The country’s favorite portable food is your best friend while traveling in Japan, and here are 10 types to become buddies with.

Walk into any Japanese convenience store, and you’ll find entire shelves stocked with onigiri, or rice balls (though onigiri can be triangular in shape too). Onigiri are just about the perfect food for travelers and busy locals alike. They’re compact, can be eaten without any utensils, and come with a variety of fillings.

▼ Onigiri

But that last part can be tricky if you’re an onigiri neophyte, since there are so many options to choose from. So to help narrow down the choice, let’s take a look at the results of an online poll by seaweed supplier Yamamotoyama which garnered 4,036 responses and asked “What’s the best filling for onigiri?” Oh, and we’ll also include how each is written in Japanese, so you know what to look for on the label.

10. Ume okaka / 梅おかか (3.3 percent of responses)

Ume is a type f fruit usually called Japanese plum, although some would say it’s closer to a n apricot. Ume okaka mashes ume into a paste and mixes in okaka (bonito flakes) for a unique combination of sweet, salty, and tart flavors.

9. Salt / 塩 (3.4 percent)

Onigiri with no filling at all are called shio onigiri, and while they’re not as filling as other types, they are generally the least expensive, and the extra dusting of salt makes them particularly refreshing on a hot, sweaty day.

8. Okaka / おかか (3.5 percent)

Bonito flakes show up again, this time without any mashed plum.

7. Sujiko / すじこ (5.4 percent)

Sujiko refers to salmon roe, usually with eggs that are smaller and less expensive than the kind used for sushi (which are called ikura).

6. Tuna mayo / ツナマヨ (7.4 percent)

Most onigiri fillings are traditional Japanese ingredients, but some incorporate Western flavors too, like the fusion-style tuna and mayonnaise rice ball.

5. Tarako / たらこ (8.6 percent)

Keeping with the seafood theme, tarako is cod roe, and makes a great onigiri filling either raw or grilled, in which case it gets called yaki tarako (焼きたらこ).

4. Kombu / こんぶ (8.9 percent)

Pretty much all onigiri are wrapped in nori (crisp, dried seaweed), but if you want a double-dose of sea plants, you can also get onigiri with a filling of kombu (kelp) or kombu tsukudani (こんぶ佃煮), stewed kelp seasoned with soy.

3. Umeboshi / 梅干し (12.7 percent)

Ume is back again, this time for umeboshi, a whole pickled plum stuck in the center of the rice ball, with the pickling process bringing out more of the fruit’s tart taste.

2. Mentaiko / 明太子 (13.3 percent)

Remember how we talked about tarako earlier? Well, mentaiko is the spicy version, and while it’s not as fiery as wasabi, the extra piquant kick meshes incredibly nicely with white rice.

1. Salmon / 鮭 (21.6 percent)

The winner, and by a wide margin, is salmon onigiri, and it’s not hard to see why. Grilled salmon, white rice, and nori are three essential components of a traditional Japanese breakfast, and a salmon onigiri (“salmon” being said as either sake or shake in Japanese) essentially lets you have the country’s classic morning meal in the palm of your hand.

Source: Yahoo! News Japan/Can Cam via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Wikipedia/Rotatebot, Wikipedia/Magnus Manske, Wikipedia/Batholith, Wikipedia/Opponent, Wikipedia/Tamago915
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Follow Casey on twitter, where some of his favorite onigiri are the ones sold in the convenience store outside Iwakuni Station.