I’ve been to Hong Kong on business trips many times. Most visitors to Hong Kong buy jewelry, watches, clothes and other accessories. Not me… I buy bento boxes (and Pocky sticks). My favorite shopping spot was the home and kitchen department of Sogo in Causeway Bay which was initially opened by the Japanese department store chain .
A bento box can be a single layer but I love the multi-layered styles the best, often held together by a clip mechanism or with a band. In India, a packed lunch box is known as a tiffin and is often used to describe the stainless steel version. During the Hawaii plantation days, my dad and his siblings referred to their lunch boxes as kau kau tins (kau kau means food or to eat in pidgin English, our Hawaii slang).
The Japanese bento boxes are always kawaii and colorful appealing to the girly part of me. I also love the stainless version as it reminds me of the old Hawaii. My melamine set (pictured above) is a bit larger in size and perfect for carrying a two to three day supply of veggies, fruits and cold foods to the office for lunch.
The stainless, melamine and panda images above are via Amazon and the pink lego bento box is via JBox. Pearl River also carries a selection of melamine lunch boxes and Happy Tiffin specializes in stainless steel. Smaller sized bento boxes can also be found at any local Sanrio store. Many bento boxes and tiffins are not safe for the microwave so please read the information carefully!
Bento home lunches have gained in popularity in the US in the past few years as a way to eat healthy foods in moderation for adults and to add a dash of fun to home lunch for the keikis. I love Crystal Watanabe’s blog about her Adventures in Bento Making including a ton of recipes and ideas (she is also the author of Yum-Yum Bento Box). Crystal is a Hawaii blogger who started packing her own home bento lunch as part of her Weight Watchers experience.