Four chains, five cutlets, and one very full stomach.

There’s lots of tempting stuff inside Japanese convenience stores, but our willpower gets especially low when we’re near the case of fried foods that they cook up right there in the store. Recently, we found ourselves in no mood to even try to resist our craving for mincemeat cutlets, or menchi katsu as they’re called in Japanese, and decided to but one from each of Japan’s big three convenience store chains, 7-Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson.

And yet, we ended up with five menchi katsu when our shopping trip was done.

That’s because it turns out that Lawson sells two different kinds of menchi katsu, and on our way back to the office we also discovered that Mini Stop, one of Japan’s smaller convenience store chains, has also started selling their own menchi katsu as of this month.

Let’s take a look at the nutritionally balanced meal we’ve put together.

From left t o right, starting with the top row, those are:
● Lawson Overflowing Umami Menchi (180 yen [US$1.45])
● Lawson Overflowing Umami Beef Menchi (110 yen)
● Family Mart Juicy Menchi Katsu (138 yen)
● Mini Stop Wild Menchi (178 yen)
● 7-Eleven Beef Menchi (171 yen)

As their names imply, the Lawson Overflowing Umami Beef Menchi and 7-Eleven Beef Menchi use 100-percent ground beef, while the others are a mix of beef and pork.

Slicing them in half and looking at the cross sections, we can see that the Lawson Overflowing Umami Menchi and 7-Eleven’s Beef Menchi are the thickest. The Lawson Overflowing Umami Menchi is also the airiest, with its ground meat more loosely packed than the others’.

Lining them up side by side, the meat for Lawson’s Overflowing Umami Beef Menchi (second from the right in the photo below) has been browned to the greatest degree, while 7-Eleven’s Beef Menchi (far right) has a tinge of red.

It’s hard to screw up something as simple as deep-fried meat, and flavor-wise the menchi katsu from 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson are all pretty similar. All of them hit your taste buds with a directly satisfying meaty flavor, with 7-Eleven’s having just a touch more sweetness to it.

▼ 7-Eleven Beef Menchi

But the surprise here is Mini Stop’s Wild Menchi. Produced in collaboration with budget-priced steak restaurant chain Ikinari Steak, the Wild Menchi is seasoned with black pepper and herbs, producing a refined and unique menchi katsu eating experience.

Ultimately, though, there’s not a bad one in the bunch, so if you’re craving menchi katsu and happen to spot one of these convenience store nearby, there’s no need to worry that their minced meat cutlets won’t be up to scratch. We’d recommend any of them, though maybe not eating them all in one sitting like we did (but imitating our eating portions is something that, by now, we’re sure most people realize isn’t a good idea).

Photos © SoraNews24
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