Simon and Martina Try Steam Buns at Convenience Stores in Japan!
A Happy New Year to everyone, and we hope you had a great time during the holidays. We trust most of you have smoothly returned to the pace of regular daily routine, and Simon and Martina are also back to their video making adventures. But the winter in Japan is cold this year, so they will introduce a popular warm food available everywhere in Japan.
It’s no secret that Japanese convenience stores are unlike any other convenience stores in the world. Clean, well-lit, staffed by polite workers, and filled to the brim with tasty food and drinks, the Japanese combini defies convenience store stereotypes. One staple of the combini that is sure to please is the steam bun. Those filled with meat are known as nikuman (肉まん), and they are an incredibly popular snack that are almost always available at the front counter of any convenience store.
In their newest video, Simon and Martina venture out to the major Japanese convenience store chains to sample a variety of different buns, from the traditional to the exotic to the special edition. They also rate each bun for flavor and warmth.
Convenience stores in Japan
As many people are probably aware, Japanese combini really put the “convenience” in convenience stores. They’re not only the perfect pit stop for coffee and snacks, but also you can buy concert tickets, pick up and drop off packages, and even pay monthly bills.
They are easy to find in large cities as well as country towns, so you are guaranteed to always have one near. A large number of chains exist in Japan. Simon and Martina, in their quest for delicious nikuman, visit 7-11, Lawson, Mini Stop, and Family Mart, four of the most popular convenience store chains.
Many varieties of steam buns
The first kind of steam bun that Simon and Martina try is a special edition bun available from Lawson called the karaagekun-man. Karaage (から揚げ) is Japanese fried chicken and Karaage-kun is actually a mascot for Lawson’s chicken themed snacks, so this special edition bun is a real treat.
Another famous kind of steam bun that Simon and Martina are obsessed with is the pizza-man. For anyone who has ever lived in North America, these little treats will probably remind you of Hot Pockets. However, the pizza-man is a much softer snack with the warm steam bun exterior holding the pizza ingredients.
As is shown in the video, depending on which store you go to, you will find different qualities of pizza-man. Are you looking for something with a lot of sauce or are you someone who would prefer generous amount of cheese? These are questions you should ask when searching for the perfect pizza-man. Simon and Martina determined that the 7-11 variety were number 1, lots of cheese and generous fillings in the middle. While the Family Mart pizza-man took the number 2 spot.
Two other interesting varieties that were discovered were the dessert-like purin-man and the Korean-themed cheese takkarubi-man. Simon and Martina weren’t impressed with the sweetness overload the purin-man offered, but the cheese takkarubi-man was a better taste combination for their palettes.
When you come to Japan, visiting a convenience store should definitely be on your itinerary. As Simon says in the video, don’t spend two hours at Shibuya crossing. Spend two hours traveling between convenience stores and eating different steam buns.