your calories down. The Small size holds 500ml, and the Large holds 900ml, although they feel a lot more bulkier than that somehow. On the plus size, the slanted sides make them a lot easier to wash by hand. You don’t have to wash them by hand though since they are totally dishwasher-safe, unlike many other boxes where the lids must be washed by hand.
Here’s a view from the top. The boxes have clear plastic lids and colorful contrasting color gaskets, which make the lids pretty waterproof. The color combinations may or may not work for you - besides the white and orange and the chocolate and pink combos shown here, there’s also a green/green variety. I was a bit taken aback at first at the brightness of that pink, but now I kind of like it.
The clips are really large and fit securely to the box. They are a bit hard to snap into place the first few times you use the box, but they do loosen up a bit over time.
The lid is also equipped with a covered steam vent, so you can put the box into the microwave lid and all - although I might be inclined to remove the lid to preserve the longevity of the gasket.
Inside, each box has two equally sized inner containers that fit snugly into the box. The inner containers are about the same thickness as the outer boxes, which makes them quite solid - but does make the box overall a bit heavy compared to boxes with thinner and ligher iner compartments. But the inner compartments stand up on their own, which is nice.
The bigger box also has two equal-size compartments.
Here I’ve used the larger (900ml capicity) box for a salad bento. I’ve filled one side with a pasta and chicken salad, and the other with a green salad with corn salad or mâche and boiled egg, with dressing in the small container (not included with this box). It’s really great for bentos of this type, since it’s nice and deep. Plus, you could put something you want to heat up in one compartment and something you want to keep cool in the other, and just pop the first compartment in a microwave to heat up.
Here I tried using the smaller box (500ml) for a more Japanese-style bento, with an onigiri on one side. It kind of works, although you need to work with the slanted nature of the box. (Note, I did tuck in the leaves when I closed the lid.)
All in all, there’s a lot to like about the Gangnam bento box. I think I’m going to add them to my regular rotation.
The Gangnam bento box costs US $32 for the large (900ml) size, and $25 for the small (500ml) size, and is available from Bento&co .
(Disclaimer: The boxes were provided to JustBento for review purposes. We did not receive any compensation for the review, and the opinions expressed are solely my own.)
More reviews of interesting bento products coming soon!
As I have written here before , I am a big fan of the LunchBots  line of all-stainless steel bento boxes. (They actually call them ‘food containers’, but they are a great size for bentos.) Here’s an in-depth look at one of the latest offerings, the LunchBots Quad , as well as some of the pros and cons of the LunchBots boxes in general.
Here’s how the LunchBots Quad looks when it comes to you. The lid is available in three tasteful colors: lime green as shown here, sky blue and all-stainless (a shinier stainless than the box itself), all sporting the LunchBots logo. The box feels very solid and durable. I’ve owned another LunchBots box for about 4 years now, and after many uses it looks as good as new.
The Quad unit has for evenly divided units. The dividers are fixed in place. The total capacity of the box is about 700ml, a great size for a lot of people. Two-part Duos and three-part Trios are also available on their site .
What makes the LunchBots containers different from other stainless steel bento boxes  is that they are totally plastic or silicon free. have leakproof liners around their edges. The Lids are quite tight-fitting.
As an experiment, I tried filling the box to the brim with water that I colored a bit by adding some soy sauce. If you turn the box upside down, the water does start to leak out immediately, showing that it is not leakproof.
And if you turn it sideways, it definitely does leak. So, you should not use the LunchBots boxes for very liquid food like stew, or food that has a lot of sauce.
Another slightly annoying problem that is shared by all metal boxes: if you have very hard water, as we do have here, water stains will show up very quickly on the shiny surface. The solution to this is to try to dry off your stainless steel containers as soon as they are washed, and to occasionally give them a wipe with vinegar.
