Okay, let’s be real for a second.
Everyone that’s ever been to Japan raves nonstop about konbinis. Japanese convenience stores really are on another level - and for most visiting westerners, they’re a major highlight of their trip. From instant noodles and bento lunches, to onigiri rice balls and sweet pastries - there’s enough delicious stuff at a Japanese 7-11 to make any foreigner’s mind blown. We get it, guys! Unwrapping a tuna-mayo onigiri in an easy 3-step method is really charming the first 10 or so times you do it. We’ve all been there.
But hear me out. There’s a sleeper hit waiting for you on those refrigerated shelves - right next to your beloved rice balls. Enter the 7-11 sando.
Source *Que the angelic chorus*
Sandwiches, you say? But - I’m in Japan! I can get a sandwich anywhere I want back home! This is true, but I’m telling you, the Japanese style sandos at 7-11 will defy everything you’ve ever thought you knew about the world of white bread.
Still not convinced? Let’s break down some of the best varieties of sando on offer at 7-11, and by the end, I guarantee you’ll make room for one…. or seven… or eleven. Don’t judge.
Source This ain’t your momma’s egg salad.
Easily the most iconic of them all - in the world of Japanese style sando, 7-11’s egg salad reigns supreme. Even the late legend Anthony Bourdain was in on the secret.
The filling itself is rich in both flavor and texture. As you bite in, creamy egg yolk mixed with Japanese mayo and other special ingredients (such as a hint of sugar) explodes forth. Bite sized bits of bouncy egg white provide a satisfying chew to round out the experience. The bread itself is as aesthetically pleasing with it’s triangular form as it is soft and pillowy.
Once you’ve tried the egg salad sandwich, there is no going back.
Source The ebi katsu sando is simple satisfaction
While westerners may cringe at the thought of seafood from the convenience store, there’s really no need to worry about that in Japan. Konbinis are stocked with fresh food several times a day, so you can be sure that anything on the shelf is more than safe to eat.
Fresh shrimp is formed into a patty, breaded with panko and then deep fried like a cutlet. Topped with crisp cabbage and a dangerously delicious tartar sauce, the ebi katsu sando is a personal favorite of mine. It really stands out from the rest. The subtle shrimp flavor goes really well with the tangy sauce and fluffy white bread, and it’s perfect for a quick lunch on the go.
While other 7-11 sandwiches may lack substance, this bad boy will leave you satisfied.
Source Strawberry sandooo foreverrrr
Yup. Don’t act so surprised, this is Japan we’re talking about! Expand your horizons! It’s the 21st century! Sandwiches aren’t just for lunch anymore!
The Japanese take strawberry season seriously, and if you’re around during the start of the new year, it will be hard to miss a variety of strawberry sweets and other sundries available all over the country.
We’ve all had strawberry mochi - that’s old news, man! We’d be willing to bet you’ve never seen a strawberry sandwich in your own neck of the woods!
Four fresh strawberries are smothered in both whipped cream and custard filling before snuggling between two pieces of typical sando style bread. It may sound weird at first, but it does a perfect job of balancing out the sweetness. This sando is the perfect way to enjoy fresh Japanese strawberries on the go.
Don’t tell us we never turn you on to the good stuff, okay?
We bet those rice balls aren’t sounding so sugoi anymore, are they? To be fair, the Japanese Konbini is certainly a spectacle to behold - and everyone has the right to enjoy whatever snacks they’d like, we won’t judge you for it.
All we ask is that next time you visit Japan, give the sandos a shot. They really are the sleeper hit for your next Japanese food tour.