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Posted on Mar 18, 2007 | 21 comments

Sandwich lunch and collapsible sandwich cases

Sandwich lunch and collapsible sandwich cases

Morning prep time: 5 minutes per lunch (15 minutes total). On Saturday all three of us went out for the day and brought sandwiches packed in collapsible sandwich cases and a little bento box for my son. I previously wrote about collapsible sandwich cases here, and recently picked up a smaller one at a local Japanese dollar store for $1 (Sanrio stores sell them as well). Both hold one full-size sandwich, cut in half or thirds. Sandwiches are actually a popular item to pack in children’s bentos in Japan — Japanese kids’ bento cookbooks show a surprising number of them.

Lunch prep was sped up by using store-bought fresh chicken salad from CostCo; it’s with lettuce and Jarlsberg cheese on toasted whole wheat bread. We also had little tomatoes, cucumber and bell pepper sticks with low-fat ranch dressing in little containers for dipping.

Sandwich lunch in sandwich case

The top of the sandwich case:

Sandwich case: top view

My husband’s lunch went into the larger sandwich case; the deeper case is able to accommodate a sandwich cut in half, more vegetables, a whole tangerine and a cheese triangle. I like that this Sanrio case has a movable divider that the $1 case above does not — it stabilizes the lunch for transport nicely. I put elastic bands around both boxes to be sure the lids didn’t come off, and stacked them inside of a deep carrying bag. After we ate, I was able to fold the sandwich cases flat and put the sauce containers into Bug’s empty bento box.

Sandwich lunch in sandwich case

Sandwich lunch for toddler

Bug’s lunch of half a sandwich and veggies went into the bottom layer of a 600ml two-tier box. He really likes finger food and dipping things, so this was a big hit with him (“more sandwich?”) and he practically inhales those cheese cubes. Not shown: a tiny pick to hold the little tomatoes for dipping — otherwise they fall into the dressing and frustrate Bug.

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  1. Wow! those sandwhich cases are adorable!
    I wish I had one now.

  2. Thanks! It occurred to me that this wound up being a waste-free lunch — when I was little I brought sandwiches to school all the time, but wrapped in waxed paper and shoved into a paper bag. Thatsa lotta waste. :-(

  3. Beautiful and so cute!

    How did you cut your sandwich into thirds? Is there a special way?

  4. No special way — I just eyeballed it and cut. You could always trim a bit from one of the thirds if your eyeballing is off…

  5. That looks delicious! Tabetai! I notice the sandwich holder has vents–it makes me think the bread would go stale, but then, I know it’s probably very well designed and I’m so old school.
    I was so happy to find a 350ml bento box for my daughter today. Now I have an even better idea of how much portions to serve her.–julie

  6. I had the exact same thought when I got mine too — read my earlier review here. Hooray for finding a 350ml box for your daughter! Tanoshiku taberu you ni…

  7. hi
    such a yummy lunch box!!!!
    and that too on my birthday i would have loved to eat it on that day..
    you are lucky to find ready made items in stores , we dont get such things in india .
    chicken salad is one of my favorites , is it made with mayo and cheese with pepper and salt.
    thanks for this wonderful post
    bye shama

  8. Thank you! But in India you have many other delicious treats — I once had some amazing coconut cilantro chutney in Goa that I still remember to this day. The restaurant owner took me into the kitchen and showed me their industrial-sized motorized mortar and pestle — simply amazing.

  9. wow, I had a collapsible sandwich case from Nakayoshi once. But my mum took it. XDDD I didn’t use it anyway.

  10. I tend to reach for it when all three of us are running out the door and I have like zero time — slap together sandwiches and go. That, or for the plane.

  11. Where did you get your little cups (like the blue bear, etc)?

  12. @11 from Kate: Hmm, I’ve had those for a while, so I either picked them up at Ichiban Kan in SF Japantown (3 for US$1) or through my one eBay order last year (Tokyo Gift).

  13. I just bought the pink Feel at Ease sandwich case! I haven’t tried using it yet, but I’m feeling totally inspired seeing your post so perhaps I’ll try tomorrow :o)

  14. @13 from suebee: Go for it! One of my friends actually lines her sandwich cases with colorful plastic wrap so that she can keep everything tidy (and pack gooey/messy sandwich fillings). Nice thing to keep in mind — widens the variety of foods you can pack!

  15. Hi! Wondering whether you think that a sandwich from this type of collapsible case tastes any different than packing a sandwich in a sandwich bag or foil, etc. Also, would it be possible to get the general dimensions of the larger cases versus the smaller ones for a child? I see them sold online, but am not sure how they compare in size. Thanks so much for all of your helpful hints!! My daughter is definitely getting more interesting meals at school thanks to your influence! ;o) -e.

  16. Thanks in advance for the measurements, Biggie. By “different”, I wondered whether the vented sides help keep the bread from getting soggy. Out here in AZ, I might have the reverse problem… food tends to dry out quickly when exposed to air.

  17. Hey I live in Utah, and are obviously not Japanese, (note name) but would love to get some of those sandwich boxes! And on the internet, all I seem to come across are bland ones, with no dividers! Can you help me?

  18. sorry and am obviously not japanese. I’m a grammar fanatic. I suppose.

  19. this is probably a silly question but how do you keep the sandwich from drying out in the case since it has open holes on it for air to enter?

  20. @20 from Katy: I think the dryness issue is variable depending on the humidity where you live. It’s not that much of a problem here in San Francisco, but I’ve heard from readers in dry Arizona where it is an issue. You might consider lining the ventilated sandwich case either with an edible liner (like a leaf of lettuce, etc.), something that’ll do double duty (like a paper or cloth napkin), or just a plain piece of wax paper or plastic wrap. I also like to pop the whole thing into a cloth lunch bag to contain crumbs that leak out.

  21. Hi,

    Can you tell me where you got those cheese cubes? They look like The Laughing Cow but I didn’t see them on their site! So cute!!