I Love Konbini: Amazing Technology of Onigiri (Rice Ball)
I sometimes eat onigiri of konbini for lunch or snack.
There is a lot of variety of onigiri to choose from and it’s really delicious.
Japanese really likes onigiri.The reason is we, Japanese, have been eating this food since childhood.
This time, I’ll be introducing “Konbini Onigiri”.
One of the good points of konbini onigiri is being inexpensive.
It is usually priced between 100-150 yen, but some are also priced around 200 yen.
Especially, regular onigiri products are usually in this price range.
There are various types of onigiri in konbini that differs in shapes, fillings, wrappers and coatings.
Also, new products of konbini onigiri come out every week.
In return, many of the existing ones also get replaced and sometimes even one of my favorites.
But there are some products that still remain in the line-up for a long time.
- Tuna & Mayonnaise
- Umeboshi: pickled ume fruits common in Japan
- Tarako： salted cod roe
- Okaka: roasted and crumbled skipjack tuna
- Konbu: sliced and boiled kelp in sweetened soy sauce
My favorite one would be konbu.
Excellent packaging technology
Another thing that I’d like you to pay attention is the packaging of onigiri that keeps the nori (dried seaweed) crispy.
This packaging has been developed and repeatedly improved in order to achieve the following:
- Can be taken off easily.
- To keep the nori crispy.
- To prevent rice from sticking on the hands when removing the packaging.
(By the way, there are also type of Konbini Onigiri which its nori is not crispy.)
Let’s take a look at how the packaging is made up.
This is a wrapped onigiri.
The seal that indicates the product ingredients has been taken off. Then, the packaging is unwrapped and straightened out revealing a bag shaped sheet.
As you peel off the product label to open the sheet as shown in the picture below…
The package is divided into two pieces. (I removed the nori so you can see it clearly.)
So, the outer surface is composed of one sheet while the backside is composed of two, aligned side by side.
By the way, this great packaging is also sold for home use.
So if you plan to make an onigiri, how about give it a try?
The nori itself is a technology
The nori used for konbini onigiri actually has a lot of small holes that you would never know at first glance.
This is to make nori easy to tear off when you bite into it.
It might be difficult to see the holes just by looking at the photo.
Commitment to quality
In the case of 7-Eleven, its multiple affiliated manufacturers share their product recipes and hold meetings every week in order to implement a consistent taste throughout the country.
Just a little difference like when the rice is cooked a bit softer compared to their standard will already result to an immediate countrywide recall of the product.
In order to maintain the freshness and taste of onigiri, a thorough temperature management is also implemented.
The key point is “20 ℃”.
- To keep the taste.
- To slow down the spoilage process.
In order to make it happen, repeated tests have been done until they arrived at the best temperature which is 20 ℃.
So, onigiri products are always kept in the range of 20 ± 2 ℃ temperature from manufacturing to displaying in the store.
Special vehicles for delivery and display case are even developed for this purpose.
By the way, this “20 ℃” temperature is approximately the same temperature as the shari (vinegar-flavored rice) of sushi.
In spite of all these thorough quality and temperature control, including the efforts put on the packaging and the nori, they still managed to offer it in very affordable prices. Isn’t it amazing?
But most of all, kobini onigiri is so delicious.
And oh, by the way, if you buy a food at konbini, they’ll give you a paper towel.
I’m always glad with this kind of little service.
Oh, I’m already craving for konbini onigiri after writing this article!
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