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Showing 1-10 of 1,448 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,669 reviews
on February 16, 2016
This is the second Zojirushi I have bought. It is so worth the money. The food stays hot or cold, and the containers are easy and fun to pack. This is outstanding quality. I use silicon baking cups as dividers.
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0Comment| 61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
It's a great "lunchbox" if you adapt your menu to it.

First the description

The lunchbox is a Thermos Jar with a non-insulated plastic top. There are four containers that fit into the jar in a specific order.

-The bottom container is a insulated bowl. It has a gasket sealed screw on top, insulated side walls and a small vent for pressure. The most insulative of the bunch it is designed for soup or other liquids

-The next container is the biggest. It has a slide and lock insulated top.

-The third container is notably smaller and has a Tupperware like pop top.

-The fourth container is smaller yet and has the same top.

You stack the containers in the jar and then clip the top on with little side clips. The whole thing then goes in a nice nylon carry bag that also has a pair of chopsticks in a narrow plastic box. There are little pockets on the side for extra sauce packets or condiments (or I-pod video's to watch while your eating lunch).

This unit is optimally designed for the Japanese style lunch. A soup, Rice, entrée and pickled/salted vegetables. Normally you'd put your soup in the bottom container, fill the middle container up with rice. Your entrée would go in the third and the veggies in the fourth. Since the soup and the rice container both have insulated tops they stay warm. The other containers are not insulated and neither is the top. This allows some heat coming off the bottom two containers to escape so that your veggies are at room temperature. Understanding this is important. Its not supposed to keep the entire meal at the same temperature. Its supposed to keep one part hot and the other part at room temperature.

I've found that in real use the soup container stays steaming hot. The stuff in the rice container stays warm (but not hot) the stuff in the top two containers heats up to room temperature, maybe a little bit more.

Naturally you don't have to use it as designed (soup/rice/entrée/veggie) but departures require a little bit adaptation and creativity. You need to balance both amounts and what you want to keep the hottest vs coolest. Also if you have access to a microwave at lunch it kind of makes this not quite as useful since you could just heat your food up there (as opposed to heating it up in the morning before you go). You could use the whole thing as a cooler (everything remains cold/cool till you heat up what you want). That might be a better way to go if your using it for the office.

The size of the room temperature containers is not large enough to handle American sized sandwiches and breads, so if your looking to take that traditional lunch box stuff this isn't the best unit for that.

If your looking to make the most of this unit you might check out some Bento Box cookbooks. They give receipies and menu sets more in line with what this is designed to handle. In particular I enjoyed the book "Bento Boxes" by Naomi Kijima

Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go

I'll cook something up out of that and thrown in a packet of instant miso soup for a Japanese style lunch.

Pros-

Compact and efficient use of space- It all goes in the tube, no bag full of different containers

Allows for two temperatures in the same container - Allows for flexible combinations

Lots of interesting comments from your co-workers

Cons-

Cleanup is a bit of a pain - Not dishwasher safe. The soup top is a little tricky at times.

Soft plastic will eventually pick up strong smells/Stains

Two temperatures in the same container - Requires a little creativity, doesn't keep everything uniformly hot/cold.

Conclusion-

As long as you understand how it works and adapt it's a great product. Might encourage you to cook a bit more healthy food and eat more vegetables.
3131 comments| 1,884 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 1, 2013
So I started a diet, and decided it was best nutritionally as well as cheaper to take my lunch every day so I started looking for a lunchbox. I came across this and was immediately put off by the price because to me, who in their right mind would spend $50+ on a lunchbox??? Well i read the reviews, and I looked at some pictures, and I was convinced enough to give it a try...especially after reading about their customer service!
I bought it a month or two ago but waited to review it because I really wanted to try a bunch of different lunches before I made the review. I must say, it really does keep your hot food very warm...it's not hot as if you had just cooked it but it's very warm and to me, it's the perfect temperature to eat your food at. It also helps with portion control. I tend to put the 'entree' part of my meal in the bottom vented canister, and then the vegetables or rice in the larger insulated one. These are some of the dishes I have brought to work in my Mr. Bento:

Paneer Tikka Masala Curry: The curry in the bottom, then the rice, then I cut naan bread into smaller pieces, wrapped them in foil and left them in an upper container, and then a final container of fruit. The Curry was nice and hot and the rice too, the bread obviously wasn't but that's ok, and the fruit was a little warmer than I would have liked, but hey, you can't have it all.

