2014/04/26

Onigiri shop in South Africa



Update (Jan 4, 2017): Unfortunately this shop is closed now.. 

My friend Tara, an Aussie girl living in South Africa has opened her Onigiri shop in Capetown!

Photo: onigiri.co.za

Onigiri (wiki) is often translated as “rice ball” but it’s usually shaped triangle. Her website puts it as “Asian sandwich” and this sounds more accurate to me because it’s not just a big chunk of rice (though there are some like that) but it usually got all different kinds of fillings – for standard, there’re umeboshi (pickled plum), salmon, tuna mayo, kombu…

Tara and I met through work (first time I met her, I was so surprised by her Osaka accent Japanese!), and while we traveled together in Japan, I remember she always got sake-mayo (salmon mayo) onigiri and milktea as her ritual for train ride and kept saying “I wish there’s a shop in SA that we can get these onigiri…” Then several years later, Tada! she opened one!! :D

Onigiri can be found everywhere in Japan. Here’s from convenience store in Tokyo station. Yellow thing is "Omu-subi (omelette-rice-onigiri)" ketchup rice wrapped with thin egg :)

Not just an onigiri maker, she’s a very active woman participating many type of sports event including Ironman (!). And since onigiri is handy and healthy, she thought onigiri would be perfect breaktime snack and has been opening her shop at various events. (You can also order from the website. Ask her the details.)

I haven’t tried her onigiri yet, but knowing she was studying in Japan for years and know well what our onigiri is, and trying hard to make one which is authentic yet fit with local culture, I’m sure it tastes great :) Some of their flavors sounds very exotic to me!

If you happen to live in Capetown, you may want to try it for lunch party or events! The website tells you more details about onigiri, such as difference between sushi & onigiri, and how to open onigiri wrapper. (Just like Japanese convenience store’s, her onigiri got crispy Nori.)

I visited Capetown before the world cup. I got a big culture shock :) but it was so beautiful, I saw rainbows everyday!

Onigiri is our most common national meal. We eat very often, and we also bring them for lunch and picnic. It’s difficult to explain, but I think that triangle got something more than a meal to us. It’s comforting, yes, and maybe because we often think about the maker when it’s hand-made… (and when we make them for someone, I think a lot of them think about that someone while molding, like “cheer up”, “good luck” or “have fun”, something positive) There are quite a many Japanese tales which involves onigiri, too.

It would’ve been easier to go with sushi, because it’s more recognized widely. But Tara decided to go with onigiri, and I feel that choice reflects her love for Japan… :)

-> Website (onigiri.co.za)
Update (Jan 4, 2017): Unfortunately this shop is closed now.. 

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