Discover Your New Love for Onigiri in Japan.
While Japan has an incredible number of restaurants with Michelin stars, it is the everyday foods, like onigiri, that can leave you with the fondest memories of the country.
Convenience Store Culture
Japanese convenience stores, locally known as conbini, can be found on practically every street and train station throughout the country. The biggest brands are 7-Eleven, Lawson, and Family Mart.
Convenience stores in Japan truly provide convenience. You can find all the necessary items, like painkillers, socks, tissue paper, snacks, water, wine, beer, sake, and even decent quality meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In fact, if you want a hot meal, there are microwaves to heat up your purchases.
What is an Onigiri?
Also known as omusubi, onigiri are rice balls typically shaped in a triangle with a savory filling and wrapped in seaweed.
Fillings can include tuna mayo, salmon flakes, salmon roe, braised pork belly, braised beef, egg, pickled plum, and so many more. The wrappers have photos to identify the filling as well as English printed on the bottom.
Millions are sold every day. Yes, millions.
Locals stop by the convenience stores at all hours of the day for these rice balls which are a quick, filling and satisfyingly delicious snack. Plus, with a price range of 100 yen to 250 yen, this can perhaps be the ultimate and cheapest fast food for rice fans.
How to Unwrap the Onigiri Packaging
Opt for the packaging in which the seaweed is separated from the rice. If you buy an onigiri with the seaweed already on the rice ball, it will be soft to bite. Biting that crisp seaweed against the soft rice is part of the enjoyable experience.
You can tell the seaweed is in a separated wrapper when there is the “1-2-3” written on the 3 corners of the onigiri package.
Those numbers indicate the 3-steps to unwrap and release the seaweed on to the rice ball. Step 1 opens the wrapper straight down the middle. Steps 2 & 3 take the wrappers out from the sides and places the seaweed onto the rice. Now, you are ready to eat!
Watch the video clip below for exactly how to open the onigiri wrapper
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