Mr Sato gives us his verdict, and stumbles upon the Onigi Remix — a new way to combine them and eat them all! 

Last year, we verified the contents of all the sandwiches being sold by Japan’s top three convenience store chains — Lawson, Family Mart, and 7-Eleven — by opening them up and examining their insides.

This year, Mr Sato decided to repeat the experiment, but this time with convenience store onigiri. So he picked up five rice balls from each chain, all with the same fillings, to see how they fared next to each other.

▼ A beautiful sight for any rice ball lover!

The varieties Mr Sato purchased were: Plum, Sea Chicken, Salmon, Spicy Cod Roe, and Kelp. All of them were priced in the 100-yen (US$0.88) range, and to really assess them properly, Mr Sato removed their seaweed wrappings and sliced them vertically through their centres.

So let’s take a look at the cross-sections of all the convenience store rice balls, starting with the plum-filled ones, which all contain the acclaimed Nanko Ume plum variety from Kishu, modern-day Wakayama Prefecture, although the 7-Eleven variety uses aged plums.

Visually, all of the rice balls looked quite different, but the price and weight of each one (without the packaging and seaweed) were pretty similar.

▼ (Left to right): Family Mart 115 yen (US$1.01) and 102 grams (3.6 ounces); Lawson 116 yen and 99 grams; 7-Eleven 115 yen and 102 grams

Next up, let’s take a look at the “Sea Chicken Mayonnaise”, as Lawson calls it, or “Tuna Mayonnaise” as it’s known at Family Mart and 7-Eleven.

▼ Family Mart 115 yen and 106 grams; Lawson 115 yen and 113 grams; 7-Eleven 115 yen and 119 grams

And the Sockeye Salmon, which is labelled as “cured” in the Lawson and 7-Eleven varieties.

▼ FamilyMart 139 yen and 105 grams; Lawson 139 yen and 103 grams; 7-Eleven 140 yen and 104 grams

Now for the Spicy Cod Roe, or “Cured Spicy Cod Roe” as it’s known at Lawson:

Family Mart 139 yen and 102 grams; Lawson 139 yen and 105 grams; 7-Eleven 140 yen and 105grams

And finally, the Kelp, which is all sourced from Hokkaido.

▼ FamilyMart 110 yen and 107 grams; Lawson 111 yen and 101 grams; 7-Eleven 110 yen and 108 grams

Which convenience store rice balls struck you as being the best overall?

For Mr Sato, he felt that the 7-Eleven rice balls had more ingredients than the others in general. And judging by their appearances, we have to agree he’s right.

The Sea ​​Chicken in particular was more plentiful, packing in a lot more mayonnaise than the other two, and 7-Eleven’s Kelp variety was equally impressive, as the ingredients were all tightly gathered in the centre, giving it a better balance of flavour.

The one that Mr Sato thought was most impressive was 7-Eleven’s plum rice ball, which contains aged umeboshi plums. This gave it a different look and a different flavour, expressing the chain’s commitment to individuality and quality.

▼ Congratulations to 7-Eleven, the winner of this onigiri showdown!

After sniffing and tasting the contents of each rice ball, Mr Sato now found himself with a plethora of onigiri cross-sections in front of him. That set the wheels of his brilliant mind in motion, prompting him to wonder what would happen if he combined two mismatching cross-sections together for a new type of rice ball

“I’ll call it the Onigi Remix! Geddit? Onigiri + mix = Onigi Remix! I’m like a DJ spinning rice balls!”

Okay, Mr Sato, no need to get carried away with–

▼ “Onigi Remix!! Cod Roe Kelp Complete!”

Before we could say anything, Mr Sato had already bitten into his new invention, telling us between mouthfuls how delicious the combination was, and what a genius he was for thinking it up.

Another recommended remix from the rice ball DJ is Cod Roe Sea Chicken, which imparts a heightened flavour of creamy seafood.

The Kelp Salmon remix was ​​also top-notch, but when it came to the plums, DJ Remix says they’re best enjoyed on their own, without any remixing, so you can appreciate their delicious flavour.

So next time you have a hankering for convenience store rice balls, why not give the Onigi Remix a try? Mr Sato will be proud of your culinary fortitude, and if you’re lucky, he might extend an invitation for you to join his next home senbero drinking party, which, on second thought, you actually might not want to get invited to.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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