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If you travel to Japan, you would be missing out if you don’t try Japanese “konbini” snacks. Konbinis are Japanese convenience stores, and you can find them everywhere for a quick stop to buy things you need. They have everything from fresh healthy meals to frozen foods to daily necessities. As you travel in Japan, you will find yourself stopping by konbinis for their quick meals and delicious snacks. If you don’t know where to start, here are 10 konbini foods you must try!
When you want a filling snack, onigiri are a perfect choice. These triangular rice balls called onigiri are here to satisfy all of your snack cravings. They are usually covered with crispy nori seaweed. Some are also filled with healthy protein fillings such as salmon eggs, tuna mayo, and chicken.
2. FamiChiki (Family Mart Fried Chicken)
Fried chicken, often called “kara-age” in Japanese, is the most popular konbini snack in Japan, regardless of the season. It is freshly deep-fried, crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside. Fried chicken in Japan has many different types of flavors and shapes, but one of the most popular and well-loved is Family Mart’s FamiChiki.
A super-chewy traditional Japanese snack known as “mochi”, these sweet and sticky rice balls are found in konbinis all over Japan. You can find different types, such as red bean paste mochi wrapped with cherry blossom leaf. Konbini mochi is not the best quality mochi available, but they are a convenient and inexpensive choice!
4. Melon Pan
Have you ever tasted bread shaped like a melon? It is called melon pan in Japan, a fluffy bread covered with sugar and crust. Melon pan comes in different shapes depending on the place. For example, in Hiroshima and Kobe, melon pan can look like a rugby ball. In other parts of Japan, the design can look like the rising sun. This bread typically does not taste like melon, but rather tastes like sweet crunchy cookies. However, there are melon-flavored versions available in some convenience stores.
5. Gari Gari Kun Ice Cream
Gari Gari Kun is considered one of the most famous popsicle brands in Japan. Their ice bars have a thick outer layer of delicious shaved ice, best for eating in the hot summer months. This brand also comes up with bizarre flavors such as spaghetti, cream puff, and rare cheese. However, it is hard to beat the original flavor, which is the blue-colored soda version.
6. 10 Yen Umaibo
Perhaps the cheapest snack you can find in Japan is Umaibo, which means “delicious stick” in English. It is 10 yen (less than 10c USD) and is sold in a variety of flavors such as takoyaki, chicken curry, corn, cheese, and vegetable salad. The texture is similar to Cheetos, and in Japan, you can even find unusual flavors like lemon squash or cinnamon apple pie. Dare to try and you will be surprised by the taste.
7. Strawberry Sandwich
Fruit in a sandwich may sound strange. But Japan always has a way of making everything taste good, including this strawberry sandwich. These are often available in the springtime, though availability may depend on the konbini. Typically, the fillings include fruit layered with fresh cream pressed with two fluffy white pieces of bread. It usually costs around 300 yen.
When you’re craving potato chips but want to try something new, Jagariko is the answer. Jagariko are potato chips shaped as sticks sold in a cup-like package. These long and crunchy potato sticks come in different flavors such as salad, butter potato, cheese, mentaiko and shoyu. Jagariko is among Japan’s top selling snacks.
Do you love pastries and sweets? If yes, you would enjoy this classic Japanese bun filled with soft red bean paste called “anpan”. Anpan is made from anko (red bean paste), and the word “pan” means bread. You can find two types of anpan: steamed or the basic sweet red bean bun. Both of them are wrapped in soft, delicious bread, and they can be served warm during the winter.
This must-try snack and festival staple in Japan can be found in any convenience store. Taiyaki is a fish-shaped mold of crispy pancake filled with a variety of fillings. Traditionally, taiyaki is filled with red bean paste, but nowadays, custard, cheese, and chocolate flavors have been added to the recipe.