Convenience stores play an integral part of life in Japan. The various chains themselves appear to have a life and ecosystem of their own sprouting up and dying off all over the urban landscape in fierce competition. Regardless of which one you choose, be it Lawson, Family Mart, 7-Eleven, Mini-Stop or one of the other countless chains, you can always expect to find some high quality stuff.

No one knows this better than our food reporter Kuzo who has sampled every form of junk food the nation’s convenience stores have to offer. This time, however, he leaves the shores of Japan to test the wares of a remote branch of the famous Lawson Station chain in Hawaii.

Upon entering the store, Kuzo felt immediately at home surrounded by his people. That comfort began to get kind of weird though as this Hawaiian Lawson’s clientele was seeming more and more to be 100 percent Japanese. The only Americans there were the staff.

Nevertheless, the selection of merchandise impressed our well travelled reporter, and seemed to be prepared with all the care and attentiveness of a Japanese convenience store. The oden pot was there looking just like the one back home and even had all the most popular ingredients!

There was even the perennial favorite of Lawson’s, the Premium Roll Cake. This caught Kuzo’s eye immediately as it often does its customers as the obscene amount of cream packed into these things requires either a spoon or lack of etiquette to eat well.

Kuzo was especially excited to see some Okinawa Soba on the shelf and a steamer full of Japanese convenience store stalwarts derived from Chinese dumplings known as nikuman. But at a second glance these weren’t nikuman! The sign read “Manapua” which is the Hawaiian version of the buns and evolved completely separately from the original Chinese food. The “chicken and mashroom” looked especially delicious.

In the end, the ultimate snack this Lawson had to offer was a Hawaiian classic with a Japanese root: Spam Musubi! This was a slice of the canned meat known by the popular brand name Spam sitting atop a well-crafted rice ball and wrapped with a band of seaweed.

This snack had the prime component of convenience store junk food greatness: fat and lots of it. In fact, the excess fat from the Spam soaked into its rice foundation giving it a delectable flavor. It was an awesome combination that earned Kuzo’s coveted Best-in-Show for conveniences store food.

While he still recommends experiencing proper Hawaiian cuisine when visiting the island state, Kuzo would like to recommend everyone pay the Lawson Station there a visit at least once. Although it might look that way inside, it’s not just for Japanese people!

Original report by Kuzo
Photos: RocketNews24