Foodies on the West Coast are talking about tiffin lunches, the next wave in healthy yet quick dining.
Granville Island’s Curry 2 U sells roughly 1,250 tiffin boxes – stackable, cylindrical aluminum lunch boxes that have been the mainstay of hot lunch delivery in India for over a century – each week, while Indian restaurants in Vancouver are also seeing growing demand for the quick, lighter meals. Driven in part by the current love for all things Indian, tiffin boxes also satisfy the need for convenience, snacking and “greener” living, in that the boxes are reusable. Many restaurateurs are also offering repeat customers discounts for refilling their washed tiffin box.
The original tiffin boxes were developed in 19th-century colonial India, with the word “tiffing” meaning “to eat between meals” in old English. Also called dabbas, the boxes feature hot and cold insulated compartments to separate different foods.