Japanese Rice Balls (Onigiri): What’s Inside?

  • FOOD
  • Who doesn’t love a quick snack that is healthy and full of nutrition? Japanese rice balls are great, convenient and quick, pre-wrapped, and easy to eat. No utensils required. Before you chow down on an unknown filling, get to know your rice balls (onigiri)!

    The insides are a mystery. Some stores are kind enough to put pictures on the front to let you know the joy within. Some, however, are not so kind. You have to rely on your kanji skills! If you have moved here recently, this is a Russian roulette of a taste test. Prices range from 100 Yen – 200 Yen depending on the filling.

    Ume (Pickled Plum)

    A little tart and sour, this is the perfect rice ball to wake you up in the morning, or give you a quick jolt of salt when you are experiencing another Japanese cultural phenomena, the monster hangover. I love ume riceballs most, after an epic nomihodai or two.

    Tuna Mayonnaise

    A safe and friendly option for those nervous to enter the world of Japanese cuisine. Canned tuna and mayo is as safe and Western as you can get, despite it being surrounded by rice and sandwiched between dried seaweed.

    Mentaiko (Cod Roe)

    As previously stated in http://jpninfo.com/26587 I am a super big fan of fish eggs. This way you get to enjoy the deliciousness of the fish eggs without the mess and massive leftover container of sea beasts. If you want to foray into the wild land of fish eggs, consider this a safe, easier to manage option.

    Shake (Salmon)

    A flaky healthy salted salmon, this is another foreigner safe rice ball. Everyone love salmon, and with rice and seaweed it is simply amazing! I personally think they are the best for breakfast, or a quick snack when you need some protein and carbs to get you through a long meeting.

    If you are feeling very adventurous, just grab a random rice ball off the convenience store shelf, pay for it, peel of the wrapper, and enjoy the surprise. You could get an omelet, grilled beef, vinegar chicken, or just a whole mess of pickled greens in the middle.

    Happy Eating!

    Related Articles:

    Let’s make Onigiri: The Perfect Japanese Rice Ball
    Onigiri: Sushi’s poor brother?