Written by Sandrine
Vegetarian Onigiri - Enjoy Meat Free Rice Balls On The Go
Onigiri ("rice balls") are convenient snacks which are relatively cheap and widely available. This article explains how to identify vegetarian rice balls and what they contain.
Onigiri (rice balls ) are convenient snacks widely available in Japan and East Asia. You can buy them at any convenience store, supermarket or your local kiosk In Japan. Priced affordably at around 100 - 130 yen a piece, they can be enjoyed on the go or together with other foods. Most types of onigiri in East Asia contain fish (or additional fish by-products), meat and eggs, making them not suitable for persons with halal and vegetarian diets.
Fortunately, many rice balls in Japan are made without these ingredients which means that they can be enjoyed by anyone! What you need to take notice of when buying onigiri is the type of the rice ball, which is usually written in Japanese on the wrapping. Let's take a look at some types which are usually free of animal ingredients.
Plain Salted Rice Onigiri (塩 / 塩むすび)
The simplest type of onigiri, the shio-musubi (salted plain rice ball) is made with no additional ingredients other than salt. It is available at all 7-Eleven, Lawson and Family Mart convenience stores. It will often be the cheapest rice ball in the shop, priced at around 100 yen.
Look for the kanji "塩" which means "salt" or "塩むすび" ("shio musubi" or salted rice ball). Please keep in mind that some of the rice balls at convenience stores might look plain, but can actually contain tuna or fish eggs as a filling. By choosing the one marked with the right kanji, you make sure you won't have any uncomfortable surprises when you take the first bite. The plain salted onigiri is great combined with other convenience store foods such as salads or beans.