There are many popular foods in Japan but the most intriguing is perhaps the onigiri. Whenever I ask students what they’ve eaten for lunch, at least one usually answers with “onigiri”. I myself eat at least two rice balls per week. So what is so special about these rice balls that they would remain a constant staple in the Japanese diet and in my lunch bag?
Rice balls are incredibly easy to make and fun to carry around. You can put just about anything into the center of a rice ball. I tend to prefer grilled salmon, tuna with mayonnaise, or deep fried chicken. They’re such a simple food but have much character to them. It’s like going through a treasure trove of packed rice wrapped in dried seaweed in order to get to the gold nugget center. No matter where you go, rice balls can come along with you. Whether it be in the office or out in the wilderness, if you have a rice ball snuggly hidden in your purse or briefcase you will never go hungry. Rice balls are one of the most filling, portable finger foods that I’ve ever become addicted to. I love them, my students love them, and we all know how to make them.
If you’ve got some properly prepared rice, a batch of seaweed, and something to stick in the center, you can easily make your own rice ball. Even if you only have the rice, if you add a little bit of salt you’ll have your very own standard rice ball, which can be just as delicious as one that is filled with grilled salmon – for example. Speaking of rice balls, I have a very delicious homemade grilled salmon one calling to me from my bag.