Five Japanese Convenience Store SnacksFood and Drink Society
Japan’s convenience stores are packed with an array of snacks to stave off hunger and help you get through the day. But where to start? Here we introduce five of the country’s best-known treats that offer up a small taste of Japan, whether sweet or savory.
Perhaps Japan’s most famous snack of all, Pocky takes its name from the pokkin sound the chocolate-covered biscuit sticks make when snapped. They and their savory sister snacks Pretz even have a dedicated day on November 11; all those ones lined up in 11/11 resemble the tasty sticks.
Bursting with chocolate, cookies, and personality, Black Thunder is also one of the cheapest snacks in the konbini at ¥35 a bar. Never taking itself too seriously, the brand emphasizes its position at the lower, popular end of the market each Valentine’s Day, while high-class chocolates vie for the spotlight.
Spot the extra-crunchy Jagarico potato sticks as they line up in their section of the store in cups with lids that peel off—look out for the giraffe mascot. Shaped like a French fry, but with the crunch of a potato chip, these light bites have been a hit since their 1990s launch.
The distinctive big-mouthed character on the packaging helps these popsicles to stand out in the freezer. Soda is the most common flavor, but the brand has built a name for sometimes eccentric experimentation—scoring a hit with corn potage popsicles in 2012, but flopping with Naporitan spaghetti two years later—and there are many different varieties out there.
Kaki no Tane
Senbei rice cracker fragments flavored with soy sauce and chili pepper combine with peanuts in this popular snack, which takes its name from the former’s resemblance to persimmon (kaki) seeds (tane). A 2019 online poll led manufacturer Kameda Seika to raise the ratio of rice crackers to peanuts from 60:40 to 70:30.
(Originally published in English. Banner photo © Pixta.)