However, it was only a temporary victory.

For longer than he can remember, Mr. Sato has been tirelessly searching for the best home senbero in Japan. “Senbero” is the Japanese term for a set of food and alcohol that will only set you back about 1,000 yen ($9.13) before taxes, but still get you buzzed.

From Costco to IKEA, our Senbero Meister has been pursuing this mission for at least nine or maybe ten days now. Like we said, he can’t remember… He’s been drinking a lot lately.

This time, his quest has brought him to none other than the massive Japanese retail chain Aeon. Although extremely famous, it’s not known for being excessively cheap compared to the likes of ABS Wholesale Center.

However, for a fleeting four days, Mr. Sato’s local Aeon store was having a sale on American meat. During this time, he could buy some marinated strips of beef rib for 138 yen (US$1.26) per 100 grams (3.5 ounces).

Worried that such a deal would sell out, he forewent opening with his drink choice this time so he could secure a pack. As luck would have it, our reporter grabbed 182 grams (6.4 ounces) for 251 yen ($2.29), a perfect portion for a nice senbero.

Back to the drinks, Mr. Sato selected an Aeon store-brand beer called Barreal which boasted 50 percent less sugar for 110 yen ($1). However, we use the term “beer” loosely as the fine print on the can describes it as a “low-carb beer-like alcoholic beverage.”

This still left plenty of room for supporting foods to accompany his beer and beef. Figuring a Korean-style BBQ would make for a good senbero party, he got some store-brand sangchu lettuce first for 98 yen ($0.89).

Then he got a tub of kimchi from the leading brand Jongga for 128 yen ($1.17).

And you can’t have a good Korean-style senbero without a nice pack of assorted namul. This one was 20 percent off and only came to 178 yen ($1.62) because its expiration date was drawing near.

That should cover the core of Mr. Sato’s senbero, but he still had some money left over for other side dishes, so he grabbed a pack of store-brand Eggplant & Vegetable Miso Soup for 65 yen ($0.59).

A simple salted rice ball would help balance out the food groups in this meal, so he got one for only 63 yen ($0.57).

Speaking of salt, there was a store-brand pack of instant salt broth ramen for only 40 yen ($0.37) so our reporter grabbed one of those too.

And there’s always room for an Umaibo puffed corn stick, especially since they only cost 10 yen ($0.09) a piece.

To complete this senbero, Mr. Sato also purchased a pouch of medium-spicy store-brand curry for 54 yen ($0.49).

These ten items together came to 1,087 yen ($9.92) after tax (997 yen before tax), making it a near-perfect senbero in terms of price.

And it was definitely one of the more impressive arrays of food our Senbero Meister has scored. The pack of fresh beef really raised the stakes.

Also, since the beef was already flavored, Mr. Sato just needed to get his hotplate ready and plop those strips on top.

The great part about cooking at your desk is that you can really hear the mouth-watering meat sizzle and take in the full aroma.

On the other hand, the terrible part of a cooking at your desk is that tiny droplets of scalding oil constantly splash on you.

But it’s nothing that half a liter (17 ounces) of beer won’t solve.

Actually this beer was rather low in alcohol at only four percent, but as we’ve seen in the past Mr. Sato’s tolerance for alcohol is not great, so this should keep him from eating garlic paste.

When the beef was ready, our reporter stared at in awe.

It looked so good he couldn’t wait and just dove in.

He then remembered all the other foods he bought and started constructing a nice beef, kimchi, namul, lettuce wrap.

This combination of fresh foods was totally beyond his past senbero experiences. Everything was so flavorful.

But it was also quite spicy, so Mr. Sato needed frequent swigs of beer-like alcoholic beverage to cool down.

Just one look at his face and it was clear, this was the best home senbero Mr. Sato had ever experienced.

And there was still a lot more food left! Next, he took a relaxing sip of his vegetable soup.

Although the rice ball was plain, it was the perfect accompaniment to this meal.

Now it was time for the ramen. The pack simply needed to be boiled with its powdered seasoning added in.

Next, he added the namul and kimchi for an added flavor boost.

Since it was a little on the hot side this day, Mr. Sato decided to enjoy his noodled chilled, and threw in some ice cubes too.

It was perfect! Chilled noodles was just the right counterbalance to the grilled meat he had just eaten and made for the ultimate in satisfaction.

Yes, there was nothing missing from this senbero – Mr. Sato wanted for nothing at all!

Oh, and what’s this?! There was still an Umaibo tucked away for round out this fantastic drinking meal.

There really is no pleasure as pure as cheese-dust covered puffed corn and the bottom of a can of diet beer-like alcoholic beverage.

Mr. Sato was basking in the warm glow of a perfect senbero, when suddenly reality struck him like a lightning bolt to his very core. “Didn’t I buy curry too?” he thought to himself.
He was buzzing a bit, but still pretty sure that curry couldn’t just get up and walk away by itself.

Maybe he was experiencing the Mandela effect and just imagined buying curry among all this other great food. Either way, his senbero was still an amazing success, so he let the mystery of his missing curry be and went back to work.

Mr. Sato: “Hey, isn’t that my curry?!”

Mr. Sato: “My curry!”

Mr. Sato: “Hey, Masanuki! I think that’s my curry you’re drinking.”


Mr. Sato: “my… curry…”

While these two sort out their differences, we should remind you that this senbero was only possible because of a limited time sale at Aeon. While it’s possible another sale like it may happen again in the future, the window of opportunity has closed for now, which means that the search for Japan’s Best Home Senbero continues!

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