Food & Drink | KONBINI WATCH

With convenience store onigiri, the devil's in the seasoning

by Patrick St. Michel

Contributing Writer

The humble onigiri rice ball doesn’t have a huge amount to say for itself. It’s sustenance, a step up from Calorie Mate but a snack all the same. This hasn’t stopped convenience stores from trying to turn the rice triangle into something more, and a few recent examples really shine.

FamilyMart has taken a seemingly obvious step to upping its game. Its latest creation features a thick piece of bacon wrapped around the rice. That’s the eye-grabbing part of it (¥158 after tax), but don’t sleep on the flavor beneath the meat: This onigiri features a great mix of soy sauce and pepper, adding a nice spice to each bite.


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Lawson, meanwhile, is tempting customers with its “devil’s onigiri.” This just-released item comes in two flavors. The first features bonito flakes and fried tempura batter (¥110 after tax). But the showstopper is a Sichuan-inspired onigiri loaded up with spices (¥140 after tax) that delivers a nice heat you wouldn’t expect from such a simple snack.

In line with the nationwide state of emergency declared on April 16, the government is strongly requesting that residents stay at home whenever possible and refrain from visiting bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.
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