Grilled Chicken with Mixed Veggies: I grill up a chicken cutlet in the morning, cut it in half and put it in the bottom container and then I either grill some veggies or sautee them and throw them in the larger container. I don't actually always need or use the top two, but I tend to fill them with fruit.

Creamy Avocado sauce with Spaghetti and steamed broccoli: I prepared some whole wheat spaghetti with a creamy avocado sauce, threw that in the bottom container (portion control! it's smaller) and then filled the second insulated container full with steamed broccoli. Had it at lunch, nice and warm.

I've prepared other things, but these are the most frequent dishes I bring with me to work. I must say the Tikka Masala was my favorite because I kept the curry in the bottom, the rice in the second one (which is larger) then I dumped the curry in with the rice so they were side by side and ate it like that. It was great.

I also love the metal spork it comes with! I don't actually use it but one day I will! The bag is also very convenient, I just throw it over my shoulder and go to work. This lunchbox is truly awesome and the meal combinations are endless. Just know that you really can't keep 2 canisters hot and 2 cold...what I do is I took 2 pieces of cardboard, cut them to the same diameter of the Mr. Bento, then covered it with tinfoil and it does a pretty decent job of preventing too much heat from traveling above the insulated containers into the non-insulated containers. It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing. I haven't tried to bring anything cold in the insulated containers yet, but if I ever do, I will surely update this review to reflect that.

You can't go wrong with the Mr. Bento... it's sturdy, easy, and convenient. You should definitely buy it.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 17, 2011
The Mr. Bento lunch jar...be forewarned...is designed for a Japanese style lunch consisting of rice, soup, a small main dish, and pickles.

If this was designed for an "American Lunch" you'd have a spot for a sandwich, fruit, baby carrots...you know the drill.

So if you're buying this to pack a Western style lunch...well...not sure why you're interested in a Mr. Bento. You'll be challenged.

Japanese-style lunches are meant to be served just a little warmer than room temperature. This is not a THERMOS...it's a thermal jar.

That said...if you're looking to add variety to your lunch...or are "packing for snacking" or packing last night's leftovers...this is a great lunch jar. Often...I put a hot grain dish or rice pilaf in the "rice" jar...soup in the soup container...and fill the other two containers with fruit or veggies...or some grilled chicken or beef chunks. It ends up being the perfect amount of food.

This version...sold in the US with English packaging...contains a spork. It's handy...but you can also fit a pair of (your own) chopsticks in the inside loop. The outside pocket is handy for napkins and condiments.

There's a flickr group dedicated to packing Mr. Bento lunchboxes. The folks on there are really creative. And any of the Bento Cookbooks can help you get started with packing an Asian-style lunch. (A Zojirushi rice cooker with a timer that you can set the night before...also a wonderful luxury.)

The best thing about it...is having a hot, multi-course...nutritious lunch in the middle of winter. Mmmm...

The jars say that they're not dishwasher safe...but I've been washing mine on the top rack without any problem. (Except for the lid for the rice section, which has a styrofoam core. That one I hand-wash.)

If you really want to keep something "HOT" in the Mr. Bento...you can pre-heat the outer container by filling it with near-boiling water and letting it pre-heat.

If you do kill one of your containers...I've seen replacement sets available from Zojirushi.

Like any plasticware...if you store an acidic food in them for two long...it's going to stain the container. Tomato sauce...pickled beets...etc.
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on July 22, 2013
Okay, people. Seems like there has been a lot of folks giving this a low rating because they didn't know "exactly" what they were getting when they bought the Mr. Bento. Not the product's fault because someone misread or didn't read the description or even the instructions on how to use it properly. So maybe this can help clarify as to what the Mr. Bento can and cannot do before someone buys it.

