Onigiri taste test: Which convenience store will win?
Walk into any convenience store in Japan and you’ll see the staples: magazines, drinks, snacks, and the ubiquitous onigiri. And when it comes to onigiri, the world-famous rice ball wrapped in seaweed, one of the hands-down most popular is the salmon variety, with salty, sweet, succulent flakes of orange salmon at its center.
So which convenience store sells the best salmon onigiri? We decided to conduct a taste test in our offices to declare a winner, pitting the top three – 7-Eleven, Lawson and Family Mart – against each other in a battle befitting the rice ball’s feudal origins. With a set of scales, the slice of a knife and a merchant tester, we begin.
1. Lawson (Temaki series salmon onigiri)
Weighing in at 102 grams, and using domestically-produced rice, the salmon inside this one was, out of the three, the most compact and solid. All, in all, the portion of rice and salmon was nothing to complain about and for 129 yen, the taste was good.
2. Family Mart (Aijou Musubi Series salmon onigiri)
Using fatty red salmon pickled in salt, and carefully grilled to lock in the flavour, you’d think this one would rise above its Lawson counterpart in terms of taste. However, there was no great difference. Weighing 103 grams and priced at 129 yen, there was no real change in weight or price either.
3. 7-Eleven (7-Eleven salmon onigiri)
At 136 yen, this onigiri was a little pricier than the other two. But what we found was that the portion of grilled salmon inside was just perfect and the texture of the entire onigiri was outstanding. Just from looking at the photos below, you can see how the plumpness of the onigiri is different to the others. Each bite had a plump fullness to it which made it extremely delicious.
For a quick meal in the 100-something yen category, you can’t go wrong with any of these. But the 7-Eleven onigiri was definitely more delicious than the others. We declared it the winner.
7-Eleven does have 100 yen onigiri sales from time to time so if you grab one of their salmon onigiri at those times, you’ll definitely be picking up a great bargain. While we think it’s the stand-out winner, the only real way to find out if it’s the onigiri for you, will be to taste it for yourself.
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