Tiffin carrier

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A dabba, or Indian-style tiffin box.

Tiffin carriers or dabbas are a kind of lunch box used widely in India for tiffin meals. They are also widely used in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. They are known as rantang in Indonesian and mangkut tingkat (leveled bowls) in Malay.[1] and in Turkey and West Asian and Northeast African Arab countries they are called Safartas Arabic سفرطاس meaning travel bowls.

Normally they come in two to three tiers, while the most elaborate ones usually come in four tiers. The most bottom tier is usually used for rice, since that in some tiffin carriers, it is usually the biggest one. Tiffin carriers are opened by unlocking a small catch on either side of the handle.

In the Indian city of Mumbai, there is a complex and efficient delivery system that regularly delivers hot lunches packed in dabbas to city office workers from their suburban homes or from a caterer. It utilizes delivery workers that were given only basic knowledge ("Railway Stations", "Buildings", and "Rooms") in a monthly basis, known as dabbawalas.


Tiffin carriers are generally made out of steel and sometimes of aluminium, but enamel versions have been made by European companies. They can keep food warm for at least two or three hours.

See also[edit]