rice balls

Japan Railways recently revealed ramen-style rice balls in its convenience stores

Walk into any Japanese convenience store or supermarket, and you’ll find a row of rice balls waiting. You can always count on the old standards, such as salmon, pickled plum, and spicy cod roe being represented, but each store also sets aside a bit of shelf space for unique, limited-time versions as well.

In the past, this form of carbohydrate-packed one-upmanship has given us such wonders as the bacon cheeseburger musubi and headscratchers as the fish butt onigiri (musubi being one of the Japanese words for “rice ball,” and onigiri the other). It’s always a flip of the culinary coin whether these outside-the-box rice balls are going to be a hit or a miss, but when we heard about ramen-style onigiri, we were immediately onboard.

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Turn rice balls into rice kitties with this adorable omusubi kit!

The Japanese words omusubi and onigiri are usually translated as “rice ball,” but there’s no rule that they have to be round. Walk into any convenience store or supermarket in Japan and you’ll find the shelves stocked with triangular versions, plus plenty that look closer to a soft-edged hockey puck than a perfectly spherical ball.

What we’re saying is that when it comes to omusubi design, your options are wide open, and with this kitty-shaped omusubi kit, they’re adorable as well.

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“Sandwich rice ball”? We give convenience store chain’s new concoction a taste

Rice balls, called onigiri or omusubi in Japanese, are a quintessential staple of Japanese lunches for people of any age. Convenience store shelves are always stocked full of many different varieties, and there are even specialty shops that sell nothing but rice balls for take-away. They can be as simple as rice flavored lightly with salt, but are more commonly found with some sort of filling like konbu (kelp with a salty-sweet soy sauce flavoring) or salmon, and wrapped with a sheet of nori seaweed.

Convenience store chain FamilyMart recently released what they call a “sando omusubi“, or a sandwich rice ball, though it doesn’t quite seem to make it to the rice-ball level…

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Shinagawa Station sells unappetizing fish butt onigiri, netizens nauseated

It’s hard not to love onigiri, those handy little triangular parcels of rice and seaweed stuffed with tasty fillings ranging from plum to fish to chicken and more. Onigiri are a ubiquitous snack in Japan, available at every convenience store in a range of varieties for the cost of a few coins. But even though conbini onigiri are usually fresh and tasty, it’s also nice to run across smaller stands and stores selling hand-made onigiri sometimes. Unless you happen to stop by this establishment inside Shinagawa Station in Tokyo – because their onigiri leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to presentation. That is unless you like eating something with a big fish butt hanging out of it…

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Onigiri in Paris: Small lunch shop brings traditional Japanese rice balls to France

Though extremely simple, Japanese onigiri, those handheld balls of rice and seasoning, are simply delicious and addicting. Dating back over 1,200 years to the Nara Period, onigiri were created as a portable snack. Now, not only have rice balls transcended the humble kitchens of old-timey Japan and nestled their way into convenience stores across the nation, they’ve also made their way abroad. Mussubi is a delightful lunch shop in Paris that has brought onigiri and bento to the people of France. With elegant and fresh ingredients tiptoeing throughout the menu, this quaint shop has earn high praise from local residents.

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