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How do you improve a classic? By literally spicing it up, of course.

FamilyMart’s Famichiki might be the definitive Japanese konbini (convenience store) snack, a boneless piece of fried chicken known for its addictive crunch and juiciness. The chain has occasionally rolled out limited-edition variants on the hot treat, and for winter 2021 it has introduced a mala-spiced snack. This Sichuan-inspired take blends gochujang together with Sichuan peppercorn and chili pepper to give each piece (¥198 after tax) a reddish exterior.

Maybe it’s the neon-bright outside or the winter weather, but this Famichiki varietal more than delivers, with a nice peppery kick that offers a lingering tingle without being too strong. It’s a case study in not messing up what works — building off the essential components with a welcome, spicy addition.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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