My Top 6 Bento Picks
Have you ever tried making kyaraben? What are your favorite tools and accessories you cannot live without when making bento?
When I began my food art journey, I felt incredibly overwhelmed with the selection of tools and cute accessories available. I became obsessed with all the character food picks, cutters and kawaii rice molds. I wanted to complete my growing collection overnight without considering their uses or practicality. Everything was just so darn cute!
When meeting friends starting their bento journey, they usually ask what bento tools and items I suggest they should invest in first and where they can get them.
Just like any hobby, you try then test different products until you find what works for you. With over 2 years of making kawaii food for my kids, I am finally able to narrow My Top 6 Bento Picks I cannot live without. Lucky for those who live in the Metro, all of the items mentioned below are available in local shops or online.
1. A good canvas
With any work of art, a quality canvas is the base of everything. A great canvas for your food should be sturdy, leak proof, colorful, spacious, kid-friendly (easy to open and close), and BPA free. Kids do not usually have access to a microwave at school, but if the container is microwavable, that is a definite bonus. I used to be drawn to the containers with cute covers and completely forgot to consider how it looked inside without its top.
Our all time favourites are;
The famous Yumbox lunchbox has 3 versions; Yumbox original, Yumbox mini and the Yumbox tapas series. Each come with a removable tray with generous sized food partitions. This feature makes washing and packing food much easier. It has a compact design with a cover cushioned with silicone at its base and a lock to seal to keep food from shifting. Of course it comes in a wide selection of fun colors and it is completely spill proof, which makes it perfect to pack wet food, like yogurt!
@Brightbrands.ph offers Yumbox as well as a wide selection of unique gifts and food art materials.
Lex N Go
Lex n Go was the first series of bento boxes I used back in 2015. To this day, they are still one of our family’s favorites. They are easy to use, fully collapsible and come in an array of vibrant colors so no one has an excuse to forget to bring them home from school or office. Lex items are BPA-free, made of high European standard food grade silicone, making it dishwasher, oven and microwave safe! Because these do not have partitions, I love making bento in these containers. I can easily match designs to the colored “background” and I am given free hand to the size of the character I place inside. It is spill proof and best part, you can collapse it completely flat then toss it in your bag when you’re done.
Lex N Go is available in stores and online on Instagram, @lexngoph
EZPZ Happy Mat
For fun meals at home or for those without school aged children but have picky eaters to entertain, check out the EZPZ Happy Mat! This genius kid contraption is a rubbery silicone place mat and plate in one. Yes, I am serious! The key feature is that it is completely slip proof and adheres on to any flat surface (especially glass and the like) making it an answered prayer for parents who need to turn their backs from their kids for a couple of minutes during feeding time. So, you can say goodbye to nasty spills and plates on the floor.
The EZPZ is designed with two kid-sized partitions at the top, perfect for yogurt, fruit or veggies and a smiley-shaped one below.
Lucky you, because they just released a number of swoon-worthy hues and designs, like the "Care Bear collection" in different sizes! There is definitely something for every Mum err, I mean, child.
Available here: @_carrieandme
2. Bento tweezers
If I were in a bento tool hold-up situation, I would tell the hijacker to take everything but my bento tweezers! I swear by these so much that I keep 2 extra for back up.
I remember food tweezers being the first tool I took home from a workshop and it made me feel like a bento master. I carry these in every bento situation and use them to plate fine details when my hands are too shaky and when adding the finishing touches on a design to keep my chunky fingers from disturbing the food.
Tip: For food only! Keep these away from splinters and eyebrows.
Find these at Daiso Japan, Philippines
3. Food picks
Confession: I have 4 boxes full of over 500 bento food picks.
A little excessive? However, I do not regret any of them since each little pick was used one time or another. I take pride in my collection and although I have a massive stash I still notice when one of them is missing.
But, if you insist I choose my top three, favorite, go-to, I-am-lazy-and-just-need-to-decorate food picks, these would most definitely be them.
Leaf picks were the set I had a difficult time finding in the beginning; Then when I did, I bought two packs! These adorable green picks make bite-sized fruit balls and small veggies look animated and adorable. They make eating finger snacks more fun and less messy.
I use eye picks on eggs, fruit, veggies sandwiches and rice molds on days we are on a time crunch and cannot create nori eyes from scratch. You will find a hundred ways to make fun characters with this popular set of picks.
Tip: Use just a single "eye" to make a monster alien .
Yeah, because hat picks! Seriously, how cute are those?
I still get giddy when I reach for these little guys. They are that adorable. Tiny hats add character to any design; perfect for little sandwiches, animals, even veggie cut-outs.
Tip: Pair the hat picks with eyes picks and you have an instant kawaii design.
Available at @bentoshopph
4. Silicon Cups
A properly packed bento lunch is always a complete and balanced meal. But, how do you pack lunch in a container that does not come with dividers and prevent the food from mixing together? Reusable silicon baking cups are the answer to keeping wet and dry food separate, while adding fun and flare to your kawaii design.
Available at My Mother’s Cupboard.
5. Round craft puncher
Make perfectly round eyes and details out of nori using just a hole puncher from the bookstore. Any round paper puncher will do. They are relatively in expensive, ranging between P40-50. However, should you decide to add a hole puncher to your bento tool collection, promise me you will not alternate it between your office desk and bento boxes. Keep these separate. A puncher for food will be for food. A separate puncher should be used for paper work. Yes, I am anal like that.
6. Sharp craft scissors
Before realizing how simple this can be, I purchased a dozen sets of punchers, cutters and food blades only to find that all I need is a small, sharp pair of scissors. The easiest way to cut and shape food like nori, sandwich ham, and even vegetable skins is small scissors! I do not suggest kitchen scissors because the blades are too large to cut fine details.
This one is my favorite. It is available at the bookstore. For under P50.
Well, that’s that… Thanks again for checking in!
Wait, no! I'm not done!
Ok fine, I can’t help it; I have a 7th item to add to this list. I was trying to decide if I needed to mention it since I promised, “My Top 6 Bento Picks”. The title is just so catchy (I mean, it rhymes). But, the next item deserves to be here.
Use a sheet or 5, this ordinary kitchen tool keeps us from directly handling food and helps to form rice easily; as if you’re playing with Play-doh.
Cling wrap makes it to #7.
Glad makes the best quality clings sheets, perfect for storing. They tear apart easily so you never use too much, yet strong enough to withstand a beating when moulding your food for a bento design.
Just how different home kitchens swear by gadgets uniquely theirs, so will your bento tool station. If you have an existing collection or if you have been wanting to start, consider these basics to encourage you on your bento journey by making your mornings a breeze.
What items do you swear by to make yours kids baon quick and easy? Are there new bento contraptions I failed to mention that I really should know about? I am on a hunt for a lunch bag that has a base wide enough to carry a bento box lying flat so the food doesn’t spill out.
Any Suggestions? Comment below!