Onigirazu – Rice Sandwiches

Family Mart Sando Omusubi
Family Mart Sando Omusubi

Onigiri or omusubi are savory stuffed rice balls that are often wrapped in nori. The shape is traditionally a triangle. Onigiri is something we eat at least once a week. These are perfect for picnics, hiking, as a quick meal or snack. But the onigiri is not perfect. The stuffings are concentrated in the center and the edges are not as flavorful as the middle.

The onigirazu, or sandwich omusubi, takes care of that. With the new and very popular onigirazu, every bite will include some of the stuffing. Better yet, if you are making these at home, it simply requires a folding technique. No fancy squeezing and molding to get the triangle shape.

Onigirazu, which actually means onigiri without forming or molding. Brilliant name for something that I wish I would have thought of long ago.

Sando Omusubi
Sando Omusubi

Cookbook shelves have about a half dozen books on the topic. Today I found a “Sando Omusubi” (sandwich omusubi) at Family Mart, a popular convenience store. It was almost twice as expensive as the regular onigiri, I guess as there is more rice and stuffings. Usually the rice balls start at about 100 JPY, but this was for almost 200 JPY.

This is the sando omusubi out of the package.

Tuna and Cheese
Tuna and Cheese

Tuna mayo, canned tuna and mayonnaise, is a popular flavor. Here you can see how the generous stuffing goes all the way to the edges.

Now that these are being sold at convenience stores we know that it is no longer a trend among mothers making these for their kids, but that it has reached the mainstream market.

Please let me know if you try these and how you think they compare to the traditional ones. I am a big fan of the new and improved omusubi/onigiri.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Hello Yukari! I learned about onigirazo just earlier this month from a Japanese friend here in Boston. I became obsessed with them so I decided to write an article on it for The Boston Globe. http://tinyurl.com/mhw8rfl. Research was fun!! Do you know it appeared in the “Cooking Papa” awhile back?
    Love learning the latest, which is sometimes a re-discovery!

    1. Yes, its origins date back to the Cooking Papa manga, but only now has it caught on. Hope you are well!

  2. Jeff Gordon says:

    Thanks so much. My grandson loves these bites. Jeff

    1. You’ll have to try making this version for him, or is this what you are talking about? So yummy!

  3. dosirakbento says:

    I discovered these recently and love them as well. (I actually even blogged about it some time last month)
    Thanks for the background info, I agree that they are better than onigiri because you get more filling 😊

    1. Oishii desu ne. 🙂

      1. Oliver says:

        oh holy goodness…why did it take so long to share this with out of town guests! Thank you once again Yukari, you rock! Tried the Taco Rice !

  4. 🙂 This is soooooo oishii.

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