Dimensions are about 3" wide by 6" long, meant to be secured with a bento band. Both compartments have tight-fitting black lids. There are no interior dividers. The bottom tier has slightly less height than the upper tier, which turns out to be significant when you are looking for interior cups and dividers that will fit. That extra 1/4" makes a huge difference!
|This is my
first "real" bento box. I think everybody who collects bento boxes must
have one a lot like
this. It's small but elegant, and surprisingly inexpensive. I've read
that these boxes are sold in the equivalent of Dollar Stores in Japan
and that they don't hold up as well as the more expensive ones. So far
mine has survived multiple trips through the microwave and shows no
sign of wear. I wash it by hand.
I purchased this one as a full set from All Things for Sale, Jan 2010, for $16.95. In retrospect this seems a little silly, as the box by itself costs only $4.99 on the same site, and I don't use the insulated beverage carrier or the chopsticks. However, I LOVE the little bag. It's so much easier to carry your bento safely horizontal with a bag that fits it perfectly. If I had it to do over again I think I'd buy the box by itself and then buy a bag separately.
Voyage of Lube Sheep Bento Box - canonical dumpling lunch
My bento style has evolved towards about half a dozen basic types of lunch, none of them particularly Japanese. This is the first lunch I made with this box, and it turned out to work really well. The "dumpling lunch" has become one of my standard quick lunches.
The entree tier starts with 4 or 5 frozen dumplings. If there is a stew-like leftover in the fridge, I'll ladle that on top or layer it underneath, and maybe decorate the top with some bright-colored vegie cutouts and a soy sauce bottle or two. Pictured here are pot stickers from Trader Joe, which do not require pre-cooking. I microwave this entire tier (removing the sauce bottles first, of course).
The other layer is some kind of cold salad or relish plate. This time it's a molded egg (that's a car, if you can't see it clearly) and steamed vegies, with salad dressing in the monkeys.
different kind of dumpling lunch - with a few strategic errors
This is a steamed bun, bought frozen from a Chinese food store. This one doesn't require a lot of cooking (1 minute microwave, 1 minute in toaster oven), which I can do at work, so I could pack the bun frozen. This arrangement could have been planned better. I realized when I got to work that I didn't want to microwave the tomatoes, so I took the bun out and cooked it separately, which was a little awkward.
The cold tier is an example of my favorite low-carb bento trick: cottage cheese instead of rice. Nori stars and vegie cut outs work wonders on cottage cheese, making it actually kind of interesting. That red stuff behind the sushi fence is mild salsa. I mixed it into the cottage cheese before eating it, but it looks so much nicer keeping them separated until it's time to eat.
Let's talk about tier height. I miscalculated here. The silicone baking cup holding the fruit is too tall for the short tier, so I put the cold food in the taller tier. Unfortunately, that frozen bun is also too tall for the short tier, so I had to leave the seal off and just cover the tier with the decorative cover. See below for a better solution.
slightly more traditional bento
Still not very Japanese, but at least it is grain-based. That's actually quinoa rather than rice. Leftover stir fry in the square cup, and cheese stars for decoration. I microwaved that whole tier and let the cheese stars melt into the other food. Yum.
Bottom tier is kind of a relish tray, based around those cute little mini-toasts. There's hummus in the round cup, olives, and a little salad underneath. One sauce bottle has olive oil, the other holds balsamic vinegar.
for something completely different: oysters and monkey salad
I wanted some way to pack foods rich in fish oils without stinking up my bento box. I finally found this tiny little sealed box at The Container Store. It fits perfectly into the taller tier even with the top on it. This container will not fit into many bento boxes (not with with the top on, anyway).
That's smoked oysters in the little box, btw. And little "mini-toasts" next to it, with the empty spaces filled in with Chinese rice crackers. Bottom tier is spinach salad with grape tomatoes, maybe a little leftover vegies, olives and roasted sunflower seeds sprinkled over the top. The monkey has salad dressing. It really doesn't hold very much, but the monkeys are so cute that Ijust have touse them now and then.
Note that I DO have one of those pesky silicone baking cups in the shorter tier. That was made possible by the belated realization that silicone is very easily cut with a pair of nail scissors. I had a set of a dozen of them, so I trimmed half of them to fit into short bento tiers.
lunch - feb 27, 2010 Snack Box
Look at this! I bought some "mini-sized" whole wheat rolls at the grocery store and discovered they fit perfectly. I made them into little sandwiches of some kind that didn't require refrigeration (tomato and avocado, I think). Along with the cheese, fruit and sunflower seeds it made a nice snack box for a long day at a local political convention.
Tier Snack Box - Just using the (larger) top tier.
I brought this to work along with another lunch bento for an afternoon snack.
Chinese rice crackers, fresh strawberries and almonds. The blue divider is actually a heart-shaped silicon cookie cutter from The Dollar Tree.