View Full Version : Bento (Japanese style) packed, vegan meals

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Jan 15th, 2008, 09:44 PM
All right. After mentioning and explaining bento quite often lately, I decided it's time for a bento thread.

This is what teh wiki says:
and two good sites to get started:
(not vegan!)

You don't have to be bonkers about Japanese food to make bento. In fact, I rarely pack Japanese foods but try to arrange leftovers neatly.
You don't have to be a big artist, either. There are a lot of pictures of very artful bentos- don't think that every Japanese housewife has the time to prepare stuff like that every day. You can even use a regular lock'n'lock box.

I've started packing bento shortly after going vegan for a number of reasons:
1) you can take it with you wherever you go and don't have to worry about vegan options
2) saving money
3) producing less waste as there are many reusable, environment-friendly containers available.
4) nutrition and portion control
bento is a good idea when you're trying to lose some weight. It also helps to eat a variety of different foods everyday.

For me, it's about sneaking some sweets and more calorie-rich foods in as I've got trouble eating enough protein and keeping my weight up.
No doubt I like it because I'm a huge lover of most things Japanese.
And I pack bento because of a personal issue: it's not that I've got an eating disorder, but due to some weird reasons I'm afraid of eating in front of people I'm not close to. This includes coworkers.
I love eating out with friends or cooking for them, but I hate eating among strangers.
But if I put a lot of effort into making something cute, I feel compelled to eat it.
I love to make especially kawaii boxes for everybody when we're going out for a trip (kids love it!).

Now, some eye-candy.

Monday's bento, containing edamame, seitan gyoza, a cocktail tomato, a slice of cake, some mandarin and almonds

and a special-effort bento for school tomorrow, two little bear onigiri (cucumber-wasabi filling) on napa cabbage, edamame, cocktail tomatoes, cucmber slices, potato salad, two mini lemon-poppyseed muffins and a ginger candy (wrapped in foil because I don't like mayonnaise muffins ;)

flickr (http://flickr.com/groups/veganbento/) has a vegan bento group as well.

So, who else likes making packed lunches or is interested in bento?

Mr Flibble
Jan 15th, 2008, 10:03 PM
I applaud anyone with the will power required to put lots of effort into packed lunches; sounds like lots of extra washing up to me ;)

Jan 15th, 2008, 10:07 PM
i'm looking at getting some bentos. At the moment i'm looking at those laptop lunch things cos i can't find any bento boxes in london. Anyone got help?

I'dlike these so I can:
a) ensure me and jo actually eat lunch
b) ensure i can portion properly (less for me, more for jo)
c) ensure i do a few different foods for variety.

Jan 15th, 2008, 10:15 PM
I want a laptop lunch box!!!! :(

I got a bento from my local 99 cent store. It is okay, it doesn't shut very well and there are only 3 different spots with only 1 lid on the whole thing...but it was well worth 99 cents.

Bryzee, I think the best way to go about getting a bento is online or at asian markets, but so far I have had the best luck online unfortunately.

Pavotrouge, I don't like eating in front of people that I am not close to either, and it is so embarressing to admit it! I'm glad I am not the only one!

Jan 15th, 2008, 10:28 PM
I'm getting one, but don't know which yet. I spend way too much on restaurants after spending plenty at the grocery store. Either that or I just don't eat all day!

Jan 15th, 2008, 10:32 PM
thanks, missbettie - i'll scour online. or maybe try chinatown on my travels tomorrow.

Jan 15th, 2008, 10:33 PM
ebay sell some bryzee...but they're all cutesy twee and i dunno..shipping really bumps up the price. surely lon-don of all places would sell bento boxes..not even small places like chinese supermarket type places?

Jan 15th, 2008, 10:41 PM
thanks, missbettie - i'll scour online.

Actually, a branch of Daiso (Japanese dollar/pound/euro store) was opened at Japan Centre near Picadilly a couple of weeks ago.

There's also a cute Asian shop near... ugh what was that cinema called... I'll look it up.

As for sizes, the two-tiered ones suit me best. I can't finish a whole laptop lunch! The original idea is that every ml is one calorie and that kids get about 300-400 calories, ladies 500-800 and lads 700-900 calories/mls. The two-tiered ones hold 580ml.

@MrF: not really much more washing up. I mainly use leftovers or cook bento-oriented so that I've always got something in the fridge. I don't do any extra "bento cooking".

Jan 15th, 2008, 10:56 PM
lol pavot, i just google "japanese shop london" and went on that site. I'm going there tomorrow :D

Jan 15th, 2008, 11:25 PM
My bf got me a laptop lunchbox for Christmas. I only got to use it twice before I was laid off of my stupid job, but will continue to use it once I'm working somewhere else. I wanted it for portion control, to be less wasteful, and because it's cute and hopefully will inspire some creativity.

