Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tiffin Carriers / Tingkat / Dabbas

Tiffin carriers, which also can be called tingkat or dabbas are a kind of lunch box or tiered containers to carry food. Tingkat were widely used in Pakistan and India, and their use was popularized in Penang, Malacca and Singapore by the British during the colonial rule around 1950s-60s.

Normally, tiffin carriers would come in two to four tiers. They can be opened by unlocking a small catch on either side of the handle, or by unlatching the latch at the handle area (depending on the design), then removing it.

Tiffin carriers would sometimes be brought to work by the men, filled with food for lunch.

During the Qingming Festival (清明节), where families remember their ancestors at the grave sites, food for the ancestors would be brought too by using tiffin carriers.

As for the Peranakan families, tiffin carriers were used to distribute food to the immediate family after the ancestral worship ceremony (During the ancestral worship ceremony, the favourite food of the ancestors would be laid out on the altar).

Pictures below are the ten tiffin carriers from my collection.

Tiffin Carrier 1

Tiffin Carrier 2

Tiffin Carrier 3

Tiffin Carrier 4

Tiffin Carrier 5

Tiffin Carrier 6

Tiffin Carrier 7

Tiffin Carrier 8

Tiffin Carrier 9

Tiffin Carrier 10

Tiffin Carrier 10
From Hedavkar Company, Mumbai, India.


  1. I love your tiffins! My grandmother was Peranakan / Nyonya. My father grew up with these things all over the house. I have a couple of my own which I use occasionally, when I have to transport lunch anywhere. Extremely handy and tough!

  2. Replies
    1. It will be based on luck. You can find it at the antique shops or flea markets. But to get a perfect condition tiffin, hmmmmm....