Autumn bento and onigiri rice balls hit the konbini

Jade provides some more selections to be had at your local konbini this autumn.

It seems that my prediction that Family Mart is on the rise is true, at least if this map is any
indication… I am predicting big things… remember, you heard it here first!

family mart all over the map, hiroshima

I’m also very impressed with all the new sit-down café options that are available in newly renovated Family
Marts around Hiroshima. Dragging my feet on the ay home from work the other day, I stopped in at the Family Mart just across from Yours Supermarket in front of Tokaichi-machi streetcar stop and have a rest. They have a lovely counter where you can sit and watch the world go by while sipping on a coffee or nibbling a sweet snack or two.

Anyway, let’s keep the new products/autumn theme going and talk about a few more I’ve been feasting on
the past week or so at konbini [コンビニ].

7-11 Mixed Plate bento

Firstly, the new autumn bento [弁当] or lunchbox from 7-Eleven. This guy is packed full of delicious goodies and as you can see from the box, is called a mikkusu-pureeto [ミックスプレート] or ‘mixed plate.’ I liked the sound of that and I wasn’t disappointed. You get a few wedges of potato (yes, they actually taste like the Western kind you’re used to… you just need some sour cream…), a hamburger pattie, a wiener (I love those things!) and some fried chicken pieces coated in a lovely mayonnaise sauce. Yum! This is possibly my new favourite because I have often wished that I could take all the best bento bits (I’m talking deep-fried stuff) and combine them to make a super bento. VOILA! Wish granted and I didn’t have to lift a finger. Thank you 7-Eleven from the bottom of my heart!

7-Eleven also has a new onigiri [おにぎり] rice ball. It contains shiso [しそ] or perilla leaf and chirimen [ちりめん] which are young sardines. Very young. They’re those teeny-weeny little fish that are almost translucent and the only thing you can really see are their eyes. I’m a huge fan of them, but many Westerners have told me they cannot bear eating fish that are staring up at them with little eyes. I figure they’re dead and I cannot resist their salty deliciousness. Saying that though, the onigiri itself is fairly bland and I was a little disappointed.

family mart tempura bento
Family Mart Tempura Bento

Now… to my absolute delight… introducing a new product from Family Mart that just might be the taste of things to come from the newly merged conglomerate. This is a true winner. A small (but not too small) bento of vegetables and ebi [えび] or shrimp tempura [天ぷら], the Wonderful Battered and Deep Fried Food of the Gods, atop a bed of perfectly cooked rice with a small sachet of soy sauce to drizzle over at your konbinience.

WOW.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. It’s one of the few bento I can say that not only filled me up, but also satisfied me enough to stop me eating something else even though I was full. Family Mart, you are the man! I knew you’d come through for me! The only criticism I have is that being tempura, it’s best when it’s fresh (and thus, nice and crispy) and since this is pre-packaged food, it does go a little soggy in the microwave. It’s a small price to pay though for such a great meal.

Oh oh, completely forgot and just discovered it today… 7-Eleven has revamped their osekihan onigiri too. I wasn’t too sure after the first bite – it’s not as salty somehow… or maybe it’s
something else… I can’t quite put my finger on it. It is quite different, though still my favourite onigiri so I kept chomping along and ended up finishing it very happy indeed.

Autumn is the season for eating, so bon appétit!

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