10 cheap meals you can make at this famous Japanese convenience store chain.

In Japan, 1,000 yen (US$7.12) can get you a lot to eat…if you know how to spend your money wisely. So to help you out with all your super-budget dining needs, our Japanese-language team of reporters have been compiling their best recommendations at some of the country’s top chains, and today, they’re showing us what you can get at Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart for 1,000 yen.

The competitive spirit is strong amongst our team, so each reporter is seeking to outdo their colleagues by introducing a selection of products that they believe is the most effective use of their funds. With a wide variety of options at Family Mart, ranging from boxed bento meals through to sweets and hot and frozen foods, there’s a lot to choose from, so let’s get right to it and see the 10 meals they came up with below!

Yoshio Ueda’s Want to Eat it on a Hot Day! Chilled Spinach Peperoncino

● Fresh Vegetable Salad (178 yen)
● Cut Spinach (138 yen)
● Peperoncino (630 yen)
● Grated Veggie Dressing (35 yen)
Total: 981 yen

“This is my top recommendation for a hot day. Though you can warm the peperoncino up in the microwave, I prefer not to in summer, as it’s delicious when eaten cold.”

The addition of spinach adds a good accent to the pasta dish, and the side salad makes this a healthy, filling meal.

Go Hatori’s “Luxury Full Course You Can Only Get at Family Mart”

● Cafe Frappe (298 yen)
● Famikoro (100 yen)
● Famichiki Buns (78 yen)
● Fresh Vegetable Salad (178 yen)
● Reduced Sodium Japanese Dressing (28 yen)
● Soft-boiled Egg (105 yen)
● Milk Cream Puff (178 yen)
● Plastic Bag (3 yen)

Total: 968 yen

“First things first — if you visit Famima, you can’t leave without the Frappe. For me, Famima = Frappe Shop, and now that the temperature is rising in summer, it’s the perfect season for Family Mart Frappes!”

It’s true that Family Mart serves up some tasty frappes, but that’s not the only top-selling product Go recommends. The Famichiki buns are perfect for making your own burger, and Go’s recommendation is to fill it with a Vegetable Famikoro (Family Mart Croquette), as well as the cabbage from the fresh salad. This makes for a crunchy meal that’s immensely satisfying, and it’s a go-to Go is so enthusiastic about he’s even photoshopped himself into the photos to encourage you to try it.

With a boiled egg for protein, and a huge cream puff for dessert, this collection of seven items makes for a well-rounded full-course meal that’ll satisfy your taste buds at any time during your travels.

 Takashi Harada’s “Family Mart x Menya Kokoro — Family Mart’s Full Balance Set”

● Famichiki (220 yen)
● Famichiki Buns (78 yen)
● Colourful Veggie Mix (149 yen)
● Minced Pork Mix (230 yen)
● Taiwan Soupless Ramen by Ramen Shop Kokoro (320 yen)

Total: 997 yen

“If you want delicious convenience store food, the collaboration products are where it’s at. This is because both the convenience store and the collaborating company are aiming for a high level of quality, so you can rest assured that the food is well made.” 

At the heart of Takashi’s selection is the Taiwan Mazesoba, or “soupless ramen” as it’s written in English on the pack, which is a collaboration with Menya Kokoro (Ramen Shop Kokoro ), a popular chain with branches around Japan and further abroad in Canada, Singapore, and the Philippines.

With a delicious spiciness that’s perfect for summer, the cold ramen is counterbalanced by the warming flavour of a Famichiki burger, made by filling the Famichiki buns with a crunchy Famichiki. A simple vegetable salad completes the meal, with a dollop of pork mix adding some flavour to the veggies.

Mariko Ohanabatake’s “Family Restaurant Adult Lunch Set That’ll Make you Return to Childhood” 

● Hamburg Steak & Crab Cream Croquette Bento (668 yen)
● Pudding (178 yen)
● Tropicana Essentials Multivitamin Drink (153 yen)

Total: 999 yen

“I went to Family Mart thinking about various combinations to spend the money on, but I ended up falling in love with the Hamburg Steak & Crab Cream Croquette Bento at first sight. The Hamburg steak, crab cream croquette, corn on the side, macaroni, and sweet glace sauce looked like something you’d get at a family restaurant!”

Mariko did a great job of utilising her budget with one yen to spare, and the bento tasted as delicious as it looked. Further enhancing the perfection of this hamburger and croquette bento was the pudding, which was once a flagship product of Circle K Sunkus, before it merged with Family Mart in 2016. Mariko is glad this pudding still exists, as it’s deliciously rich and very well made.

The bento, pudding and juice combination reminded Mariko of the kids’ meals she used to order at family restaurants when she was younger, so her belly and heart were filled with a sense of warm nostalgia after her meal.

Masanuki Sunakoma’s “If You Think of Family Mart, You Think of WAO! — Eight Rice Balls Wow! Set”

● Bonito Flakes Rice Ball (118 yen) x 3
● Seaweed Rice Ball (128 yen) x 5
● Plastic Bag (3 yen)
● License Training Camp WAO!! pamphlet (0 yen)

Total: 997 yen

“For me, Family Mart is synonymous with WAO!! pamphlets. At the branch I just visited, the pamphlets were in my face again with their giant “WAO!!” distracting me so much I ended up buying eight rice balls. It’s pretty amazing that you can buy eight rice balls for 1,000 yen, don’t you think?”

License Training Camp WAO!! is a pamphlet distributed at Family Mart branches, and it’s filled with information about license training camps, or “driving camps”, which are boarding programmes designed to help people get their driver’s license in a shorter period of time and for less money.

