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An Extra-Snug Bento Box That Happens to Be Dishwasher- and Microwave-Safe

Two separate compartments for non-soggy-lunch packing. Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

The Goal: Find a bento box that’ll satisfy both second-graders going back to school with PB&Js and grown-ups who want to bring last night’s leftovers to the office.

The Verdict: The Red Dot Design Award–winning Monbento Original bento box was created by a French physical therapist who couldn’t find a suitable model in all of Europe. So she left her job in 2009 and made her own. It comes with two stackable layers to keep dressings separate from sandwiches and holds about four cups of food (far more than most boxes, which average two cups). Internal lids are fitted with a silicone hinge to keep them extra-snug, and the whole thing is wrapped with an elastic band, making it leakproof (though we don’t recommend it for soup). It’s made of highly durable, BPA-free plastic that’s soft to the touch, and unlike others, the Monbento is dishwasher-, freezer-, and microwave-safe.

Monbento Original Bento Box
From $27 at Amazon

It comes in a variety of colors, too.

More Strat-approved bento boxes

To find the best Japanese-style lunch boxes for students, we spoke with Angelique Chmielewski, owner of Japanese home-goods store Nalata Nalata. According to Chmielewski, the best portable bento container is airtight, with a rubber gasket that is leak-resistant, and easy to wash. Below, options that’ll render Tupperware containers (let alone brown paper bags) obsolete. A tip: To avoid stealing your kid’s lunch box, we’d advise ordering two upfront.

Takenaka Rectangle Bento Box
$31 at Amazon

Stylish, affordable, easy to clean (and from the same brand of high-quality bento boxes that we’ve raved about before). I can’t imagine a person not wanting to buy this bento box.

Muji Bento Box
$16 at Amazon

A simple aluminum option from Muji.

BentoHeaven Leakproof Bento Box
$24 at Amazon

An airtight, double-stacked bento with ventilation locks for hot food. And it comes with a pair of chopsticks.

Unichart Stainless Steel Lunchbox
$30 at Amazon

While not technically a compartmentalized bento box, this is a very functional and handsome stack of containers that includes its own lunch bag, stainless-steel bowls, and utensils.

Shiraki Bento Box
$160 at Natala Natala

This traditional bento box is made of Japanese cypress Thujopsis wood, known for its antimicrobial properties and water-resistance.

Spencer Bento Box
$17 at Pottery Barn Kids

Bento boxes have even infiltrated Pottery Barn — these compartmentalized versions are like the plastic lunch boxes you toted as a child, only with sensible portion separators.

Kaico Canister Set
$135 at Natala Natala

Not exactly a bento box in the traditional sense, but these are Chmielewski’s favorite containers for lunches on the go — the three size options, she says, help with portion control.

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A Super-Snug Bento Box That’s Dishwasher- and Microwave-Safe