Lawson convenience stores took two staples of Japanese cuisine and smashed them together for our pleasure.

Takoyaki is considered the signature food of Osaka, even though its citizenry doesn’t really eat it all that often. Still, these savory balls of batter, with a delectable morsel of octopus inside and flavorful sauces and toppings outside, are loved by all.

Onigiri, on the other hand, is a Japanese meal-like snack that knows no geographical association. A blank canvas of a ball of rice which is filled with fish, seaweed, ume pickled plum, or whatever the heart desires, make these treats just as loved as takoyaki.

Both are great, but sadly it would seem these two foods were destined to remain separate entities, because combining carb-heavy rice and batter is about as redundant as wrapping a piece of celery with a leaf of lettuce.

But redundancy be damned, as convenience store chain Lawson is going ahead with it anyway, and have released the Takoyaki Onigiri.

This appears to be the Osaka chapter of their regional foods series of onigiri and sells for 148 yen (US$1.30) each. Being from Osaka myself, I decided to try one out and see how well its takoyaki stacks up to the real deal.

One complaint I tend to have with takoyaki in general is that it is usually served at temperatures hot enough to forge steel. Patience is required to wait for them to cool down to human temperatures. Unfortunately, I lack such patience and always burn my mouth on the first one.

The Takoyaki Onigiri, however, is served chilled, which eliminates that problem altogether.

But is a chilled takoyaki all that good? Only one way to find out.

The takoyaki was quite authentic. It has the same large size and gooey texture of the kind you can find at stalls all over Osaka. The sauce was rich and mingled well with the rice, and even the little piece of octopus tasted fresh and tender.

Had I just eaten the takoyaki ball, I might have been disappointed because it is basically just like a leftover octopus ball hours after it had been bought from the stand. But in the context of an onigiri, a cold takoyaki wasn’t a problem at all and quite enjoyable.

Hey, wait a minute…

▼ “Delicious warmed. 1500W [microwave] 10 seconds, 500W 30 seconds.”

Son of a…

Okay, it would seem in my haste to try one of these things I had failed to notice the recommendation to heat it. Also, to add insult to injury, I had failed to open the package on its designated side. I’m not sure what dangers that had exposed me to though.

The good news is that now it seems Lawson’s Takoyaki Onigiri can be enjoyed either hot or cold, so go ahead and give it a try wherever you are!

The bad news is that in not being asked by the clerk if I wanted my onigiri heated up – like they used to always do – I’m starting to understand what those old guys who punch out register displays are complaining about.

Source: Lawson, Otakomu
Images: SoraNews24