Bento/Dosirak accessories or how to make your lunch cute/creative

Maybe I should have titled this: What I spent my money on since I started blogging about my lunches!

Be warned, this is a long post…

As I wrote in an earlier post, I sort of got “sucked” into the whole bento/dosirak addiction and spent a fortune on bento boxes and other accessories. I’m not even going to show you a picture of the number of lunch boxes I currently have, but trust me, I could probably pack 3 weeks of lunches and use a different box every day! Writing it down seems even worse than seeing them on my cupboard shelf…

Even with that high number of boxes, I tend to use the same ones over and over again, mainly because they are the right size (for me, but I’m a bit greedy…), are leak proof and/or transport friendly, come with chopsticks/containers/dividers and can go in the dishwasher :-). You will have seen these appearing regularly on my blog.

What I do want to show (off) in this post is my growing collection of accessories that I use to “cute up” my lunch. Some are quite bento specific, and bought mainly at Bento and Co,  CasaBento, and Japan Centre, but I also found some in cookery shops (think small biscuit cutters), high street shops or supermarkets (like the silicone cupcake molds).

First up: chopsticks

chopsticks

Chopsticks are not really necessary to “cute” up your lunch, but you will probably want some if you’re packing rice based lunches! Some of the above came with bento boxes like the little black box with grey “collapsible” chopsticks, others were bought or given  to me (the cute strawberry ones). The very long ones with red ends are used for cooking, and the metal ones are Korean.

I tend to use the Korean and the plain brown ones a lot when packing my lunches in the morning (have multiple sets of these), as I try to handle the food as little as possible with my fingers (food safety and such…). My favourite set to take with me for lunch is the Totoro one, not only is this set cute – and has both chopsticks and spoon – but the container has some sort of strip to hold them in place, which means they won’t rattle or make noise whilst carrying around.

I don’t use chopsticks rests when taking a lunch with me, only at home. Unfortunately it’s quite hard to find pretty ones here in the UK, unless very expensive (because imported).

Next up: food picks, cutters, soy sauce bottles  / containers and more

bento accessories food cutters and picks

Wow, it looks like a lot! Well, it is a lot :-). Just find it hard to resist cute stuff… The pipettes/tiny funnel I use to fill the soy sauce bottles. Metal cutters are great for cutting vegetables like carrots, and the plastic ones are better for softer ingredients, like cheese, ham or egg sheets. You can use them for carrots but I would advise cooking the carrot briefly first. Otherwise you will end up with very sore thumbs pressing down….

The elastic bands are to keep bento box and lid tightly together. I love the 3 animal containers (left bottom picture) but now realise I actually don’t use them a lot.

Another box full of stuff: nori punchers and egg molds

nori punchers and egg moulds

Some of these are actually paper cutters, but they do the job :-). I have been slightly disappointed by the quality of some of the Japanese nori punchers, they don’t seem to be very sharp. I read somewhere you can sharpen them by punching through foil, will have to try that out.

This box also holds some onigiri shapers and other stuff too large for others boxes, like the chick furikake container, and egg molds.  Egg molds are very easy to use and a great way to add some creativity to your packed lunch. My Hello Kitty egg mold is not being shown here, as it’s currently in use (shaping my egg in the fridge).

More (yes, there is more) stuff:

sushi mats egg moulds and rice paddles

Sushi mats (bamboo and silicone, more disposable chopsticks, rice paddles and more egg molds. These are for use with quail eggs, but I guess that Japanese quails must lay smaller eggs than UK quails… The ones I buy are always too large so I often end up with “exploded” eggs… >.<

And last photo: silicone containers, more accessories and tools

bento accessories

Silicone containers are ideal for separating food in your lunch box and packing it tightly. As you can see I have quite a lot! The little flower and bear are used to shape rice, and there are also more (o)nigiri shapers and sauce containers.

I use the clips and mat when I cut out nori details with my sharp X-acto-knife. The syringes are also used for filling soy sauce bottles. Sharp scissors, straws (great for cutting out little details out of egg sheets), lots of pincers to handle small nori bits and finally food dividers.

Pfff…..so that’s where my money went! 😉

When packing my lunch in the morning I tend to quickly grab the two boxes in the top and bottom picture, as these hold the easiest, and most used accessories. I have the boxes open on my counter while packing my ingredients and just grab what I need.

Packing a (basic) lunch will take me about 15-20 minutes at most, including adding “cute” food picks. But creative ones can take up to an hour or even longer!

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37 thoughts on “Bento/Dosirak accessories or how to make your lunch cute/creative

    • Dear madabouttheorient,

      Thank you very much for your extra special Liebster award and I am flattered by your nomination.

      However, please be aware that I have decided not to accept awards as I don’t really have the time to properly accept and pass it on in the spirit that the award is meant.

      I do truly appreciate it, thank you again, and also for your understanding.

      Dosirakbento

  1. That’s an incredible collection! We have exactly the same cooking hashi. Maybe there’s a rule somewhere about the color combos! My mil’s are really old, plain pieces of wood with a string holding them together but they are still the easiest to use, especially for tempura and karaage. I have only used metal hashi a few times at Korean restaurants but I found them sooooo hard to hold. Do you have any tips? Thanks for sharing this! I feel like I got a behind-the-scenes tour!

  2. Hello! Thank you for this interesting post. As far as the nori puncher is concerned, the quality of nori plays a big roll. Nori produced in Japan are much denser and thicker and you can punch out a shape very clearly, while many noris we can buy overseas are thiner and of poorer quality unfortunately and it does not show a clean cut. Yes I agree with you about the poor cutting performance of some of nori cutters… the best puncher I have is meant to make to cut a paper too. xx Rie

    • I mix my chopsticks all the time! Actually for eating at home (or at Korean restaurants) I will often use the Korean metal ones, but for taking a lunch to work, I tend to use the ones that come with the bento box or in a travel case.

      Very easy ways to cute up a lunch would be with using egg molds, food picks and cutters. But even just adding some nice bright colours to your lunch with cherry tomatoes, radishes and carrots can make you lunch look pretty.

      I have also found that all things look cuter when small, ie 4 miniature sandwiches instead of 1 large, mini quiches, mini pancakes etc or quail eggs instead of chicken egg.

    • I love these containers, they are called “really useful boxes” and they are indeed really useful. It helps just having to grab one or two boxes and having my accessories all ready for use.

  3. i collect a whole bunch of japanese wooden chopsticks, as well as japanese tea/sake cups. cant remember how many i have. i lost count. all tucked away in boxes.

    • Don’t you want to use them? It sounds like such a pity to have it tucked into a box without anyone seeing them.

      I have some vintage tea cups which I hardly use, but I still like having them on display to look at and sometimes I use them for a special occasion.

      • i fear them getting dusty and damaged. maybe someday when i move to another house, then i’ll take them all out for display and use. in the meantime, there are a few that i’m using on regular basis. the rest, still in boxes.

  4. Pingback: My bento box collection …. | dosirakbento

  5. Ah, this will get me going! 😉 I’ve seen similar items being sold in Daiso (Japanese store with S$2 price tag for everything, just like UK’s Poundland) so I’m going to check it out this weekend and see what’s interesting to get 🙂

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