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Bento Box Ideas For Lunch?

I recently discovered the fun world of bento boxes. I've purchased several for myself, hubby and my 3 year old but I'm running out of ideas on what to pack. I don't want to limit myself to Asian food all the time. We're Indian, and I cook Indian food a couple times a week, so I've tried incorporating that too. I have mini soy sauce bottles and small cups for chilli sauce and ketchup. I also have rice molds to make fun shapes with rice. I'd love to find some egg molds and those little paper cups to hold fried foods.

Some lunches I've packed recently were:
Mini samosas with mint chutney, grapes, and sweet potato "fries"
PB&J cut into shapes, grape tomatoes, Fritos, and fruit salad (3YO's lunch)
Hainanese Chicken rice with chilli sauce, sliced cucumber and melon cubes
Mini chicken burgers, carrot sticks, cucumber spears, ranch dressing, and apple slices
Potstickers with dipping sauce, edamame, asian 'slaw', and almond jelly

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  1. Try Middle-Eastern foods - they lend themselves to the "small dishes" approach. Make a big batch of falafel and you can freeze the extras for later. Serve with cucumber-tomato salad, spiced roasted veggies, tahini sauce (or hummus) and pita bread.

    1. Check out www.veganlunchbox.blogspot.com

      Tortilla wraps are great, just fill, roll and secure w/ toothpick. I don't plan ahead but use whatever we have that will fill in the little compartments. One is always filled w/ something baked from home. One fruit/vegetable.

      1. Salmon Croquettes, Mashed potatoes, broccoli w/ garlic, grapes
        Smattering of Water and Wheat Crackers, prosciutto, turkey, salami, cheeses, grapes and/or preserves, graham crackers
        Meat balls, wedge of cornbread, salad, cookie
        Teriyaki chicken, rice, asian slaw, mochi
        Mini petit fours or mini croque monsieurs cut into cubes, mini quiche, mini eclair, apple slices
        Quesadilla, salsa, chips, guacamole, cinnamon-sugar bunuelo chips

        1. 1. Japanese bento: musubi (rice balls) with ume boshi, teriyaki chicken, quick cucumber pickles, blanched tofu and spinach dressed with shoyu and lemon juice
          2. Mexican bento: chicken burrito or enchiladas cut to fit, refried beans, rice, simple tomato and red onion salad
          3. American bento: fried chicken, potato salad, cole slaw, muffin, deviled egg
          4. Lao bento: sticky rice, laab, Lao sausage, long green beans, greens
          5. Yankee bento: clam fritters, potato and watercress salad, stuffed boiled lobster
          6. French bento: duck liver pate, mushroom stuffed squid, potato slabs with tapenade, rhubarb and strawberry coulis
          7. Hawaiian bento: poke poke, poi, lau lau...you know the drill
          8. Kenyan bento: funny chicken bits stew, ugalli (white maize staple dish), sukuma wiki (greens).
          9. Vietnamese bento: pork stuffed bitter gourd, rice, sour vegetable pickles, fish
          10. Philippines bento: rice pyramids wrapped in pandan, tinapa (smoked fishies), penoy (boiled unfertilized duck egg), ....

          Sorry, I could get even more carried away.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            This could be a fun game...name the country and the food box.

            English: cornish pasty, minted peas, scone w/ clotted cream in the smallest container w/ a lid, gloucestor cheese

            Taiwanese: rice, roasted soy sauce pork w/ hard boiled egg, fried greens, crushed sweetened peanuts

            Indian: naan bread, chicken korma, rice, aloo gobi or palek paneer

            Lebanese: toum w/ pita, kebabs, baklava, arnabeet

          2. OK... I have to take exception to Sam's idea of a Hawaii Bento, perhaps that is what it should be but....

            A bento here generally consists of an overwhelming bed of white calrose rice, probably with some furikake sprinkled on it. Spread out on top of that there is likely to be a piece of fried chicken, some teriyaki beef, a piece of breaded fried mahimahi, and a piece of fried spam (or in some cases a hot dog). There will usually be some sliced pickled ginger, a piece of (bright yellow) pickled radish (takuan), and some tarter sauce, along with a small packet of soy sauce. And no, I have never weighed one, nor seen a computation on the nutritional values (or not so nutritional values as the case may be). The "box" is about 5"x7"x2" deep - stuffed full.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KaimukiMan

              KM, You're spot on. I wrote my reply in a couple of minurtes of enthusiam. Your version makes much more sense (and my faddahside from Kaneohi).