Here’s the Quad in action. The 4 equal compartments make packing food quite easy. Clockwise from top left I’ve packed some steamed broccoli and a cherry tomato, some Pan Fried Lemon Chicken Nuggets  (or as some readers who’ve tried and loved them call them, “Maki Nuggets” ^_^); tri-color bell peppers simply sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, and some plain rice. That’s two vegetable compartments, one protein and one carb. A pretty good balance for someone watching their weight, like me! Note that I’ve chosen foods are not likely to leak. Ther was some moisture around the sauteed bell peppers that came out of them as they cooked, but I drained it off as I packed them into the compartment.
The green things decorating the top of the rice are thin slices of broccoli stalk, that I just steamed together with the broccoli florets. I think they look like little abstract flowers.
The LunchBots containers are very attractive and well made, and are totally plastic or silicon free. If you are concerned about the amount of plastics in our environment, and want to stay away from them for your lunch containers, LunchBots are a great solution.
LunchBots has kindly offered a 10% discount and free shipping to the U.S. and Canada to JustBento readers! This offer is valid for one week from the time of this review. Just order from the LunchBots  and use the coupon code JUSTBENTO . LunchBots containers are also available on Amazon.com  and Amazon UK  (Amazon UK doesn’t have the Quad yet, but the Duo and Trio are available).
(Disclosure: This product was supplied to JustBento by LunchBots for review. I was not compensated in any way for the review, and the opinions expressed are my own.)
[Update:] Sadly, the Idea bento box reviewed here has gone out of production. A good substitute is the Shikiri Bento , which is another single-tier multi-compartment box.
I’m often asked questions along the lines of, “What’s a good bento box to get started with?” A generic answer would be “whatever appeals to you, is the right size for your needs, and is within your budget.” (See the links at the bottom of this article for more to help you select a bento box.) But when I saw this box, I thought this might just fulfil the brief as a great first bento box.
The logo on top says “Ideal”, so I’m calling it the Ideal box. (Bento&Co calls it the Shikiri bento  - shikiri means ‘divider’ in Japanese, and that’s a very appropriate name for it too, as you’ll see.
One thing that appeals to me immediately is its design. It’s quite sleek and neutral, suitable for a wide variety of tastes. (The maker claims it is inspired by 1980s design and is therefore ‘retro’. I don’t see it, but maybe you do.) It comes in black as well as white.
When you open the lid, which has a leakproof gasket all around and snap-on fasteners - great things for a bento box for newbies to have, since it eliminates most chances of leakage - you get to a clear plastic layer, which holds the included chopsticks. I love it when bento boxes include chopsticks. Have you ever brought along a bento somewhere and realized you’d forgotten to pack any utensils? It’s not nice.
Under the clear lid, we get to the really interesting part of the box. Most bento boxes come with one divider, or at the most one divider plus a little inner cup. This one comes with two multi-compartment dividers plus a simple I-shaped divider.
You can use the dividers and compartments in all kinds of ways - or just leave them out. The great thing is, each of the inner elements fits snugly enough in the box not to shift around, even when used singly. You could even leave out the dividers altogether if you wanted. But having so many compartments to fill may just inspire you to diversify your lunchtime menu with different foods.
The Ideal bento box is not cheap, but it’s very sturdily built and should last for a long time with proper care - and it could just be the only box you’ll ever need. It’s microwave-safe with the lid removed.
(Tip: if you tend to favor foods that can stain, e.g. curry or tomato sauce, go for the black model.) (Actually it seems the dividers are white even in the black box so…that doesn’t quite work ^_^; For what it’s worth though I have the white model, and so far it hasn’t stained at all, even after packing some tomato-sauce pasta in it.) Available at Bento&Co for US $32 / €23 .
And here’s the box in action - also a sneak preview of the next Guy Does Bento !
Several people noted how the red, black and white color combination bento from monbento shown in the in-depth review  looks like a Pokeball. I just wanted to let Pokémon fans out there know that there’s a “real” Pokeball bento box out there.
