One of the things I love so much about Japan is that you can go to a konbini or convenience store anywhere in the big cities, and get really healthy, cheap food. I often have salads, sometimes with prawns or other protein in them, a little bit of pasta, and some salad dressing on the side. The great thing is – every pack is marked so you know EXACTLY how much fat, protein, carbs and overall calories are in your item.
As you can see, they are pretty small by western standards…so just buy a few! I actually like having lots of little different types of food – it’s like assmbling your own bento box
As I mentioned, you can buy a sachet of salad dressing separately, in various flavours, and again with the calories helpfully delineated on the back.
I thought some greens might be healthy, so got a mixed dish with what looked like bok choy, beans, a little potato and egg.
And look, each dish was only 198 yen, which is around $2.45 AUD. This is why many of us say it’s actually cheap to eat in Japan…if you go to the right places.
Sometimes I grab a tuna salad if I haven’t had time to eat before going out…just grab on the way home, eat in the hotel room, freshen up and head out again!
And some pics of the other lovely food items on display….
At the top of the above pic you can see a row of little sandwiches…they are my fave thing to have on hand in the bar fridge at the hotel, for those hangover mornings when you need a bit of sustenance before heading out. Tuna & mayonnaise is my favourite. There are also soups, pastas and hot foods for those who want a hot meal.
The only time I saw an empty shelf in a grocery store/kombini was just after the tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown, when everyone was buying bottled water in bulk, not being sure if the drinking water was safe. Apparently it was safer than the amount of radiation in Europe’s water, but there you go, such was the media influence and scared uncertainty of the time.
Another tip of mine for those who need a coffee in the morning to get going, is to get a couple of coffees in cans the night before, and stash them in your bar fridge. They go ever so well with the sandwiches, and help you to be alert enough to go out and get a real coffee from a coffee shop.
I have to admit I’ve done a 2am konbini run when I’ve been awake and starving in my hotel room – what a godsend to hungry people in the middle of the night!
If you haven’t yet been to Japan, I tell you don’t be afraid of just walking in and having a nose around (you can even get beers and other alcohol there too). If you’ve been, what were your favourite delicacies from the kombini? Sushi rolls? The steamed buns or fried chicken near the checkouts? Or what?