Once again snacks have played a large part in keeping me alive between meals. One of my favourites is the Onigiri, I think of this as the quintessentially Japanese ready to eat grab and go food, a perfect breakfast snack or for an airport waiting lounge. It’s the Japanese equivalent to a sandwich, and although it may look like a giant piece of sushi it’s not, the rice itself is unflavoured, the filling hidden within delivers a flavour punch. The nori sheet on the outside is often kept separate from the rice until you unwrap the Onigiri and combine the two, this enables the nori to keep a delightful crisp texture.
One of the best bento boxes I have ever eaten was on arrival in Kansai airport, I enjoyed my share of this feast while seated on my rucksack waiting for the bus to Nara. The bento itself contained a chicken and mushroom rice, fried chicken and a chicken meatball, just if that wasn’t enough chicken I also bought a chicken scotched egg and a tub of fried chicken skin. The crisp skin was awesome and the scotched egg with its Japanese barbecue glaze was one of the tastiest I have ever eaten.
While in Nara there was little to snack on when exploring Nara Park, so when I finally came across these giant Pork and onion Nikuman, I had to give them a go. The dough had a slightly yeasty aroma but tasted great. These Nikuman are Japanese versions of Chinese steamed buns, I have also seen them available as snacks at many convenience stores
Around Nara town there is an abundant supply of things to snack upon, the fried things from the take way space paired with the butcher shop next door, the butchers meat looks appealing, the fried things even more so. I really enjoyed the crumbed beef on sticks, simply seasoned shredded beef, coated in panko and fried. The curry croquettes were really good, with a distinctive katsu curry flavour. The potato croquette, albeit plain was very tasty with hints of ginger.
A tasty late night snack are Takoyaki, I know these cylindrical bites as Octopus balls. They are essentially a pancake batter cooked in a specific pan, while the batter is still liquid a raw a piece of octopus is inserted along with spring onion and ginger, the balls are frequently turned in the circular indentations while they cook to maintain their shape. They are served topped with Japanese barbecue sauce, mayonnaise and bonito flakes. The main problem with eating Takoyaki is the heat the retain, their round shape collapse quickly as they cool, yet the inside remains mouth blisteringly hot for a disturbingly long time.