Cost: 140 yen
Found at: 7-11
I was hungry, I was tired, and I saw the words “okonomiyaki” and “sauce.” That was the temptation I needed. It must have taken me 30 seconds to walk into the 7-11, grab this rice ball, pay, and rush outside to devour it in the parking lot.
I love okonomiyaki – a type of Japanese savory pancake made with egg, flour, cabbage, bacon, and a Japanese Worcestershire-style sauce. In Osaka on a Friday night, you can usually find several small stalls frying up these big, gooey pancakes and dousing them in a mixture of sauce, mayonnaise, and seaweed flakes. They are usually cheap, filling, flavorful, and perfect for a hot day, a long night, or a quick snack when you’re all worn out. And I was indeed all worn out, spent from a long Saturday morning teaching 50 preschoolers “the vowels”.
The rice itself was excellent – exactly the sweet and tangy okinomiyaki flavor that I know and love. But there was an enemy lurking under the long, flat, fried egg. I was several bites in when I hit a vein of raw egg, gently rested in a depression made in the center of the rice ball. I’m not averse to eating the occasional raw egg – especially in a piping hot bowl of ramen – but there is something slightly alarming about finding it in the rice ball that has been sitting on the shelf for several hours. There’s just something about cold, slimy egg in this context that I can’t quite accept – call me squeamish of you like, but it’s one of the few things that I really don’t enjoy eating.
Luckily, by the time I had realized that it wasn’t mayonnaise (as I had originally hoped), it was too late. I had already wolfed down the whole thing. I suppose it’s better this way – nothing goes to waste – but I felt a little uneasy for the rest of the afternoon.