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OMBF / Obiwan Bento 3:59am, 4 December 2006
Well, I went there today and I was disappointed: the bento selection was small and unattractive - one plain black two-tier oval, sturdy but small, and two PutiFresh, a design I'm not into at all. I didn't even look at the prices.

I did pick up a few accessories and some foodstuffs for cheap. I'll post a photo tomorrow or the next day.

Has anyone been to Ichiban Kan in San Francisco? How is their bento selection, generally?
KJF916 15 years ago
Better than East Bay. East Bay at least has the brightly colored two tiers (red, blue, mustard yellow), each time I've been there, for $2.00. Must have been out of those? Great for accessories though, as you pointed out. The SF store has more variety and sizes when I've been there, but the nature of the store is that the inventory rotates quite a bit.
OMBF / Obiwan Bento 15 years ago
No, the only two-tier I saw was a plain black one scarcely larger than the Hakoya goldfish bento we've been buzzing about. Even the accessories were slim pickin's, but I really should have bought a ginger grater :)

I'd love to have the red "Alien Head" Lube Sheep/Urara box.

Say, you're a local gal? How'bout we meet up for a bento supply run - not now, I need a break, but next spring? I'll buy lunch.
KJF916 Posted 15 years ago. Edited by KJF916 (member) 15 years ago
I have the red Alien Head! And it was today's lunch! laughing!

I'm in Sacramento but I come down to the Bay Area very frequently (weekly), and I work alot in San Francisco (twice monthly). It's an unpredictable schedule as to which days, but I'd love to coordinate a run, especially to the "big show" at Japantown, this Spring.

Lunch, supplies, dim sum, oh boy!
OMBF / Obiwan Bento 15 years ago
Excellent! How unpredictable does it get? I could do this if I had a few day's notice. A week or more would be even better.
KJF916 15 years ago
I know a week or more ahead, so very cool, I'll look forward to it! We need to plan it around payday. :)
Biggie* Posted 15 years ago. Edited by Biggie* (member) 15 years ago
Count me (and my toddler) in on a weekday. I'll show you all of my Japantown bento haunts! Ichibankan SF has an okay cheapo bento selection, but you get the most out of it if you go regularly (as they change out stock and get new shipments in). But if you're there anyway, be sure to stop by the toy/collectible store next to the Sanrio store off of Peace Plaza for Anpanman/Thomas/Pokemon/Hakoya/etc. bento stuff, and the ceramics store on the same floor for Hakoya boxes in the back.
KJF916 15 years ago
Yay! Lamascus knows ALL the haunts. There is restaurant supply store near there, also, isn't there? Be our guide, Obi Wan.
OMBF / Obiwan Bento Posted 15 years ago. Edited by OMBF / Obiwan Bento (member) 15 years ago
Oooo, Hakoya.

My birthday is February 9, which falls on a Friday next year. I'm flexible, but it would be nifty if that date worked for us.

My daughter is an artist and anime connoisseur, so she might just tag along.
Biggie* 15 years ago
KateFord> The restaurant supply store (Kamei) is actually on Clement St. around 8th, so it's not in Japantown or walkable from there. It's only a short drive away, though, so it's worth a trip when you're in the city. Recently they have mostly cheap Chinese boxes instead of the nicer Asvel boxes, but it's such a trip to go there and dig around (that's where I found the Lock & Lock bento set for less than $10). Like a smaller Economy Restaurant Fixtures, but all Asian.
KJF916 15 years ago
I say we plan a Bento Shopping Jaunt on Feb 9 and then all retire to a Dim Sum or Japanese restaurant so we have leftovers for bento packing.

And just plain ole "Kate" is fine!
Biggie* 15 years ago
I'm free Feb. 9 too -- let's hook up via Flikr Mail closer to the date and nail down details. BTW, I popped into Ichiban Kan in Japantown today and their bento selection is pretty awful right now. The store to the right of the Sanrio store in the mall also has Miffy bento gear right now, though (in addition to Thomas and Anpanman stuff). Matching kinchaku, utensil sets, cups, chopsticks/cases, oshibori w/case, napkins, etc. *Horribly* overpriced, but nice to know it's there anyway.
luigiwu 15 years ago
Hi guys! I''m a newbie to all this bento craze and I'm having a friend in SF check out Ichiban Kan this weekend for Bentos.

