One of the joys of a business trip to Japan is, after all, good Japanese food! From Sushi, Ramen, Tempura, Shabu-shabu, and more, there are many different types of delicious gourmet foods in Japan, which can be enjoyed at a variety of restaurants.
Moreover, did you know that Japan’s convenience stores have more high quality products than most people would expect?
Since they are reasonably priced, they offer excellent cost performance. In this article, I will introduce you to some of the best convenience store gourmet dishes that even the Japanese, the land of gastronomy, would approve of.
If you’re on a business trip and don’t have time to go to a restaurant, give them a try.
7-Eleven is a well-known company in overseas markets. With 21,001* stores across the country, it is the largest convenience store chain in the industry. In Japan, 7-Eleven is known for the high quality of its sweets, prepared foods, bento boxes and snacks.
(*As of Oct.31, 2020.Reference: 7-Eleven Official Website>>> https://www.sej.co.jp/in/en.html )
Among all food line-ups in 7-Eleven, the Seven Premium Gold Series and Japanese sweets (“Wa sweets”) are especially recommended. Seven Premium Gold, as the name implies, is a gold package that stands out from the rest and tastes just as good as the level of a gold medal! You can enjoy the taste of a restaurant that goes far beyond the convenience store level. Try “Sumire Sapporo Noukou Miso Ramen”, “Gold Waffle Cone Matcha”, “Gold Pork Kakuni”, and “Gold Hamburger Steak”, all of which are of a quality you wouldn’t expect from a convenience store.
Another recommendation, the Japanese sweets series, is a high level of sweets for adults, from green tea sweets to seasonal sweets, mochi (sticky rice cake) sweets, and azuki (red bean) sweets. I’m also a big fan of this series and it’s definitely something you should really try!
When it comes to convenience store hot snacks, it’s Family Mart! “Famichiki”, a hand-held fried chicken snack, is a popular classic hot snack with a crispy batter and juicy meat from the inside. The other recommendation is “Pokechiki”, which is as popular as Famichiki. There are three types of flavors: plain, spicy and limited-time flavors changing with seasons. Since they are bite-sized, you can buy them all to compare tastes. All of the hot snacks can be eaten in one handful, making them the perfect accompaniment to a city stroll!
Another recommendation from FamilyMart is the “Oka-san Shokudo” (Mom’s Diner) series of side dishes. This series is based on the concept of warm and delicious motherly flavors that busy mothers juggling work and child-rearing can safely feed their children and families.
The lineup is rich in variety, from standard dishes such as edamame (green soybeans), grilled fish and “Nikujaga” (braised meat and potatoes) to trendy dishes such as green curry and fresh pasta with tomato cream and shrimp. You can enjoy the flavors of Japanese home cooking in an easy way, so be sure to give it a try.
Lawson is known for its authentic coffee and sweets. Lawson’s original coffee brand, Machi-Cafe series, based on the concept of “feeling like an authentic café anywhere, anytime,” offers a surprising 40 drink menu items (depending on the store). In addition to coffee, you can try lattes, decaf coffee, teas, fruit teas, cocoa, Japanese tea lattes, and more in Lawson just like in a cafe. And the combination of these drinks with Lawson’s Uchi-cafe series of sweets is also a must-try.
Lawson also operates the health-conscious “Natural Lawson” chain, where all products are free of preservatives and all food ingredients are made in Japan. If you are not comfortable with convenience store foods, please visit Natural Lawson.
The next one I will introduce is MINISTOP. It is not well known outside of Japan, but it is the major convenience store chain in Japan following the above-mentioned Big 3. MINISTOP is famous for its soft-serve ice cream and parfaits. Do not underestimate the convenience store’s sweets. They are known for their richness and taste just as good as the specialty shops.
The most popular are Soft Serve Ice Cream Vanilla and the Mango Parfait (available in spring & summer). Other lineups are also worth a try with full of seasonal fruit to give you a sense of the season, so if you see a MINISTOP in town, no matter in summer or in winter, don’t hesitate to jump in and try them!
Daily Yamazaki is another convenience store chain that can only be found in Japan. One of the great things about Daily Yamazaki is that they make sandwiches, including bread, and other delicacies inside the store. I used to go there for breakfast and lunch, and got their freshly baked bread and fried side dishes, which were very reasonable and delicious!
Daily Yamazaki’s freshly prepared in-store service is one of the best in the Japanese convenience store industry with a high level of service. If you see them, be sure to enjoy their top-class convenience store service in Japan. However, please note that not all stores offer this service, so it is recommended that you go to a larger store.
Japan is a major convenience store powerhouse where the foods have continued to evolve to reach an unparalleled quality globally. When you visit Japan on a business trip or vacation, don’t stop at just Sushi, Ramen and Tempura restaurants, but try the high quality convenience store foods as well!
Note : This article is accurate as of Oct 31, 2020 and may be subject to product line and packaging changes. Please check with individual stores for availability.