Pavotrouge's already seen this one, but for the sake of contributing:


I guess it's not a true bento in the sense that I assembled it on a plate at work, but boy was it delicious.

Jan 15th, 2008, 11:29 PM
Ohmygosh the hot dog flowers on justbento.com are hilarious!

Jan 16th, 2008, 10:52 AM
i want a laptop bento ! i currently have one with Totoro that is very cute and very japanese (lol) but a laptop one would be more useful to pack my food. mine is two-tiered with some place under the cap to put my chopsticks.
i got my bento on jbox.com (is it ok to mention the address here?), if you're a fan of japanese things, you might find some cute items.
can i also suggest another website i'm sure you know, but i particularly love browsing, called "vegan lunchbox"?

Jan 16th, 2008, 06:08 PM
I think bento will be my next obsession. Combining art with food. I like that idea.

Jan 16th, 2008, 06:29 PM

Heres a site for products and ideas.

Jan 16th, 2008, 06:40 PM
I think you must really, really love someone to make these sorts of lunches for them. It must be amazing to have them made for you and to have the lovely surprise of opening them to see what you find. Dunno about making them for myself tho although I do like the idea of the compartments to keep small amounts separate. Think I will be an avid fan of this thread tho!:)

Jan 16th, 2008, 06:40 PM
I think bento's a really good idea, but I just don't think I'd have the patience to assemble it all.

BTW - sorry to hear you got laid off jambox.

Jan 16th, 2008, 08:44 PM
I look forward to seeing some of your creations!

@ Aurore: feel free to recommend whatever you like!

I don't usually make bentos like the bear one. Maybe once or twice a month. Tomorrow's box will be some simple sushi, trail mix and some mango pudding (I don't put in fruit most of the time because we've got lots at work).
Thursdays are hell, so everything has to be bite-sized. I don't want to put a lot of effort into it when I'm not even sure that I'll have the time to eat.

Those are my two favourite Ebay bento shops:
(incredibly reliable, speedy shipping and also one of the cheapest -
also check out the girl's video podcast, www.bentotv.com)
http://stores.ebay.com/SAKURAS-HAPPY-BOX_BENTO_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZ1QQfsubZ11170203QQftidZ2Q QtZkm

Jan 25th, 2008, 09:26 AM
how's everybody doing? did you get your box, bryzee?

some new pictures of my - not so cute- bentos:

sushi bento with ginger sauce in the hello kitty cup, mini lemon-poppyseed muffins, mango pudding and a coconut rice cracker

leftover Thai curry with tofu, rice with ginger sauce and a small container with chocoreale; another one with hummus and some tomato slices (a coworker brought fresh breadrolls to work on Monday because it was her birthday)

I love how everything I put into this black box turns out looking good, no matter how simple it it. Fussili with Thai basil pesto and the chickpea romesco from v-con.

Jan 25th, 2008, 09:47 AM
great bentos !!

Jan 25th, 2008, 09:37 PM
That looks awesome pavotrouge!

Jan 25th, 2008, 11:32 PM
I think you must really, really love someone to make these sorts of lunches for them. It must be amazing to have them made for you and to have the lovely surprise of opening them to see what you find. Dunno about making them for myself tho although I do like the idea of the compartments to keep small amounts separate. Think I will be an avid fan of this thread tho!:)

For some reason it annoys me that people think that these are so awesome. I look at that little box and I think "I would starve to death!" That is like, the amount of food I eat while I am looking for something to eat. When I go to work I try to bring two larger cannisters of things so that I can get 2-3 servings of whatever I chose.

Anyway, vavavegan, you made me stay with that comment! What better way to introduce vegan food to my fiance than to find him a kick ass box and pack it for him every day??

Jan 26th, 2008, 09:42 AM
Haniska, the boxes look tiny, I agree. When I got my first one, I thought those would never get me through the day.

But it's all about the packing technique. Sometimes I end up putting the stuff from my bento in a bowl or onto a plate, realizing that it's not so little after all - and I usually it lots!

Jan 28th, 2008, 09:27 PM
Wow! Awesome, thanks pavotrouge. After looking at the measurements online I did think to myself that I spoke a little too hastily. I'm going to buy one next month (New Year budget:D).

Jan 29th, 2008, 08:25 PM
usually, the containers have some information on them about how much they told- usually milliliters.

The containers I posted hold about 600 ml each and there are bigger ones.

Jan 29th, 2008, 10:28 PM
i agree. though i hate when my uni does that, friday i will only have half an hour to eat between classes, so it's an occasion to get my bento out of the cupboard ^^

my only regret is i should have bought one coming with a bag (though i plan to sew one). i also don't have any of those tiny cups or bottles for sauces, i realise they're really useful.