The bowls are all BPA free plastic. Only the outside of the jar is stainless steel. The description is a bit misleading. I don't believe any of the Zojirushi lunch jars have stainless steel lunch bowls. Wouldn't be microwavable if they were.

The containers are NOT leakproof with the exception of the soup container and the lids cannot go into the microwave. These were the reasons why I only gave it a 4-star rating. It would be nice if Zoji could come up with a model that does have all leakproof bowls. We can work around the no lid in the microwave aspect.

I've tested all 4 bowls and although the soup container is leakproof, wouldn't recommend letting it roll around loose or play catch with it (just to be on the safe side). Granted I wouldn't do that with any of my other leakproof containers either.

This is either a hot or cold container. That means you can either keep a hot meal warm or a cold meal cold. Not both together. Some common sense here folks. Put a hot item next to a cold item in an insulated container will not keep each item hot or cold. The review that said it allows for two temperatures in the same container is technically true but he doesn't say that it will keep them the same temperature as when they went in. Sorry, there is just no way around the physics. So if you want a hot AND cold meal but no way of heating up the container(s), this will not work for you. There are other ways to do this, one suggestion I've added at the end of this review.

My husband's lunches usually contain some part that needs to be heated up. So I use Mr. Bento mainly as a cold jar. Works great because I no longer have to put an ice pack in his lunch bag to keep his lunch cold. What I do is put together his lunch the night before. Put all the containers into the jar and everything goes into the fridge. In the morning, pull it out, into the bag and off he goes! Fruit salad and side salad stay cold and he just heats up the main dish and/or soup.

Lunches vary. Small side container has some kind of small side, pickles, veggie salad stuff. This is a very small container, holds only 7 oz. That's just less than a cup.

Large side container is not a whole lot bigger than the small side, just a bit more than a cup. Holds usually a fruit salad. Won't hold a lot of whole larger type of fruit, such as strawberries or large grapes. I just cut the larger pieces to fit more in.

The main bowl (NOT LEAKPROOF!) contains some kind of protein, sometimes steamed white rice, depending on the meal. This is the largest container of the four and holds 15 oz, just shy of 2 cups. Don't expect this to hold a steak and be used with a steak knife and fork. Not how it was meant to be used. Nor is it meant to fit a whole sandwich in it. It's a Mr. Bento, not a Mr. Sandwich container.

The soup bowl (leakproof) doesn't always get used but I've put rice porridge and an additional salad or more rice if I need to use the main bowl for the protein. This holds 9 oz, just a bit over a cup.

Here are the capacities of the containers for reference listed in the order they come out of the jar (top-down):

Small Side Bowl 7 oz
Large Side Bowl 10 oz.
Main Bowl 15 oz
Soup Bowl 9 oz.

Yes, this is not for anyone who need larger meals. Zorijushi does have bento jars with larger bowls. The Classic Bento has a main bowl that holds 20 oz, and a side bowl that holds 14 oz, with the same size soup bowl. If you need an even larger main bowl, the Classic Stainless Lunch Jar will hold up to 27 oz. almost 3.5 cups.

For someone who want both hot and cold items together, one suggestion is using Zoji's single food jar for hot, which holds a good 25 oz. Then use one of the smaller bentos (like Ms. Bento) for the cold items. Yes, more containers to lug around but you might be able to fit both jars in a larger insulated bag.

