Japanese convenience stores are an invaluable resource for travelers, selling products ranging from lunch boxes and sweets to toothbrushes and even underwear. Conveniently located near train stations and hotels, the stores are also open 24 hours, adding to their attractiveness. With many affordable products, some people do their souvenir shopping at the “conbini.”
Here are a few regional products perfect for commemorating a trip to Miyagi Prefecture. These five top recommendations can easily be found at the JR Sendai Station NewDays convenience store and in local branches of the national Lawson chain.
- Table of Contents
- 1. Yamadai’s “Sugomen Sendai Spicy Miso Ramen” (Purchased at NewDays)
- 2. Josen’s “Grilled Rice Ball with Sendai Miso” (Purchased at Lawson)
- 3. Glico’s “Giant Pretz Beef Tongue” (Purchased at NewDays)
- 4. Calbee’s “Jagabee Zunda Flavor” (Purchased at NewDays)
- 5. Fujiya’s “Look Chocolate Zunda” (Purchased at NewDays)
1. Yamadai’s “Sugomen Sendai Spicy Miso Ramen” (Purchased at NewDays)
Cup noodles, often prepared simply by adding nothing more hot water, are a staple of convenience stores, and you’ll find a wide variety lining shelves. From long-time favorites to limited-time items, you may have trouble deciding which to buy!
Yamadai’s “Sugomen Sendai Spicy Miso Ramen” is one that will give you that authentic ramen shop taste. Part of the “local series” of popular types of ramen from all over Japan, it features Sendai miso which has been around since the time of the city’s first feudal lord, Date Masamune.
The main garnish, bean sprouts, are raw and crisp. To make the noodles, first, put “kayaku” (seasoning) on the noodles, add hot water, and close the lid. After five minutes, add the other included ingredients and the contents of the soup stock packet, and it’s done.
The mellow scent of miso rises the moment you open the lid, and the rich, spicy soup combined with the firm noodles will satisfy your appetite. The texture of the noodles is an irresistible highlight of the Sugomen noodle line, and since they aren’t fried, they have fewer calories than typical cup noodles. That, along with plenty of vegetables, makes for an excellent cup!
2. Josen’s “Grilled Rice Ball with Sendai Miso” (Purchased at Lawson)
Onigiri rice balls are without a doubt a main offering of convenience stores. There are plenty to choose from, of course, but one that embodies “Miyagi” is the “Grilled Rice Ball with Sendai Miso” sold at Lawson.
The key ingredient to the rice ball’s flavor is Sendai miso from Sendai Miso Shoyu Co. (Johsen), founded in 1919. Standard Sendai miso is dry, but the kind used in this grilled rice ball has a mellow taste that brings out the sweetness of the rice. Only sold at long-established Lawson, it’s a flavorful morsel.
When you take a bite, the rich sweetness of miso on the surface will put a smile on your face, and the aroma unique to grilled rice balls adds yet another accent. Warming it up first will intensify the aroma, flavor, and soft texture - and store staff will gladly warm yours up if you ask.
3. Glico’s “Giant Pretz Beef Tongue” (Purchased at NewDays)
Glico’s “Giant Pretz Beef Tongue” reproduces the deliciousness of Sendai’s specialty gourmet beef tongue. Only available in the Tohoku region, it’s a popular souvenir purchase.
Each pack contains 14 individually wrapped portions, and at 0.8 cm in diameter and 21 cm long, as the name suggests, they are longer and thicker than regular Pretz.
As soon as you open one up, you’ll get a fragrant, meaty scent just like that of a beef tongue restaurant. The Pretz is crispy and has a rich, but light, sweet and spicy flavor. Doused with coarsely ground pepper, these snacks are perfect with a beer.
4. Calbee’s “Jagabee Zunda Flavor” (Purchased at NewDays)
Zunda, a paste made by mashing edamame beans, is another local dish representative of Miyagi. At cafes and teahouses throughout Sendai, you can enjoy a wide variety of zunda dishes, cakes, and drinks inspired by “zunda mochi,” which is made by combining zunda with mochi rice cakes.
Zunda is often used in sweets and snacks, and many can be purchased in JR Sendai Station’s gift shops. Among those, Calbee’s “Jagabee Zunda Flavor” potato snack is great for sharing with friends and coworkers.
There are 5 packets to a box and the picture of Date Masamune’s helmet on the bright yellow-green packaging will evoke memories of Sendai.
With every crunchy bite, the dense edamame flavor and light saltiness will delight your tastebuds. Most zunda snacks are sweets, but individuals with less of a sweet tooth will enjoy these.
5. Fujiya’s “Look Chocolate Zunda” (Purchased at NewDays)
When you open the package, you’ll see 12 bite-sized chocolates.
Each piece contains two layers of whipped cream and zunda cream. The sweetness of the milk chocolate and the fresh zunda are a perfect match, and the elegant scent is exquisite! The texture is enjoyable, as is the sweet aftertaste.
Since the products available at convenience stores change often, you’re sure to discover something new on any given day, like seasonal lunch boxes or drinks. So when you visit a convenience store in Miyagi, be sure to look for interesting options, including these 5 tasty items!
Text by: Shoe Press Co., Ltd.
*The information in this article is accurate as of April 2021. Please check the official websites for the latest information.
English translation by Gabriel Wilkinson
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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