If you go shopping at convenience stores in Japan, you will see a variety of packaged rice balls lined up on the shelf. These Japanese rice balls are generally called “Onigiri (おにぎり)” or “Omusubi (おむすび)”. Onigiri is commonly used in the eastern part of Japan, whereas Omusubi tends to be used in the western part. It is said that the word onigiri is derived from the word nigirimeshi, so both the words are used to refer to the popular snack.
Onigiri is a great example of how inventive Japanese cuisine can be. It is comfort food made from steamed rice formed into the typical triangular, ball, or cylinder shapes usually wrapped with nori (dried seaweed) and filled with such things as tuna, salted salmon, umeboshi (pickled plum), and kombu seaweed. Onigiri is one of the simplest yet most beloved Japanese foods, enjoyed by everyone from small children to adults. Quick and easy to make, onigiri keeps well and is highly portable, making it a convenient bento item, a quick bite between meals, or combined with soup and other items for a simple and filling meal.
With a wide variety of types and fillings available, there’s a rice ball out there for everyone.