Here’s your convenience store snack survival guide, for when “all of the above” isn’t an option.

Travel buffs and foodies are recently wising up to something that loyal SoraNews24 readers have known for years. When in Japan, gourmet by-introduction-only restaurants and crack-of-dawn fish markets aren’t the only places where you’ll find mouthwatering things to eat. Pop into any convenience store, and you’ll be presented with an amazing array of desserts and other munchies, with many available in limited-time or seasonal versions.

Right now, mint chocolate is the hot (yet cooling) flavor in Japan. But if you’ve never stepped into a Japanese convenience store, or simply haven’t made a snack run at the combini (as the locals call them) in a while, you might find yourself overwhelmed with all the variety, especially if you can’t read Japanese.

Seriously, how are you supposed to pick between all those mint chocolate sweets?

With our handy visual guide, of course!

▼ Stronger chocolate flavors at the top, stronger mint flavors at the right

Let’s take a look at seven awesome mint chocolate goodies on sale at Japanese convenience stores right now, none of which will cost you more than a few bucks.

1. Country Ma’am Choco Mint (216 yen [US$1.95])

The lip balm and beverages are just side projects. Country Ma’am’s stock and trade is delicious cookies, though these lean more heavily on the chocolate half of the choco mint equation.

2. Look Choco Mint Double Mint Ice/Cocoa Mint (130 yen)

From Fujiya (also the makers of Country Ma’am), this combo pack gives you two types of chocolate with differing intensities of mint, and the Mint Ice ones were the mintiest of anything in our comparison, leaving a fresh sensation in our mouth even after we were done eating.

3. Bake Mint (138 yen)

Like the name implies, maker Morinaga’s Bake series are crisp baked chocolates, and the combination of crunch and mint is an unusual, but extremely enjoyable, combination. If you’re looking for extra coolness, these also taste great after being chilled in the fridge.

4. Choco Chip Mint Bar (183 yen)

On the other hand, you’ll want to keep the Choco Chip Mint Bar, a 7-Eleven-exclusive ice cream bar from Lotte, in the freezer. While the mint notes are tasty, it’s the rich, fudge-like chocolate filling that steals the show.

5. Häagen-Dazs Chocolat Mint (294 yen)

Mintier than the Choco Chip Mint Bar, Häagen-Dazs justifies the premium pricing and fancy spelling of the Chocolat Mint with an extremely well-balanced amount of chocolate sweetness.

6. Dars Mint (157 yen)

Morinaga’s second entry on our list, the filling of this limited-time part of its popular Dars line has flavorful chunks of mint flavoring.

7. Look Mint Mint Dark Mint/Blue Mint (141 yen)

And finally, Fujiya gives us one last two-in-one option, in which the mint plays a supporting role to the chocolate.

Now, if we’re being totally honest, our advice, whenever browsing the snack aisle of the convenience store, would be “buy everything.” But if monetary, calorific, or carrying capacity constraints mean you have to narrow down your choices, hopefully this will make the decision a little less difficult. Oh, and if you’re facing a similar dilemma at Starbucks, we can help with that too.

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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he thinks he showed admirable restraint in not running off to the convergence store in the middle of writing this article.

[ Read in Japanese ]