The coronavirus has gotten us in the groove of a new reality we weren’t quite familiar with. Remembering to wear a mask before heading out, standing a metre away from others in public, washing our hands immediately after we get home are all new practices we’ve never had to do. We’re also encouraged bring reusable containers out when you takeaway your food.
While the primary reason is the surging demand for disposable food containers, there’s also the idea of hygiene and sustainability. It’s more reassuring to know you’ve washed it well, and it helps you reduce your plastic footprint.
If you’ve been the representative to ‘da bao’ food for your household, you’re in luck, because we’ve amassed the best containers to use, from insulated options to keep your food warm (or cold), to layered tingkat-style ones and bento boxes.
Cath Kidston Magical Memories Bamboo Lunch Box
This handy and sweet looking lunch box from Cath Kidston can fulfill your takeaway needs for now, and once circuit breaker is over, feel free to fit it in your work bag so you can whip it out during lunch time. Besides reducing your use of single-use plastic, you’d be glad to know that this container is plastic-free too, and is made of food-safe, sustainable and biodegradable bamboo. The cute little band also keeps everything secure, so no spills.
At $23, available at Cath Kidston.
Sistema Bento Lunch Box
This bento box’s compartments include a 150 ml yoghurt pot. Of course, you don’t have to use it for yoghurt, but we do see so many possibilities like chilli, cheese, and other wet foods. There’s also a range of vibrant colours for you to choose from, namely green, blue, pink and purple, so everybody in your family can have their own dedicated lunch box to use and take care of (to make things easier for you). While it won’t keep food warm for hours, it’s conveniently microwave-friendly (without the lid), so you don’t have to transfer the food onto a plate.
At $15.92 (UP $19.90), available at Robinsons online store.
IKEA 365+ Lunch Box
Prefer to keep your food separate? Go for a bento box with its own compartments instead, so the flavours of your food don’t mix. The IKEA 365+ Lunch Box comes with a set of inserts so you can order your favourite wet and dry dishes in cai png or nasi padang. Simply remove when you think you don’t need them, or when you’re too busy for a wash and would like a fresh use of a container. It’s also leak-proof, snap-and-lock and safe for microwave.
At $7.90, available on Ikea’s online store.
Haers stainless steel vacuum insulated food container 1L
This reusable food jar also allows you to seal your fresh takeaways in a vacuum to better retain heat (or cold). Its outer and inner shells are made of food grade 18/8 stainless steel, and the double wall insulation means you don’t have to worry about getting scalded when holding it. Also available in gold, silver and black. At $41.90, available at Fairprice.
Joyxeon stackable lunch box
This set of double-walled food containers claims to keep food warm for two to three hours, and cold for four to five hours. It even comes with a insulated bag to extend the effect! You can choose to stack two or three layers, depending on how much food you’re buying, and it means you can buy different types of food, or keep soup and gravy separate.
At $47.45, available on Amazon Singapore.
Idle Hippo insulated lunch bag
For a less conspicuous option, opt for a fashionable and lightweight lunch bag that’s leakproof and insulated, like this one from Idle Hippo. Its interior is made with BPA-free aluminium foil and thick foam built into the insulation to keep your food fresh for hours, while the fabric exterior is durable and easy to clean. According to a reviewer who bought this item, its cavernous body fits three medium-sized Tupperware containers, one smaller one, as well as yoghurt (in a yoghurt compartment, no less!), and she still had room left for snacks. It also has a large front pocket to keep your essentials like your car keys, cards and your phone.
At $21.40, available on Amazon Singapore.
Zebra stainless steel 3 tingkat food carrier
Here it is, the real tingkat-style food carrier. Humble and old-school they may look, this stack of containers are expected to be highly durable thanks to their components of stainless steel and aluminium. This also means excellent heat transmission, so your food will naturally be kept warm for a while.
At $39, available on Tott Store on Shopee.
Zojirushi stainless steel food jar 0.75 L
You can probably find Zojirushi flasks in most department stores in Singapore, but did you know they sell food jars too? Like their flasks, they’re good at retaining the cold and the heat for up to six hours, and come in some pretty chic colours and designs. If you can’t go without a soup for dinner, this one’s for you, because it’s exactly what the wide container mouth is for. The same applies to porridges and desserts!
It’s also worth noting that the lid is a screw-on with a gasket seal, so you don’t have to worry about leakage. There’s even finger indentations so those with slippery hands can twist it with ease. Do note that the capacity runs on the smaller side, compared to the previous two.
At $66 (UP $88), available on Robinsons online store.
La Gourmet Millennium Collection 3-tier lunch box 2.4L
The La Gourmet Millennium Collection is available in a variety of enticing colours and capacities, and a different number of layers. The biggest one at 2.4 litres and three tiers is a stack of red to orange hues with a convenient handle, much alike the tingkat we all know. Perhaps it’s the fact that it has air holes to release pressure is what sets it apart from all the other containers, along with its silicone sealing ring and trusty lock system to prevent leakage. Freshness guaranteed!
The best part? The tiers don’t always have to be placed in order or used together, so if you’re buying for one you don’t have to lug around an extra container.
At $49.90 (UP $69.90), available on Lazada.
Thermos TCRA-3000 GL Shuttle Chef thermal cooker 3L
The pain of getting a takeaway meal is that you have to eat it as soon as possible before it goes cold and soggy. This is not always easy if you’re buying for your family unless everyone’s mealtimes have synced. Save the hassle of reheating your food with the Thermos TCRA-3000 GL Shuttle Chef Thermal Cooker, which allows you to takeaway wet foods such as braised duck rice, hokkien mee or even your favourite local desserts like cheng tng without a problem. Its insulated technology will keep food hot/cold up to six hours so you can cut back on your electricity too! Its large capacity allows for soups for four, or braised dishes or rice to feed up to five family members.
Originally published in Singapore Women’s Weekly.