Useful for travel

How to buy Halal onigiri in Japanese convenience store?

Addictive and yummy triangle light snack.

When you come to Japan, you may be surprised to see so many convenience stores or called as “Conbini” for short.

If you are walking in the center of Tokyo Metropolitan, you may sometimes see two of the same chain convenience stores standing opposite to each other. They are open 24/7, with lots of facilities like ATM, copying machine, shipment, or whatever the service you can come up with.

Rice ball, or Onigiri, is one of the popular light snacks for Japanese as well as tourists. This small triangle is very yummy and addictive, with a very interesting plastic wrapping to keep the seaweed separated from rice to ensure crispy texture.

There are countless number of flavors, so we would like to talk about how you can best choose Halal or Muslim-friendly rice ball in Japanese Conbini.

Seven Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson.

Let’s get to know about Japanese Conbini first.

There are three major convenience stores, Seven Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson. They are available throughout Japan, and you may not have difficulty finding one unless you go somewhere very far from city. Most of the items available in the convenience stores are the same, but sometimes there are some special products sold, too.

Plus, there are quite a few local convenience stores.

In Hokkaido, there is Seico Mart (セイコーマート), a convenience store from Hokkaido which is very popular and famous, or there is Mini Stop (ミニストップ) in Chubu region. It will be interesting to find a difference between the stores.

What are the Onigiri flavors that usually can be Halal?

There are so many flavors for Onigiris. Because there are local-limited or temporary flavors, it is extremely difficult to tell you all of the flavors in convenience stores, however, there are some standard flavors, which usually do not contain any meat or alcohol. Let’s see what flavors they are.

The standard flavors that do not contain meat are as follows:

  • Kombu seaweed (昆布)*
  • Grilled salmon (鮭)
  • Salt (塩)
  • Tuna Mayonnaise (ツナマヨ)*
  • Umeboshi Salted Plum (梅干し)
  • Tarako fish roe (たらこ)*
  • Okaka (おかか)*

The above Asterisk* means the ingredients that may have residual alcohol in their recipe. As it is not mentioned in the label, please avoid if you do not want to take a risk.

These flavors are also available in the Onigiri restaurant, too.

What else do Muslims have to know about Conbini Onigiri?

One thing that you really have to be careful of is Seaweed or Nori.

Some seaweed is seasoned with soy sauce and Mirin, which is called as Ajitsuke Nori (味付け海苔). If they are using this seaweed, you can find alcohol as their ingredients, which you can tell from the label. Even though you are choosing a right ingredient, you may be taking a food item that contains tiny portion of alcohol, so we ask you not to choose the one with Ajitsuke Nori.

You can check with the staff with the following sentence:

このおにぎりは味付け海苔ですか? Is this Onigiri using seasoned seaweed?

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Try to grab when you find a Muslim-friendly one!

To reduce the food waste, now there are less Onigiris in the convenience stores, because the expiry date of the rice ball is quite short.

There are so many flavors, but it does not mean that there is always a Muslim-friendly flavor available for you. We would like to say that when you find a flavor that has no alcoholic seasoning or meat, grab it right away.

Recipe also can be slightly different depends on the shop too, so make sure to check the ingredients before you really consume it.

You can learn more about Japanese side dishes in this article!