Lamascus, can you describe (if you remember) the different boxes at Ichiban Kan right now? Maybe I can save her a trip if nothing is what I want. I"m looking for the plain black or red oval bentos (2 tiers) and the red alien/bunny or blue dragonfly Lube Sheep bentos (2 tiers.) Do you remember if you saw these at least?
Lastly, does Ichiban Kan carry Egg molds? I want them sooo bad but it looks like it would have to be ordered from Ebay!

KateFord, did you get your red alien/bunny bento from Ichiban Kan? Does the lid for the top tier have 'prongs' on top indicating where a fork should slide in?

Generally how do these red/blue Lube Sheep bentos compare to bento boxes made by Hakoya?

Thanks guys! :-)
Biggie* 15 years ago
Actually, the Japantown Ichiban Kan store didn't have any of those out yesterday -- I thought I'd ask them why next week if they don't put their bento box inventory back out. These are all *much* lower quality than the Hakoya boxes, though
luigiwu Posted 15 years ago. Edited by luigiwu (member) 15 years ago
Lamascus, awww, really? Thanks for letting me know. When you say *much* lower quality are you saying that the plastic is quite flimsy compared to the Hakoya ones? I guess this is what's hard about shopping online... hard to really be able to to tell quality. Can I ask where you got your egg molds?

So even the plain black oval bento is not comparable to Hayoka either? I was kind of lemming a plain red oval but I can't find it anywhere so I though maybe I'll be satisfied with a plain black... but if the quality isn't really there...
OMBF / Obiwan Bento 15 years ago
The plastic on the Lube Sheep and Femmio Valentino boxes is similar to, say, Tupperware Smidgets; fairly sturdy for its thickness. The one Hakoya box I own has thicker, sturdier but still lightweight plastic, similar to a nice "imitation glass" serving dish or pitcher such as you might find at a well-stocked drugstore.
KJF916 15 years ago
I think that fairly describes it, in terms of the plastic. It isn't terribly dense in that you can gently squeeze the sides and it has some "give" to it. That said, it suits my purposes fine, it seals nicely, the band is tight, and the pieces fit together cleanly. It's not high-end, but it's far from shoddy.

I have all the lube sheep alien head 2 tiers, which I got from Ichiban Kan at the El Cerritto locaton for $2 each. The bottom tier has a lid, the top tier has a lid, and that lid has notches for chopsticks (not forks), and then a master lid to cover that. The length of that top and inner lid is just enough to hold pocky sticks, in lieu of short chopsticks. Standard chopsticks are far too long. So I have to force myself to pack all manner of interesting pocky sticks, instead. :)
luigiwu 15 years ago
Thanks for all the info guys! *sigh* I was just in SF about a month ago. I wish I had know about all these places when I was there. Its strange, its actually really slim pickings for Bentos here in NY!

I think the Lube Sheep designs of having two lids, one for each tier, is one of my favorite things about this set (other than the great price!) It must be nice not to have to be so 'careful' in the handling and transportation of goodies to work. If anyone will be venturing by a stocked Ichiban Kan soon and don't mind picking up an extra set of the blue and red ones for me, let me know! :-) It sounds like its a good size too. Some of the ones on Ebay sound *tiny* !
OMBF / Obiwan Bento 15 years ago
Luigi, total capacity for both Lube Sheep/Urara and Femmio Valentino (the green cat set) is very slightly more than 3 cups. Valentino also has a lid for each tier. Just so you know :)
KJF916 15 years ago
Sure, be happy to pick some up for you, LuigiWu, next tme I drive through that way. I'll be driving through one East Bay location on Sunday, this weekend, and if I see the $2.00 boxes in stock, I'll buy a blue one and a red one for you and let you know afterward. They do each have their own lid, and OneMoreBentoFan points out they while they are petite, they do hold slightly more than 3 cups. The matching bands are extra, and are $1.00 each. They do not come with chopsticks, and the last time I was at the store, they only had the large sticks, and none of the small ones which which fit in this kit.
luigiwu 15 years ago
KateFord, you are a sweetie!! Thank you for offering! Do you have a Paypal acct too so I can pay you back easily?
I would also appreciate it if you could buy the matching belts, bags and whatever matching eating utensils (both the fork and esp. the smaller chopstick) if they have any of them. If not, the larger size chopstick will be fine too! Do they sell egg-molds there too?
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