Onigiri (rice balls) are a cheapo staple in Japan and are available at every convenience store and supermarket in the land. To the uninitiated, they look like some kind of exotically shaped sushi, but they differ from sushi in that the rice doesn’t contain vinegar. They aren’t just available at supermarkets and convenience stores either – there are also gourmet onigiri shops at which the staff will make the onigiri while you wait. The tradition of onigiri in Japan dates back to the Nara period about 1,500 years ago. You’ll also find the lovingly home-made variety in kids lunch boxes and in weekend picnic hampers.
I found the onigiri below at my local 7 Eleven and bought every flavor available so I could try the most varieties. I came across three different types of fish roe, canned tuna and salmon, anchovy and vegetarian fillings. The ratings are of course my own. If you have a favorite onigiri flavor, let us know about it in the comments.
Prices ranged from 105yen to 138yen.
|Sujiko Shoyu-ZukeSalted salmon roe with soy sauce|
Raw cod roe
Spicy mustard walleye pollack roe
Seaweed, dried anchovies and sesame seeds
Saurel with coleseed greens