Following Japan’s “paper tiger sandwich” incident, we went out and bought every sandwich we could find to investigate.

It’s impossible not to feel the draw of the snack food and pastry aisles on a trip into a Japanese convenience store, but they also have plenty of tasty, sensible meal options too. Any convenience store in the country has a shelf of quality pre-made sandwiches, and there are so many different varieties that sometimes it can be hard to choose.

Of course, you could sidestep that decision by just buying every type of sandwich for sale, but that’d be pretty crazy, right? Who’s a big enough nutcase to do that?

Oh, that’s right, we are.

For our maxed-out sandwich run, we hit up our local branches of 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson, Japan’s big-three convenience store chains, and bought one of every kind of regular store-brand sandwich they had sale that day. While we might have missed out on one or two varieties that were sold out when we stopped by, we came home with 25 different sandwiches, so let’s take a look at them, starting with the ones we got from 7-Eleven.

▼ We forgot to put one in the group photo, so we had to add it in later like a kid who was absent on class picture day.

1. Juicy Ham (250 yen [US$2.40])

The tiny cucumber slices seem to be here just to add some color, but the meat is tasty and there’s a generous portion of it.

2. Thick Omelet Mixed Sandwich (310 yen)

You’ll notice that we opened up each sandwich for our photos. That’s because this sandwich’s strategically placed omelet slices, which make it look like there’s more egg from the outside than there really is inside, recently earned it the nickname “Paper Tiger Sandwich” among dissatisfied customers.

3. Chicken Katsu Sandwich (298 yen)

Breaded chicken cutlets with a sweet and savory sauce accompanied by shredded cabbage for a filling treat. What’s not to like?

4. Fruit Mix (330 yen)

Yes, creamy fruit dessert sandwiches are a thing in Japan, and this one gives you slices of orange, strawberry, and kiwi.

5. Roast Beef (370 yen)

Convenience store sandwiches in Japan are generally cut into triangle-shaped halves, which means that sometimes one part ends up with more ingredients than the other, as was the case with the roast beef here.

6. Shrimp and Broccoli (320 yen)

7-Eleven’s Shrimp and Broccoli is truly a case of truth in advertising, as that’s exactly what you get, nothing more, but also nothing less.

7. Teriyaki Chicken (258 yen)

A nice amount of filling here for a perennially popular sandwich.

8. Plenty of Ham and Egg (270 yen)

Yep, this is definitely more ham than most convenience store sandwiches.

9. Egg and Shrimp Katsu (278 yen)

Shrimp cutlet is always a happy sight in a sandwich, though the cutlet here is smaller than the one in the Chicken Katsu Sandwich, meaning the egg, which there’s a lot of, plays a pretty big role too.

OK, let’s move on to our second sandwich source, Family Mart.

10. Crisp Lettuce (240 yen)

Though Family Mart only mentions the lettuce in the sandwich’s name, it also has ham and cheese. Once again, there’s a pretty big difference in the amount of filling each piece had.

11. Mixed Sandwich (238 yen)

Family Mart’s mixture here is ham, tuna, egg, cheese and lettuce. For even more variety, you get both hard-boiled egg slices and egg salad spread, making this a can’t-miss sandwich choice.

12. Ham, Cheese, and Egg (213 yen)

More ham in one section than the other, but overall we can’t complain, especially at this budget-friendly price.

13. Teriyaki Chicken and Egg (276 yen)

Here, though, we feel justified in grumbling about how one section was packed with chicken, while the other had such a meager amount that it was more like a mere suggestion of the concept of chicken.

14. Juicy Ham (250 yen)

Just like with 7-Eleven, this one is really light on the cucumber. Granted, with the name being “Juicy Ham” it’s not like we were promised in writing that there would be a lot, but bunching the cucumber slices up at the edge of the cross-section seems like an attempt to make you think there’re going to be a lot more when you’re looking at the sandwich pre-purchase.

15. Fried Egg and Boneless Ham (269 yen)

One more member of the Family Mart ham sandwich club. Looks good and tastes good, with a nice even distribution of the ingredients.

16. Tuna and Egg (204 yen)

Plenty of filling here, delivering just what the package promises.

17. Chicken Salad and Cheddar Cheese (258 yen)

This one is actually a little hard to take apart, since the sauce has a stickiness to it that makes it tricky to remove the bread without tearing it. Once we did, though, we were happy to see Family Mart didn’t skimp on the filling.

18. Tuna, Chicken, and Three Cheeses (249 yen)

Everything we said about the Chicken Salad and Cheddar Cheese goes for this sandwich too.

19. Egg (184 yen)

Finishing off our time in Family Mart’s sandwich empire, the egg sandwich has plenty of filling, which was evenly split between the two pieces.

Finally, let’s dive into Lawson’s sandwich offerings.

20. Volume Variety (248 yen)

You might be wondering how a sandwich can make noise, but “volume” is how Japan expresses the concept of a food being satisfyingly filling. In terms of variety, you get sections with croquette, egg, potato salad, and ham and lettuce.

21. Mixed (239 yen)

This pithy sandwich gave us a nice amount of tuna, egg, and ham and lettuce.

22. Juicy Ham (239 yen)

By this point, we were bracing ourselves for the inevitable sight of the cucumber slices occupying only a tiny area that makes them look far more numerous while the sandwich is in the packaging…but we were still kind of sad about it.

23. Egg (211 yen)

On the other hand, egg sandwiches continue to reliably meet our expectations.

24. Crisp Lettuce (239 yen)

We have to say, there’s something pleasingly artful about the arrangement of the ham and lettuce slices here.

25. Ham, Cheese, and Egg (276 yen)

And at the end of this sandwich road, we would have liked a little more ham here, but at this price, it’s not so bad, especially considering we get egg and cheese too.

You might have noticed that there’s one sandwich shown in the 7-Eleven group shot, the Colorful Vegetables and Chicken, that didn’t show up in our individual examinations. We apologize: sometimes, when you’ve got a couple dozen sandwiches crammed into the fridge, it’s hard to remember which ones are “work sandwiches” that need photographing, and which ones are just, well, lunch.

Also, should you decide to use this list as a guide to complete an epic sandwich odyssey of your own, and at the end of it find yourself (understandably) craving something else for your next meal, we’ve got a comparison of Japanese convenience store steamed pizza buns here, as well as a melon bread showdown here, if you’re looking for dessert.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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