We tried out three of the campaign items inspired by popular Korean dishes that left us saying masisseoyo.

The world seems to be increasingly aware that Japanese convenience store (konbini) food is actually pretty darn good. Inexpensive, perfectly portioned, and just plain delicious, it can be a thrifty and fast way to save on meals as you’re traveling the country. Now, for an unspecified length of time, 7-Elevens throughout Japan are also offering a bonus lineup of food items to further expand your palate in the form of a Korean Food Fair.

The campaign consists of an impressive variety of items ranging from quick bites like gimbap (seaweed rice rolls) to full meals like bibimbap (mixed rice bowls), with plenty of small side dishes and even desserts thrown into the mix. In fact, when we visited our local branch, there were so many choices that we had trouble picking just a few for sampling–but eventually arrived at the following three, which we’ll detail below.

Ganjang gejang-style onigiri with crab and miso/soy sauce mixed rice (180 yen/US$1.14)

The first item we chose was an onigiri rice ball containing red snow crab and pollock roe mayonnaise. Ganjang gejang refers to a kind of Korean dish where raw crab is marinated in a soy sauce-based sauce, and this particular combination of flavors definitely piqued our interest.

Upon taking a bite, the strong umami flavor of the rice came piercing through. While the taste of the crab wasn’t as strong as we perhaps expected, we quickly forgot all about that once we got to the burst of tarako (pollock roe) mayonnaise flavor waiting in the center. Ultimately, that flavor balanced out the rest of the flavors well, and we had scarfed down the whole thing before we knew it.

Yangnyeom chicken stick (186 yen)

Korean-style fried chicken with a sweet-and-spicy yangnyeom sauce made from gochujang (fermented red chili paste), sugar, and garlic is a favorite dish among all ages. This version at 7-Eleven adds a dash of ketchup and miso to the mix, too. It’s the perfect size for a quick snack to tide you over until a bigger meal.

Inside 7-Eleven locations, the chicken stick is located in the counter case for hot prepared foods, where you’ll also find staples like Japanese-style karaage fried chicken or nikuman steamed pork buns. That allows it to be served piping hot.

We were initially surprised that the chicken was moist and tender more so than crunchy or crispy, despite its outward appearance. While it was moderately spicy, it also had a hint of sweetness that should allow even people who have trouble with spicy food to enjoy it. We thought it was the perfect complement to the earlier onigiri.

Dalgona coffee and melty milk pudding (240 yen)

For our final pick, we chose a sweet treat in the form of the dalgona whipped coffee/chilled milk combination that was popular throughout Asia a few years ago. The dollop of whipped coffee on the top was luxuriously thick in appearance.

This layer had a lovely fluffy and light texture but was actually much bittier than we expected. Meanwhile, the milk pudding underneath it lent a gentle sweetness that was perfect for the palate. We’d definitely be buying this one again.

On a final note, select 7-Eleven Japan locations are also selling Korea’s Twinkle Pop shimmery cosmetics during the Korean Food Fair. While there’s no word yet on how long the campaign will last, thankfully, there are plenty of other places to get authentic Korean food throughout the country on a permanent basis even after it’s over.

Reference: 7-Eleven Japan
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