Bento boxes of the week: Muji's plain white bento boxes
The success of the Muji, or Mujirushi Ryo-hin (無印良品）brand in many countries has been an interesting phenomenon to observe. Who knew that stripping back all the color and decoration from an object, so that it's revealed in its purest form, could be so successful? A few people think they are a bit precious, but Muji does have legions of fans worldwide. There are now Muji stores all over Europe, a new store in Manhattan, as well as several stores around Japan.
Muji carries just two bento boxes: a two-part stacking model, and a one-level model. This pared down product offering fits their minimalist manifesto pretty well, though I rather wish that they offered different sizes of each. The undecorated design would be perfect as a manly cute-free bento box, but the capacity may be a bit on the small side. They are, however, the perfect size if you're using bento lunches to try to lose weight. (See Selecting the right bento box.)
[Update: Agathe says in the comments that the one-piece one she has is 800ml. I guess it's best to ask before you order, or to look at the bento box yourself!]
Incidentally, the most fascinating part of the Muji Japan site is the design proposal area where people can send in suggestions for new products. If the Muji design team decide it's production worthy, the user-suggested products go into production. It would be great if they could open up this part of the site to worldwide customers one day.
The UK based Muji web site doesn't offer any details about the bento boxes, but the Japanese site does. They say that both boxes are microwave and dishwasher safe (though you should remove the lid for microwaving). The one-part bento box holds 500ml (or 800ml) and has a removable divider inside (see this page). The two-part bento box holds 210ml in the bottom section and 300ml in the top section (see this page).
- Material: plastic
- Prices in the UK: £6.95 for the two-tier model; £8.95 for the one-part model (In Japan for some reason the two-tier is more expensive at 1200 yen, and the one-part at 950 yen. But the two-tier one explicitly says "made in Japan", which may account for the higher price; presumably the ones sold overseas are not made in Japan.)
- Muji EU online shopping site - they ship to the UK, the EU, and North America. (but try your local Muji store first of course)
- Muji corporate site in English
Bento item of the week is a regular feature highlighting interesting bento related products. See past items.