Reviewed by Louisa Nashir
If you were to ask a Japanese person to name the one dish they associate with lunch, chances are that the answer you receive will be ‘Bento’. Bento (弁当 bentō) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional Bento holds rice or noodles, fish or meat, with pickled and cooked vegetables, in a box.
I am fascinated by the Japanese culture and enjoy learning about their customs and traditions. Over the years I have collected various Japanese items including ornate Kanzashi (hair sticks), kimonos, Kikoshi (wooden Japanese dolls with no arms or legs) and I even have a Japanese water garden half sleeve tattooed onto my forearm (It is my pride and joy and worth the pain).
My fascination came after reading the book ‘Memoir of a Geisha’ by Arthur Golden and from then I was hooked. When I am not caring for my disabled daughter and helping out at the various community groups I run, I am often found with my nose in a book or looking online at Japan. It’s my dream destination to visit.
So imagine my delight when I was asked to choose an item from www.souschef.co.uk. Immediately I began searching the website for Japanese inspired items and I stumbled across the Bento Boxes page. The website stock many boxes suitable for young and old, male and female. After some deliberation, I settled on the rather charming Kokeshi Bento Box and couldn’t wait for it to arrive.
Before I knew it, the box was here and even more stunning in the ‘flesh’. The beautifully designed Bento box is a thing of beauty and will capture your hearts in an instant. The size is perfect for one person (100mm diameter x 130mm high. Capacity: 640ml (200ml x 2 + 240ml)).
This Bento box stands out from the usual rectangular lunch boxes us Brits are known to love and I adore it! I don’t particularly like to ‘fit in’ so this beautiful Bento box is perfect for me.
The Bento box is shaped and decorated to resemble a Kokeshi doll by cleverly using 3 bowls and tubs and held together with a strong elasticated strap. Taking the doll apart I discovered the following items…
- 1 x Inverted bowl (The Hat of the Kokeshi)
- 1 x Lidded tub with hermetic seal (The Face of the Kokeshi)
- 1 x Deep open-topped tub (The Body of the Kokeshi)
- 1 x Elasticated holding strap
As soon as I had finished looking at the Bento box I used Google to search for some Bento box meal ideas. I opted for vegetarian meals as 99% of my time I tend to eat meat and fish-free meals. The internet has thousands of ideas, some Japanese others not quite so traditional for a Bento box but still a great way to use the box.
I settled upon a (cheats option shhh), I sourced some packets of miso soup from a local world food store close to home and some premade vegetarian sushi from the supermarket. Yes, it wasn’t the most adventurous of lunches but I wanted to properly test the box before reviewing so my cheat meal would suffice. I chose a day I knew I would be busy so packed up my Bento box with my soup sachet, some dried noodles crushed into smaller pieces and some sushi. I filled my thermos water bottle and went on my way.
After a morning of meetings and plenty of brainstorming, I was more than ready for lunch so excitedly took my Bento box out of my bag and set about making my lunch. My box got a lot of attention from friends and colleagues who had never seen a Bento box before and they were intrigued. I ended up with a lot of eyes watching me making my miso noodle soup and I could tell they were quite impressed, if not slightly envious as they tucked into their shop-bought pre-packed sandwiches and crisps. Now Autumn is upon us here in the UK I much prefer a hot lunch but at times this is not always possible due to location and time. Well, it wasn’t until my Bento box arrived. Now I can eat good quality, hot food on the go.
Washing the Bento box was easy as each section comes apart with ease. The Kokeshi Bento box is not dishwasher safe, so stick to hand washing and this beautifully adorned box will last for years.
I am so impressed with the Kokeshi Bento box from Sous Chef and I am looking at purchasing the larger size for days out for myself and my daughter.
If you are looking for a super cute, compact, practical gift for someone this Christmas then take a look at www.souschef.co.uk and take a look at the huge array of Bento boxes available to buy.
The design and quality of this Bento box is sublime!
A worthy investment at £19.95
For more information or to buy visit www.souschef.co.uk.