Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lunch on the Go: Bento Box Inspirations

Lunch on the Go!  The Bento style box with cool.
It's back to________ time (fill in the blank).  Packing a lunch for school, work or travel just got easier....and cooler.  The Japanese have their increasingly popular Bento Boxes which keep all of their favorite foods separate and un-smushed.  They are often lovely, painted and shaped in unique designs to resemble people and animals.  Children and adults love them!

Japanese Kotobuki 2 Tier Bento Box
Bento Boxes are often used on trains and in public stations where travelers can pick up a quick meal that is similar to what they would enjoy at home: rice, fish, pickled vegetables, rolled egg, etc. Some have a special place for chopsticks but the main idea is to keep the different foods you've packed separate on an easy to eat tray. Some come with their own handle, tote and thermos but I've put together my own Bento Box inspired set.

Like the traditional Japanese Bento Box, the Lunch on the Go has two tiers.
The closest American version of the Bento Box is the Lunch on the Go Set and the optional Telescoping Foon. What I like is that you can quickly freeze the separating shelf and add it to the box to keep everything super chilly.  I haven't seen that innovation in any of the Japanese style boxes but is what sets apart the Lunch on the Go Set from the others.  You can opt to pack warm foods as well, (just don't freeze the separator).  Put the Lunch on the Go Set in a thermal Igloo Lunch Tote and it will stay warm for hours.  This works great for a breakfast burrito or toasted bagel. Simply wrap your warm sandwiches in a sheet of aluminum foil first then place in the Lunch on the Go

My Lunch on the Go, snacks and this Klean Kanteen all fit in the Igloo Cooler Tote

Want to take along a chilled salad?  Cool Gear Inc. makes a deluxe salad kit that has a similar theme of two tiers with a freezable separator and a covered cup for your dressing as shown below.

Source: gavethat.com via Marie on Pinterest
The Igloo Thermal Totes are very compact and fold up easily in my bicycle panniers.  In fact, I keep one on my bicycle just in case I purchase something frozen or cold at the market.  Same thing if I purchase something hot to eat while I'm out.  This tote will keep it warm until I'm ready to stop and eat it.  Perfect for people on the go.

Hot or cold foods will stay that way longer when packed in a thermal tote.  Hot cofee, soups and stews stay piping hot for hours in this 20oz Insulated Klean Kanteen.

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