When I was in Taiwan, a friend of mine was super excited about going to the 7-Eleven there. I didn’t understand why because it was just a convenience store to me, but then I realized it’s because the 7-Elevens there had a lot more than just your typical corner store. Steaming bowls of fish balls, interesting little snacks and even something called onigiri. Even though it’s triangular in shape, it’s technically a “rice ball”. It’s an easy “pick-up-and-go” type of snack and is relatively healthy in comparison to some other snacks out there.
Although I discovered it in Taiwan (and was happy to eventually find it in Canada), it originated from Japan. It is very similar to sushi in that it has nori, rice and fillings such as salmon, tuna, etc., but it’s actually different because it uses plain rice instead of the sticky, sushi rice with vinegar, salt and sugar. What’s interesting about this particular snack is the way it is assembled. It takes three simple steps to open it up:
Step 1: Peel off the long, red center strip.
Step two: Carefully remove the right sleeve.
Step three: Gently remove the left sleeve.
And there you have it! Onigiri. Why is this ingenious? It’s all in the packaging. The reason for this intricate wrapping job is to prevent the nori from becoming soggy, so wrapping it in a way to prevent it from being in contact with the rice actually protects it from moisture until you remove it. Smart, no? 🙂
The one I had above is a mix of rice with spicy salmon, but it can also come in tuna, eel, pork flakes, etc. If you ever come across an odd looking triangular snack in the fridge of your local grocery store, you know what it is now. 😉