One of the many things that I love about Japan are its convenience stores. Smaller than your typical gas station-sized store, the Japanese convenience stores pack quite a punch. Most of our traveling meals consisted of packages that we would buy at these convenience stores. I noticed that there are a few more “healthier” options here than those in the western hemisphere. Perhaps it is to cater to Japanese tastes, but whatever the reason, I have come to love it. There are tons of packaged foods that are not only tasty but easy to take with you on the road.
I have yet to run into a Japanese grocery store that does not have a refrigerated section sandwiches. Several kinds of sandwiches can be find, even your non-typical sandwich like the katsu sandwich. If you haven’t had katsu before, it’s pretty much a breaded and fried pork cutlet. As mentioned in a previous post, katsu can be served with rice and a specific sauce, sometimes with egg, and called katsudon or donkatsu. If served with curry/kare (kah-reh), it’s been known to be called katsu kare. However, this was the first time I’ve seen it in sandwich form.
Most of the sandwiches that I saw showed two types of sandwiches packaged together. Momma Lim’s favorite was the ham-tomato sandwich and the egg-salad sandwich. I can’t say that I had a favorite, but those were definitely up there as well!
Another thing that I really liked was to-go yoghurt smoothies. It seriously tastes like a yoghurt smoothie, except better packaged and comes with a portable straw for less spillage. It’s a great drink for the road, especially if you have children.
Onigiri, or Japanese rice balls, are also quite abundant in Japanese convenience stores. They have all kinds from plain, to those stuffed with seasoned seaweed. They package it quite well, having a sheet of plastic in between the nori (seaweed) and the rice. My guess is that it prevents the nori from becoming soft and remains nice and crispy when you eat it. One of my favorite onigiri is the smoked salmon. It’s definitely something I may entertain making for breakfast now that I have moved to Baltimore.
I definitely miss these small stores. It’d be so convenient, especially when I’m running late to class. If you’re ever there, I guarantee you, there is so much to eat in Japan! The next post will be the last one as we were leaving Japan that day. Keep your eyes peeled for posts on Singapore afterward!