Using dividers for easier bento

For me, one thing that defines bento is the presence of an assortment of food items in a single container. Instead of bringing multiple re-sealable containers holding different dishes, you bring a small amount of a variety of food, giving you a nice, balanced variety without necessarily increasing your food intake. To make it easier, not to mention neater, a nice addition to your bento arsenal would be dividers and cups.


Bento #229 • 13 January 2009

Take this bento for example. While this box originally comes with its own partitions, I decided not to use it, in favor of making my own partitions. Doing this allows me to be more flexible with the number of contents and their amounts.

See the red plaid cup at the right side, holding the Patis-Calamansi Fried Chicken? Those are disposable bento liners specially designed for bento boxes. They’re not the easiest things to find but can easily be substituted with colorful cupcake liners. They’re good for dry food. Some people opt for reusable silicon cupcake liners. They’re great as well, and can be used for food that’s a bit more liquidy.

Small-sized re-sealable containers like those used for taking out sauces and dips on the other hand, are good for wet food that have sauce or dressing but isn’t liquidy, like this potato salad. If you’re putting something wetter, it’s best to use it with a cover. If it doesn’t come with a cover, you can use a piece of tightly pulled cling wrap.

Of course, there are also mini-cups that are specifically created for bento, like the square yellow cup, pictured here with orange wedges. I like them because they are colorful and come in a wide variety of shapes so I can choose one that will fit the alloted space in my box.

Lastly, I used romaine lettuce leaves to serve as edible dividers for my onigiri and apple wedges. Because of the curly edges, they’re not only functional but attractive as well. Mostly, I use non-edible baran or dividers. They’re those fake grass sheets you usually see adorning sushi. That’s only one kind though; they’re actually available in a range of colors and designs to help make your bento prettier.

The use of dividers, while not totally necessary, goes a long way when it comes to bento prep. Whether it’s for functional or aesthetic reasons, it always pays to have a few portioning tricks up your sleeve.

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9 Responses to Using dividers for easier bento

  1. luka says:

    yay! a post about dividers!!! those are great ideas for bento dividers. i am so obsessed with finding bento dividers but the one’s sold online are expensive and i’m having no such luck in finding them in stores. i didn’t realize that i could use stuff found already in our kitchen. THANK YOU SO MUCH~

  2. Suzanne says:

    I also like how Tupperware came out with those small sauce containers. They don’t always fit in the box, but it really depends on how one will arrange the food, anyway. ^^

  3. Toni says:

    Eeeeeh! I want to gobble up the winking rice!

  4. kaoko says:

    Yes! You can find a lot of things you can use in your house and in stores as long as you keep your eyes peeled and your mind open for bento ideas 😀 Have you tried looking for those silicon muffin cups? They’re reusable and come in a variety of colors and designs, I’m sure it’ll work out marvelously for your bento.

    Yeah! It’s all a matter of how you arrange it. Besides, those tupperware containers probably come with their own covers so you don’t have to stick them inside your box.

    How could you! It was being friendly and all, winking at you!

  5. Ichiro Ino says:

    Silly question.. are there too much left overs when making bento? Like when making silly but cute shapes.. where do the excess go? :3

    • kaoko says:

      Not really. I usually cook small amounts or use leftovers from larger portions of food. If you mean the cut-outs from veggies and stuff though, I usually either use for other recipes or keep them hidden under other food. 😀

  6. kremchie says:

    uhmm…how do you make those emoticons/smileys on the the winking rice and the happy apple bunny..^^

  7. Gracie says:

    nice.. i have had a great time reading your posts!

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