Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Konbini in Japan - Lawson, Lawson Natural, Family Mart

Convenience stores are ubiquitous in Japan, more so than supermarts or hypermarts. To be honest, in the 10 days in Japan and various stops along the way, I have only encountered one supermart in Osaka, two departmental marts in Tokyo and that was it. Most of the daily necessities were obtained from konbini. 7-11 tops the country's number of convenience stores but I actually encountered more of Lawson and Family Mart.

Lawson and Lawson Natural are the equivalent of NTUC and NTUC Finest. The latter supposedly sells more organic and healthier options. The range was more pricey as well.

Bento Set 

It amuses me so seeing the calorie stated on most of the bento sets, as if a stark reminder to consumers to mind the weight regardless. I love bento sets for the variety, especially the little cups that take up most of the box.


tonkatsu dinner


Pumpkin cheese salad, Sauteed spinach, Breaded Pork cutlet, Breaded fish cutlet

Yummy, yummy, yummy!  Adored the rice made of barley and brown rice...so very wholesome. Nothing to fault about this, given that I have eaten worse bento sets on board the Shinkansen.

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Underestimate the soba...not! This was purchased chilled and when the counter guy asked if we wanted to heat it up, we declined. Upon opening it did we realise the soba gravy had coagulated into jelly and with much embarrassment, we brought it back to be microwaved.

Unbelievable but it's mad delicious. Chewy soba noodles with the familiar noodle sauce and best of all, in all its soggyness..the tempura prawn was actually delish! I can't quite fathom how the Japanese do this but food does taste so awesome even when cold.

peach jelly

Peach Jelly

I should have known better than to stop at one. Fruits are over the rainbows expensive in Japan. Be prepared to shell out 600 Yen for a punnet of strawberries in Osaka and at least double in Tokyo. As such, fruit jellies are the next best alternative! Even fruit tarts are exorbitantly priced. Not too sweet, the cup of jelly was precious and so very delicious. Wobbly jelly with the juiciest peach within. A far cry from the familiar canned orange peaches that we have here, those in Japan tasted not as preserved somehow.

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Morning onigiris which I had. Priced at a pop of 105 yen, this was the cheapest breakfast ever.

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Sea kelp

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Tuna

The other flavours available were chicken, mentaiko and plum. Very decent rice balls and they filled us up with enough energy to last the day's walk.

daifukus

Not forgetting their 84 Yen Daifukus which became a daily staple as well. Three main flavours this comes in : Black bean, Green Tea, Original. All three, tried and tested...the last two are my top favourites. Black bean tends to be a tad tougher and salty.

twin desserts from natural lawson

Desserts which we could not resist. Tubs of dessert were mostly sold out by the end of day...we had our share of it too!

mont blanc pud

I insisted on trying a Mont Blanc pudding since I failed to hunt down any Japanese Mont Blanc. Crest fallen and dejected, I had to make do with a pudding.

Utter sadness this was. Nothing too memorable with all the cream and boring curd jelly. Same went for the creme brulee pudding.

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Under the brand of Morinagawa, this pudding was an exact replica of a torched custard pudding...only the torched layer was not crispy. The bestest pudding of the whole trip with wobby custard...absolutely delish! The most amazing part of it greeted us towards the bottom, a lovely drizzle of gula melaka sauce. Yummmmmy!
vending machine love

Just two of the beverages we managed to grab for our journey to Mount Fuji.

Honey apple juice and Van Houten Chocolate drink. Nothing too extraordinary but of the two, juice triumphs.

The thing about civic consciousness is when the government trusts you enough not to have to prohibit you from eating on trains. Japanese like Europeans are given full reign and personal responsibility not to abuse the system. Eating and drinking is perfectly allowed on trains...which gave us more reason to pack along snacks to curb the greed hunger pangs.

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Caramel Collon

Nothing too different from the vanilla ones I'm familiar with. The only other variations I've come across is Portugese Eggtart flavoured ones in Macau.

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Glico Pasta Sticks

Even before going, I've set my mind on trying these out. Shaped just like sticks of pasta..these savoury snacks were so well flavoured, polishing off a pack was easy peasy. Would be perfect with a mug of icecold beer.

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Still riding high on Glico's draw...until Japan, I've only associated Glico with Pocky sticks. Period. Yet in Japan, the possibilities throw you off guard. Just on cheese snacks alone, they have a complete range.

Here's 52% cheese, methinks cheddar given the orangey hue. Mildly flavoured, this was easy to digest for the non-cheese lovers. Cheddar's a lot more palattable and likeable as opposed to blue cheese or even edam. I found it delicious though a tad light.

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51% Blue Cheese. Only meant for hardcores. I absolutely found delight in them. So pungent...anti-fans would retch at the mere whiff. AWESOME replication of blue cheese! Tastes just like blue cheese lathered on a cracker, only better.

cheeze crackers

51% Brie was still considerably light-tasting.

What makes Glico's cheese snack range rock is the crunch of the biscuits. They aren't crumbly like Cheezel Cheese biscuits nor Nabisco's cheese cookies...these pack a whole lot of addition as well. I'd gladly trade my unhealthy chips for these anyday!

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More of the junk.

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Chocolate pucca!

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I wish I had time to munch through all the snacks I wanted to.

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Yogurt coated sticks for more of the munching..

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Buttered mini loaves that we do have locally as well but...but...I couldn't resist!

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The only reason why this was even purchased was....Kinki Kids endorses this. No prizes for guessing who in the family is a humongous fan.

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Normal mamee if you ask me.

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Chip Choc which Mcdonalds did a pastry version of. That HAD to say something about it!

Concert tickets and cosmetics are some of the different items they retail. I spent a great deal of time shuttling in between konbini stores...each seemed to carry a different range and best of all, they filled us up so well at ungodly hours! Just a tip, the kit kat range in their convenience stores are limited to the normal Kitkat and dark kit kat.

6 comments:

  1. heh, budget friendly onigiri breakfasts.

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  2. yessss...im missing them so! :(

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  3. I think you can get all the titbits at Yamakawa Super haha. They look really familiar.

    phoebe, in your previous post, you mentioned your parents. All this while, I thought you went with your sis only!

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  4. @ ice: hahah i figured out so...but it's eating them in japan that makes the difference! *hiaks*

    LOL...i guess they hardly appear in pics much hence the misconception... :) was a family trip but the foodie adventures were mostly with the sis.

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  5. Um...I have a question! For the custard pudding, isn't the gula melaka sauce usually at the top? Like, if it were in a container like the one shown in the picture, isn't there usually a little thing you can break at the bottom that makes the pudding slide out of its container so that the sauce will be at the top?

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  6. @anon: on the contrary, this was at the bottom..and we didnt bother too much about flipping the pudding to eat! :) Laziness on a holiday but I suppose what you mentioned does work.

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