Once upon a time, my favourite thing to do in Tokyo was shopping at Harajuku. Now, it’s shopping at combini stores haha. There are at least 4 other combinis within 5-7min walk from my hotel at Hundred Stay Shinjuku, including a Family Mart and 7-Eleven across the road. In fact, the first thing I did after checking in to my hotel was to head for 7-Eleven so I could experience the Combini Culture.
Look at these shelves of awesomeness!
They also sell fried snacks which taste very decent. The branch near my hotel fries them in small batches, on site.
Very cheap croquette with beef filling. Crisp on the outside, fluffy inside. Yums 😋
This giant sausage is unexpectedly delicious. Meaty, juicy, salty, we enjoyed this so much I bought it twice. It comes with mustard and ketchup, and costs just ¥143 (S$1.76). Seriously cheap. It’d probably cost double that in Singapore.
The orange bao with the cute print is — get this — a pizza 🍕 bao. Funnily enough, eating a steamed bun with tomato-ey, cheesy filling is actually pretty good. We need this in Singapore.
I love this onsen egg onigiri from 7-Eleven! It’s not found in every store, took me a while to hunt it down.
Clockwise from left: Salmon, Onsen egg, Shrimp Mayo and Beef. Two or three of these are enough for a meal. Oh gawd, we ate so many onigiris, I kept feeling guilty because I was totally going against the Ministry of Health’s advice from the anti diabetes campaign.
But that’s the beauty of Japanese combinis. There’re tons of delicious ready-made food like onigiri, oden, bentos and guilty pleasures like fried snacks.
Here’s some photos I borrowed from Travel Happy Japan blog. Other than the ‘My Basket’ store next to my hotel, these are my favourite combinis that I frequented.
They were having an onigiri promo when we were there. Just ¥100 each! I really wanted to buy the oden but every time I walked in, I was melting from the summer heat and just didn’t feel like tucking into steaming hot food.
Usually found at AND inside train stations, which was a huge help when we were very hungry one time and really needed food before we made our hour-long train journey to Kamakura.
Combinis are great for grab n go meals like sandwiches and bento boxes. Even though I’ve been to Tokyo so many times, I’m still impressed by their huge selection of fresh cooked food that are reasonably priced. You can easily put together a tasty meal for ¥500 to ¥600.
Lawson’s Fried Chicken is super yummy, apparently, but I forgot to try it! Here’s a pic I borrowed from Eater.com. Still kicking myself for missing this one out. Costs about ¥200 each.
Family Mart also has their versions of fried chicken, which come as a boneless patty (photo from pinterest) or a drumstick. I tried the boneless one and found it nicely flavoured, not too salty and crispy.
You’ll find a combini (or several!) on every street so you’ll never go hungry. But for something a little more refined and atas, check out the many food halls in Japan’s shopping malls in the next part of my Tokyo series.
Tokyo Part 3: Atas Food Halls VS Affordable Supermarkets