It is kind of small, at just 170ml capacity. (For the metrically challenged that’s a bit less than 3/4 U.S. cups - so it’s just about big enough for a yogurt or something, not a full adult size lunch!) And it’s rather expensive too. But if you are a die-hard Pokemon fan…or as a gift for the Pokemon fanatic in you life, well, why not? It comes in its own drawstring bag and matching bento band, and is available from J-List/JBox  and Amazon.com .
There’s also a Pikachu shaped bento box. It too is rather small, at 270ml capacity. In Japan it’s clearly cost as a novelty bento box for kids. Here it is in a Pokemon bento-stuff display at a Tokyu Hands store in Japan.
I actually used this bento once, at my book signing/talk back in January 2011 at Kinokuniya bookstore in New York. The bento box was provided by the store, and I filled it with a bento and we gave it away. This is the bottom tier - there’s also a second tier. As you can see, it is rather small. But it may work for little kids or someone with a tiny appetite, or as a snack bento box. In any case it’s sure to cause a bit of a sensation!
The Pikachu bento box is available on Amazon.com .
Finally, if you want to enjoy the world of Pokémon inside your bento box instead, there’s a book dedicated to that - in Japanese only, but with plenty of photos. It even comes with a bento box (a plain one, not one of the fancy shaped ones…but hey, plain is practical!) so you can get started right away. it’s called 食育レシピでつくる! ポケモンお弁当BOOK - Make it with healthy recipes! Pokemon Obento Book and is available from Amazon Japan . (Note, Amazon Japan will send books-with-free-gifts overseas.)
So, there’s plenty out there for the Pokémon and bento fans. ゲットだぜ - Gotta catch ‘em all! (maybe ^_^)
When I saw this unusual looking lunchbox via the delicious bento tag stream , my first thought was, “Wow, that looks so cool”. The Goodbyn™ Lunchbox  is a one-piece, molded plastic container with fitted lid, that looks like an odd/cute (or in anime parlance, kimo kawaii) space alien or animal. It comes packaged with 275 stickers , so kids can customize it to their hearts’ content. Looking inside, it seems perfect for those kids (and adults, if you are brave enough to carry this to the office) who hate their food to touch. Yes, I know you are out there, you touchy-food haters!
It comes with an 8.5 oz. water container, which the website suggests can double as a cooling element if it’s filled with ice cubes and a beverage. The whole thing is dishwasher safe, made of recyclable and safe plastic, etc. The slick website emphasizes the environmental advantages of a dedicated lunchbox, but bento enthusiasts like you know that already.
The only thing that makes me pause about this colorful beast is - well, it’s huge, judging from these photos:
The site doesn’t say how much it weighs or its capacity (the dimensions are 13 x 8.5 x 3.2 inches or 33 x 21.6 x 8.1 cm - thanks Midknyt!), but judging just from how much it can hold (whole banana in the upper compartment, etc.) I am assuming the plastic is fairly sturdy. So, I am really wondering how portable it is, especially for small kids.
Other than that though, it is one cool looking lunch/bento box! It’s available for preorder on their website , and they have a list of retailers  too. The retail price is $29.95, and it comes in four colors.
What do you think about this box? If you decide to order it or have already, I’d love to hear your first hand impressions of it.
Incidentally, this is a return of the previously discontinued “Bento Item of the Week” series where I talk about various bento related goods and equipment. I won’t be holding myself to a weekly update, but hey - I like doing product reviews. Also, if there’s a particular bento box, equipment or something that you’d like to review and see it published here on Just Bento, let me know at maki at makikoitoh com.
I am still catching up on things after my long illness and everything. One of the things I need to seriously do is post some bento box and accessory reviews. I have several very nice products supplied by various vendors, as well as a few new acquisitions I’d like to share. So, starting next week expect several reviews of products for your reading pleasure.
Here’s a sneak peek as one of the bento boxes - it has a rather interesting profile.
I’m also going to take the opportunity to seriously sort through all of my bento supplies. Who knows…I may be getting rid of a few things. Stay tuned. ^_^