Are You a CVS Snack Addict?
You might feel foods in Japan are incredibly delicious (even they are originally from other countries) since you have moved here. It might be surprising to non-Japanese people that every shop offers tasty dishes wherever you go. Of course, convenience stores (CVS) are one of them. CVS snacks have been evolving, being more abounding and delicious. These snacks even threaten several cafes and shops (the typical example is donuts, coffee, etc.). Therefore, they will never disappoint you because new items are often released, and you can find new ones whenever you stop by there. This time we are going to introduce about 7 most popular CVS snacks in Japan. Of course, they include kind of the tradition of this period and you should find this helpful. It will take you captive and fulfill your eating habits.
(Photo by Yuko)
Fried Snacks; For an Additional Dish
Have you paid attention to the hot showcase in front of the cashier? You might unconsciously order fried snacks whenever you go shopping at CVS. As they are fried at the store, you can get freshly-fried ones. The basic lineup is karaage (deep-fried chicken), frankfurter, corn dog, croquette, etc. However, you can choose Japanese taste (seasoned with soy sauce, ginger, etc.), western taste, or boneless or on the bone. Especially Lawson’s signature Karaage-kun is known for its wide varieties of flavor. Not only standard flavors like salt, cheese, norishio (powdered seaweed paper and salt), etc., it also offers a seasonal or limited unique flavor. For example, the product below was collaborated with Gyoza no Ohsho, and it tasted like gyoza (but it has already been finished selling). This collaboration flavor is still offered irregularly, and local flavor has been started annually introducing since 2016. Moreover, FamilyMart’s Premium Chicken is introduced as more popular than FamiChiki (its signature boneless fried chicken) and 7-11’s Agedori (boneless spiced fried chicken) because of its slightly spicy taste and availability for Christmas dinner (Japanese people like eating fried chicken on Christmas). Meanwhile, croquette and katsu (cutlet) is good for snacks and an additional dish at home. Even it depends on each CVS, some stores accept reservation orders when you want freshly-fried or a lot, and you should ask your nearest CVS. Therefore, each CVS also occasionally holds 100yen sale promotion, and you may try them in this period.
(Photo by Yuko)
Seasonal Snacks; From Oden to Soft Ice-Cream
If you stay in Japan for a long time, you might be waiting for the coming season because it is about time for seasonal snacks; especially oden and Chinese bun. Oden is Japan’s traditional dish in winter cooked many kinds of ingredients (mainly fish paste) with dashi. Because Japan has different dashi culture in each region, CVS oden also has different dashi by the food culture. Not only dashi, but ingredients also vary by region. For example, 7-11’s dashi-maki tamago (Japanese rolled omelet) has a different taste because its dashi varies by region. Therefore, Lawson’s soki (Okinawan pork spare ribs) and tebichi (Okinawan pig’s trotters) are introduced only in Okinawa. Moreover, Chinese bun also starts selling at the end of August each year. Its standard flavors are pork and red bean paste; however, pizza and curry have become popular. You can check the detail on each CVS’s website and should check if you are interested. Meanwhile, Mini Stop’s signature soft ice-cream also has a winter flavor. Even it doesn’t operate nationwide; you should try once this freshly-made one.
Onigiri; The Signature of CVS Snacks
Onigiri or omusubi (musubi) must be the king of CVS snacks because it is Japan’s soul food. It is said that CVS and its onigiri have eliminated mini musubi and bento shops (they used to be located especially in west Japan). You might be surprised that seaweed paper that wraps musubi keeps its crispness and unique opening method of the package. People had to wrap seaweed paper immediately before eating musubi to enjoy a crispy texture, but CVS musubi solved this problem easily. Not only package, but each CVS is also particular about ingredients, especially seaweed paper, rice, and salt, which are the most important materials. Even though a machine makes them at their bento factories, these musubis have a soft texture like hand-made ones. Therefore, you can also find unique musubi which should be microwaved. Its lineup is fried rice, omelet rice (wrapped by cooked egg instead of seaweed paper), dry curried rice, etc.; because they are not wrapped in seaweed paper, it would be another choice you don’t really like. Of course, jikamaki (directly wrapped) musubi is also available if you prefer a moist texture. Moreover, all CVSs have several ingredients from standard to Western-style, and you will never be tired of it.
Desserts; Going Well with Coffee
Desserts make you feel better when you get tired, and perhaps you always grab them every time you get lunch at CVS. Even CVS original sweets have always been popular (7-11 used to sell ice-cream at the cashier in the1980s), each CVS has been introducing its signature these years. For example, the roll cake below is known as inspired by some famous cake shop in Osaka’s one. Because many CVS chains are operated in almost all 47 prefectures in Japan, you can try it everywhere; even you don’t use mail/online order. Therefore, since they have offered brewed coffee, they also recommend donuts and baked confectionery to make shoppers grab them with coffee (some CVSs sell their coffee and donuts as the same brand. Meanwhile, FamilyMart has some MUJI items because they used to be a part of the same group of companies. MUJI’s sweets are available in Family Mart. Of course, all CVSs also have commercial sweets. They contain CVS exclusive items which are designed to be sold only there. Therefore, cheap sweets which cost under 100yen are also available. Not only do children like their sweets, but adults also buy them to remember their childhood, or they still love them. In short, you can survive in Japan if just CVS is located near you. All you have to care about is not to gain weight too much.