It’s not the only sushi getting a makeover at Family Mart.

Japan’s top three convenience store chains — 7-Eleven, Lawson, and Family Mart — are continually coming up with new products to get customers through their doors, and this month, Family Mart is outshining them all.

The chain is currently causing a buzz amongst convenience store fans due to two new products in the sushi section that don’t adhere to traditional norms.

▼ The first item is Cheese Hamburg Steak Sushi, which retails for 198 yen (US$1.42)…

…and the second product is the Chestnut Inari Sushi, which retails for 155 yen.

Our weird-food specialist Mr Sato was ready to take on this new culinary adventure, so he picked up both of the products and took them back to the office for a taste test.

▼ He began his review with the Cheese Hamburg Steak Sushi

Hamburg steak is a popular dish in Japan, and though the minced meat patty is usually served on a plate with rice, this was the first time Mr Sato had ever seen the dish in such a convenient handheld form.

So…how did it taste?

“It doesn’t taste bad! I’d predicted that the vinegared sushi rice and the teriyaki-style sauce would clash in taste, but it turns out I was wrong as there was no taste clash. Come to think of it, I’ve heard that hamburg sushi isn’t that uncommon at conveyor belt sushi restaurants, so in a sense, it was probably only a matter of time before this type of product appeared in convenience stores.”

Next up, we have the inarizushi, or “inari sushi” as Family Mart calls it, which consists of rice inside a pocket of seasoned fried tofu.

Autumn is the season for chestnuts, so now is the time to eat them, but Mr Sato has never tried chestnuts and rice inside a tofu pocket like this before.

Looking closer, Mr Sato could see chestnuts peeking out from inside the rice.

▼ Here goes…

Chestnuts are known for their sweetness and crunchy texture. Well, that’s how it should be, but this product seemed to overlook those two characteristics. The sweetness of the chestnuts became buried under the taste of the vinegared rice, and they’d been cooked to the point where they had no noticeable texture.

It was a bit of a disappointment, but Mr Sato ended up viewing this as a positive development. Family Mart is often seen as the weaker of the three big chains in terms of boxed lunches and meals like this, so rather than admonish them for their Chestnut Inari Sushi, he decided to applaud them for their valiant attempt at trying something new.

Plus, the Cheese Hamburg Sushi was tasty so Mr Sato reckons this is a promising sign of more good things to come from  chain. Hopefully they’ll stick at it and continue to improve their offerings so that Family Mart sushi can one day become as famous as their Famichiki, a fried chicken so iconic it even has its own mascot with a whole backstory behind it.

Reference: FamilyMart
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