Onigiri is a popular Japanese food. Although it’s a simple combination of a ball of rice filled with some other delicious meat, fish or vegetable, it takes some experience to get to know this snack deeply in all its combinations. Of course, Japanese people all know what they like when it comes to onigiri, but how much could a foreigner get into this kind of food?

To get a sense of this, we met with an American named Chris who is visiting Japan to do some surfing, and gave him a taste test to rank his nine best onigiri fillings.

・Chris makes his own onigiri
Just giving Chris some pre-made onigiri bought at a convenience store could have worked, but we really wanted to immerse him in the culture of these awesome rice balls. So we got him to make his own.


・Dude knows how to clean rice
Getting started he began cleaning the rice. His form was quite good as he polished the grains without damaging them with a motion like washing his hands. It seems he had learned this technique from a Japanese girlfriend.


・But doesn’t know how to work the rice cooker
Chris finished washing the rice like a pro, leaving just the right amount of water in the pot for cooking. However, after loading the machine he wasn’t sure which button to push to get it going. After thinking it over for a moment he asked his girlfriend to push the right one.



・Molding the rice ball is a struggle
Most first-time onigiri makers often underestimate the struggle of molding the rice ball into a beautiful triangle shape like we see sold in stores. Getting coaching from his girlfriend, Chris gave it his best to create a tidy triangle and… Well, the ones his girlfriend made looked very nice.






With everything prepared we had nine onigiri ready to go. Let’s see what Chris chose as his nine best rice ball fillings.

9th: Mentaiko & Mayo
“I don’t like cod roe so much”


8th: Takana (Japanese mustard plant)
“It tasted like pickles, but it was okay.”

7th: Kombu (kelp)
“I liked the salty-sweet flavor of it. It tasted pretty good.”

6th: Tuna & Mayo
“I’m into tuna.”


5th: Boiled Shrimp
“The sweet and spicy blend was good. It smelled and tasted like Teriyaki.”

4th: Ume (Japanese Apricot)
“I like these sour pickled plums. I also love natto!”

3rd: Momoya’s Spicy, Not Spicy, Kind of Spicy Chili Oil
“First it’s crunchy with a garlic taste, then you’re hit with spiciness! I wish they sold this in America!”

2nd: Okaka (bonito flakes blended with other ingredients)
“I really like the sweet taste of this one.”

1st: Salmon & Mayo
“I like salmon.”


Granted this is just the opinion of one guy, but it gave our Japanese reporter a rare glimpse into the tastes of the average American. Our reporter would also like to sincerely thank Chris for helping out with this article to showcase some of Japan’s most delicious onigiri fillings. Now off you go to make some of your own!


Original Report by Sekai No Shogo with Christopher Hertler
Rice Provided by Takema Furusato Promotional Council
Photos: RocketNews24