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Posted on Feb 10, 2009 | 2 comments

Daiso online store & Valentine bento contest

Daiso online store & Valentine bento contest

1. Daiso Launches Wholesaler Discount Program

Japanese discount store Daiso has launched a new discount program for wholesalers, resellers, and bulk orders. They’ve put their inventory up on on a new online store with bulk pricing; evidently if you are accepted into their discount program and login to your account, the prices will reflect the discount. I’d be curious as to how deep the discount is, as the prices they have up now are definitely higher than the US$1.50 per item I’m used to seeing in stores. (Shipping within the continental U.S. only.)

This move makes Daiso more competitive with smaller discount store Ichiban Kan, which already has an online store in the U.S. (correction: no wholesale program). Both companies have a good selection of cheap bento gear and household items, and Ichiban Kan recently announced that it will soon be expanding its shipping areas to include Alaska, Hawaii, and a “few selected countries” internationally. It’s interesting that Daiso’s online store only handles bulk orders, though; I suppose it’s more profitable to only deal in larger quantities.  My hope is that retailers and resellers in the U.S. will take advantage of this opportunity to stock cheap bento gear, making it more widely available. (DISCLAIMER: I’m not affiliated with either store.)

2. Bento of the Month Contest: My Valentine

Congratulations go to bentolunches, the winner of the first Bento of the Month contest on the Lunch in a Box Forum.  Readers voted hers the best representative of the “Speed” theme, and she will receive a copy of the cookbook Authentic Japanese Cuisine for Beginners courtesy of the Not Exactly Bento blog. Thanks to everyone who took the time to post your speedy bento lunches; it was interesting to read through all the entries and see your speed packing techniques.

Speedy onigiri lunch for toddlerThe theme of this month’s contest is “My Valentine”, so make your Valentine-themed packed lunch, post a photo and any details to the February contest thread on the Lunch in a Box forum by Monday, February 23, 2009. Moderator QChan will compile all of the entries into a poll, and forum members can vote for their favorite.

The winner will receive the new green “Putifresh” bento set shown below, compliments of forum member Lethargic. The set includes a two-tier bento box, matching bento belt, matching insulated carrying bag, and matching chopsticks with case. Thanks Lethargic! (Donations of bento-related prizes and shipping to future winners are welcome; just e-mail me at lunchinabox [AT} gmail {DOT] com). (Read on for contest details and a photo of the February contest prize.)

Bento prize for Valentine's Day bento contestAn explanation with how long it took you to make and what’s in the meal would be helpful, and if you blog about your entry feel free to include a link back to your full entry. We’re pretty container-agnostic, so it’s not limited to lunches packed in bento boxes alone. Feel free to submit lunches packed in thermal lunch jars (like the Mr. Bento), Laptop Lunchboxes, etc.

There’s also a special section on the forum for posts about contests, giveaways, and other events held by other blogs or websites. If you want to try for free stuff, be sure to check this section out. If you have a related event that would be of interest to readers, feel free to post it there.

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  1. So, I was making yaki onigiri for the first time as per your directions, and they fell apart in the pan after I tried brushing them and flipping them. Any ideas as to what did I do wrong? I didn’t wash the rice because I was nervous and wanted it to be sticky enough, but…

  2. @1 from Liz: Hmm, did you grill them first on both sides before brushing them with soy sauce? The first round of grilling is to crisp up the outside and give it enough firmness to stand up to the moisture of the soy sauce.