Check out Zojirushi's website for more details on all their lunch jars. You can even do a compare on the different models. That's what I did before buying this model.
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on November 9, 2015
It keeps food hot for over 4 hours, but I had to buy a different thermos for my preschooler since her teacher had a terrible time opening the bowls. Once the bowls are hot, it is hard for the old old teacher's hands to twist the lids. The teacher also didn't want to bother to learn the order the bowls are placed in the jar, so she broke the jar putting the largest bowl first and then banging the jar on the table to get the other ones in. I was dissapointed with the whole thing specially that I got two of these jars and would send the manual to school with them. I gave three stars due to the opening issue that a child and an old old person will have in opening those bowls. Anyone else will be pleased in getting the jars.
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on March 6, 2014
This is perfect for my daily breakfast/lunch/snack meals at work given how it keeps everything compact and put-together. My mine beef is with the largest container, which is meant to keep hot food hot or cold food cold with a top secured by a channel and lock type fit. The top is extremely tight, not that it keeps liquids from spilling out (definitely is not spill-resistant), but screwing the top on or off is nearly impossible, given the slippery side of the container and not much surface area for your fingers to find purchase on the lid. I've resorted to simply pressing the cap down but not trying to screw it closed for fear of never being able to open it again.

Otherwise, fairly happy with the lunch jar. I've microwaved the bottom two containers with no issue, and they clean easily as well.
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on April 7, 2017
This bento box does exactly what it says. I have packed lunch at 6 in the morning and by 2pm, is still warm.
I can't complain. I only wish this came with more utensils. It comes with a "spork". But I usually add a pair a chopticks. It has the room, so adding it to the bag is not an issue.
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on May 11, 2016
I made boxed mac n cheese and filled 3 of the bowls with piping hot macaroni. In the very bottom bowl I put two cold hot dogs. I put this in the fridge and then went to bed. The next day during lunch break the macaroni was still barely warm and the hot dogs were like partially heated. Did not expect that, lol. I thought the fridge would cold soak the jar overnight.

Gonna use this thing all summer. Indian food anyone?

Only downside is that the bowls are plastic. So they are not dishwasher safe and stain easily. Anything tomato based foods will stain the bowls permanently. One tip I read was to use food plastic wraps to line the bowls to prevent this. I also heard that you can rub the container down with a little butter before adding tomato based food, which will help prevent lycopene from diffusing the plastic. They should really design bowls that are glass.
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on July 7, 2016
I got used to having hot lunches out of the great, subsidized cafeteria at my previous workplace and didn't have to give a thought to packing a lunch. Lucky, I know. When NewJob kicked in, I wanted to remain spoiled by that hot lunch experience and my research led me to Mr. Bento. I've been using it for several weeks and have only come to love it more. I'll fill the two top bowls with lettuce greens and fruit the night before and refrigerate, and in the morning, will usually use a stove-top pot to poach fish in broth in the bottom of the pot, with broccoli or similar in a stainless steel steamer set on top of that. It cooks while I'm having breakfast. During the cooking time, I'll fill the two bottom containers with hot tap water, so that when the meal has cooked, it transfers into a heated bowl before going into the steel vacuum container. A piece of flatbread or pita in a plastic bag go into the drawstring bag's outer pocket, along with a couple of calcium candies and a little pillbox with vitamins. And a toothpick to release heat pressure on the soup container if it proves difficult to open. Packing the food like this at 8:30AM or so, it's still decently hot in the early afternoon.

Washing everything at night is a little bit of a pain, but that's just paying the piper for a decent meal. So far, I haven't had any trouble with odor retention or staining. I've even left the washing up for a day or two at weekends, and still no problem. Your mileage may vary depending on olfactory sensitivity.

I love the clever design of this, and the bright, happy red color. It was worth the extra couple of bucks for the spiffing color. And for some reason, I am obsessed with the included, covered spork. It's good and solid, and I love that this germphobe can lay the cover down on a table and the eating utensil is protected from whatever bugs are hanging around on the table surface.

Some reviewers have remarked that the item is heavy, but I haven't found that to be the case for me, even when it's fully loaded. I also at first thought it might not be enough food for my ginormous appetite, but it carries plenty of food, and I can always supplement with an additional container of vegetables or whatever, but often enough don't need to use it. I also like that the separate bowls let me graze all day if I want to.

The only thing that would be better than Mr. Bento is a personal chef to cook the meals and someone else to take care of the washing up. Besides that, I don't see a decent, hot lunch being any easier than this.
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