Kanto gets lower-calorie version of The Calorie sandwich, while other parts of Japan get an even more filling, ultra-cheap meal.

In December, Japanese convenience store chain Lawson Store 100 launched a new line called The Calorie. It’s a bit of a misnomer, as The Calorie items do not, in fact, contain a single, definitive calorie. Instead, each sandwich, snack, or other foodstuff in the line must contain at least 1,000 calories in order to earn the The Calorie designation.

We ate the initial two The Calorie items as soon as they went on sale, and it’s only now, roughly half a year later, that we’re starting to feel hungry again. So luckily for us, and all of Japan’s big eaters, Lawson is getting ready to drop, with weighty thuds, two new The Calorie items, and one of them even has considerably more calories in some parts of Japan than others.

Starting off with the standardized-across-the-country The Calorie newcomer, we’ve got the Old-Fashioned Donut Sandwich, pictured above. This is a stack of two old-fashioned donuts with a layer of sweet soy milk cream between them, and the top donut covered in chocolate. It’s an elegant solution to the dilemma we’ve all had when we want to eat two donuts at the same time, but still need a way to get some cream in there too. The Old-Fashioned Donut Sandwich clears The Calorie’s 1,000-calorie bar with 1,055 calories.

The numerical specs get more complex, though, with the Croquette Egg Sandwich. This carnival of carbs consists of potato croquettes, Japanese-style egg salad, and some very thick cuts of sandwich bread, which, unlike most convenience store sandwiches, still have their crusts on.

▼ It would run counter to the spirit of The Calorie to discard any edible portion of the sandwich, wouldn’t it?

Remember, the sandwich needs at least 1,000 calories for The Calorie certification, and the Croquette Egg Sandwich does so by being at least 1,079 calories. Why “at least 1,079?” Because that’s the sandwich’s calorie count if you buy it at a Lawson Store 100 in Tokyo or elsewhere in Kanto (east Japan). On the other hand, if you buy the Croquette Egg Sandwich farther to the west in Japan’s Kansai or Chubu regions, which include the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya, it has 1,266 calories, nearly 15 percent more!

Lawson Store 100 attributes the discrepancy as being “due to different makers and specifications,” implying that different suppliers or production centers are involved in stocking stores in Kanto and Kansai/Chubu. That said, it’s hard to believe that there’s no way the Kanto supply line could beef up the size of its sandwiches, or that the Kansai/Chubu side is just incapable of making them any smaller, considering that the overwhelming majority of sandwiches in the country are far under 1,266 calories. It is worth noting, however, that the people of Osaka have long had a reputation as big eaters, with a lot of heavy dishes in the local cuisine. Nagoya’s food culture similarly holds a high appreciation for hearty fare, so maybe it’s not so much a case of Lawson Store 100 being unable to make adjustments to downsize the Kansai/Chubu version of the sandwich so much as the chain thinking it’s less hassle to keep them bigger, since the region’s customers are likely to be happy about the extra-extra-large portion size.

The new The Calorie items break with Lawson Store 100’s customary 100-yen pricing, with the Old Fashioned Donut Sandwich costing 281 yen (US$1.80) and the Croquette Egg Sandwich, regardless of size, 322 yen, though both still seem like impressive values, considering their size. They both go on sale June 26.

Source, images: PR Times
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