It’s 7-Eleven versus Family Mart versus Lawson in this ehomaki taste test showdown.

On February 3, Japan celebrates Setsubun. Considered the eve of spring under traditional folklore, Setsubun is a day when you usher in blessings for your home and family by throwing beans and eating giant sushi rolls (be careful not to get mixed up and throw the sushi rolls).

These giant sushi rolls, called ehomaki, are filled with a variety of ingredients, making them feel more luxurious than ordinary sushi rolls and setting a tone of prosperity for the months ahead. Some people go to fancy specialty shops to get theirs, and others make their own at home. But today, we’re going searching for ehomaki at the convenience store.

In recent years, convenience stores have started offering their most deluxe ehomaki on a preorder-only basis, but the big three chains, 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson, still have ehomaki you can just walk in and buy too. Making the rounds, we found that this year each one of them has a kaisen (seafood) ehomaki, so that’s the type we bought for this three-way taste test.

First up, pictured below is 7-Eleven’s Umi no Sachi (“Blessings of the Sea”) Ehomaki, which has salmon, scallops, and ikura (salmon roe) as its fillings, as well as cucumber and egg.

Next is Family Mart’s Kaisen Ehomaki, with king salmon, scallops from Mutsu Bay in Aomori, snow crab, egg, and cucumber.

And finally, here’s Lawson’s Kaisen Ehomaki, with marinated tsukemaguro tuna, sliced and diced salmon, egg, and, you guessed it, cucumber.

▼ Left to right: Lawson, Family Mart, and 7-Eleven

Technically, you’re supposed to hold the ehomaki in both hands and bite into it, uncut, to receive all of the good luck the sushi roll bestows. However, since we had a panel of five taste-testers trying them out, we had to slice our ehomaki up, so we’re not sure if eating them made us any luckier.

But honestly, can you really say that anyone with three plates of sushi isn’t lucky?

Our taste-testing panel was kept unaware of which ehomaki came from which convenience store, in order to eliminate any preconceptions that could influence their impressions. When it came time for them to each vote for their favorite, though, they were in a quandary.

All of the ehomaki were pretty good. Not gourmet level, but perfectly tasty for something picked up to-go from a convenience store. Some felt that one or the other might have had a little more or less vinegar in the rice, but it was a small difference, and across the board the three ehomaki all felt very close in terms of total quality and deliciousness.

Our panel had to pass judgement, though, and eventually one of them picked what turned out to be 7-Eleven’s ehomaki as the best, one chose Family Mart’s, and the remaining three picked Lawson’s.

Still, with everyone on the panel saying they enjoyed all three sushi rolls almost entirely equally, you could call this a draw, right? Maybe, but when you take one more factor into account, Lawson is the clear winner here.

For its Kaisen Ehomaki, Family Mart charges 600 yen (US$4.15), after sales tax, and 7-Eleven wants even more, 861 yen, for its Umi no Sachi Ehomaki, But Lawson’s Kaisen Ehomaki?

It’s only 550 yen, and if all three ehomaki are equally enjoyable in terms of taste, the least expensive one is the most satisfying overall, especially since these guys are going to need to go buy another ehomaki to eat uncut, just to be sure they’re getting their good luck for Setsubun.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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