These short-term boarding programmes include meals, accommodation, driving exams and lessons, the latter of which are conducted every day, and the WAO!! pamphlets introduce safe and certified driving schools in the prefecture in which they’re distributed.

▼ That makes for interesting reading while munching on rice balls for someone like Masanuki, who lost his mind during our senbero drinking series.

Ahiruneko’s “Famichiki All Star Strongest Drinking Set”

● Famichiki (220 yen)
● Spicy Chicken (185 yen)
● Crispy Chicken (Plain) (178 yen)
● Grand Time Sugar 70% Off (139 yen)
● Super Chu-Hi Lemon (118 yen)
● Super Chu-Hi Grapefruit (118 yen)

Total: 958 yen

“For me, Family Mart is a chicken shop, so this time I decided to fill up on a super powerful collection of only chicken and alcohol. As a result, we have one can of alcohol for each piece of chicken — a perfect combination.”

Ahiruneko loves to unwind with a drink or three after a hard day at work, and though a lot of Family Mart customers might opt to pair a drink with the chain’s classic Famichiki, he prefers the spicy chicken, although having a variety of fried chicken makes for an even better drinking session. If you love fried chicken and alcohol, this is the Family Mart meal for you.

P.K. Sanjun’s “Full stomach! Inspired Brothless Dandan Noodle Set”

● Brothless Dandan Noodles (288 yen)
● Tender Bamboo Shoots (138 yen)
● Braised Cubed Pork (348 yen)
● Potato & Spicy Roe Salad (155 yen)
● Bean Sprouts (46 yen)

Total: 975 yen

“Family Mart’s best frozen food product by far is the Brothless Dandan Noodles. The mercilessly spicy sansho pepper (Japanese pepper) is the best! What’s more, it’s reasonably priced, at 288 yen.”

Add the braised pork, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts as toppings, and you’ve got a super filling bowl of brothless noodles.

P.K. recommends eating the potato salad on its own, about halfway through the meal as a spicy palate cleanser. If you love spicy food, this is a combination you’ll fall in love with.

Yuuichiro Wasai’s “Petit Nunkatsu Set Carefully Selected by a Heavy User”

● Baumkuchen (158 yen)
● Double Cream Puff (178 yen)
● Taberu Bokujo Milk (218 yen)
● Ichigo Milk (260 yen)
● Salted Potato Wedge Snack (160 yen)

Total: 974 yen

“Now that I’ve moved, there’s a Family Mart about 10 seconds away from my house so I’m one of the chain’s heavy users. Out of all the many products I’ve tried, nothing beats the Baumkuchen — I believe it’s the best Family Mart sweet.”

Yuuichiro describes this selection of sweets — including his beloved Baumkuchen — as a “Petit Nunkatsu” set, using a buzzword that caught on during the pandemic that combines the words “nun” (for “afternoon”) and “katsu” (meaning “activity”). Nunkatsu generally refers to “afternoon tea”, and while it’s been used by hotels and restaurants to promote light afternoon meals, Yuuichiro reckons it’s about time we had a convenience store nunkatsu.

This set covers salty treats as well as sweet and creamy ones, while the Ichigo Milk (Strawberry Milk) and Taberu Bokujo Milk (Edible Ranch Milk) will satisfy the palates of milkshake and ice cream lovers.

Seiji Nakazawa’s “This is Summer! Somen Set”

● Cold Somen Noodles with Plum (470 yen)
● Soft-boiled Egg (105 yen)
● Rice Bran Pickles (218 yen)
● Seafood Stick Spicy Roe (168 yen)

Total: 961 yen

“I think the most popular item at convenience stores in the summer is somen noodles. What’s more, the somen noodles at Family Mart have plums in them!”

Thin, cold and slippery smooth to eat, somen noodles are a super popular summertime meal, but Seiji reckons they taste even better when you add a few side dishes to them. He recommends adding half of the seafood stick into the noodles to make it more flavourful, while leaving the other half on the side to enjoy with the egg. The pickles add even more refreshment between mouthfuls, creating a satisfying meal that’s perfect for summer.

Mr Sato’s “Enjoy Bread Family Mart Bakery Set”

● Famima The Cream Pan Custard Cream (138 yen)
● Nama Koppe Pan Sweet Red Bean Paste & Whipped cream (138 yen)
● Nama Koppe Pan Ham Cutlet & Potato (158 yen)
● Nama Doughnut Custard Whip (145 yen)
● Taberu Bokujo Banana (238 yen)
● Taiwanese Oolong Tea (108 yen)

Total: 925 yen

“If you have 1,000 yen to spend at Family Mart, I recommend spending it on bread. In recent years, the chain has been focusing on its bread products, creating a number of hits under the ‘Famima Bakery’ brand name.”

It’s true that Family Mart has recently been wowing customers with the products in its bakery section, and Mr Sato has chosen some of the best-selling items for this selection, including a couple of Nama Koppe Pan (koppe pan takes its name from“coupé”, the French word for “cut”, and “pan”, the Japanese word for bread).

The banana-flavoured “edible milk” adds even more creaminess to the meal, while the Taiwanese oolong tea helps to cut through the richness, leaving you with a refreshing aftertaste. Mr Sato highly recommends this particular brand of oolong tea, saying it’s a must-buy that’s delicious and outstanding for its refreshing taste and rich tea aroma.

So there you have it — 10 different ways to spend 1,000 yen at Family Mart. Whether you’re after a sense of nostalgia or a healthy meal, or perhaps a decadent or crazy one, these meal suggestions will suit a wide variety of desires and palates.

Which one would be your top pick when visiting Family Mart? Let us know in the comments section below, and if you’d like to find out what 1,000 yen will get you at rival chain 7-Eleven, this selection of meals will help you!

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