What’s inside them, how to order, and what they cost.
There’s a lot to love on the shelves and inside the freezer sections of Japan’s convenience stores, but one of their greatest treasure chests can be found sitting on the counter next to the register. That’s where the steamer case for all the various steamed buns sits, filled with palm-sized treats of both the meaty and sweet variety.
A while back we compared pizza buns from four of Japan’s largest convenience store chains, but today we’re drilling deep into the world of steamed buns by trying every single variety currently sold at branches of the Lawson chain. We’re also including each item’s name in Japanese, since you order them by telling the clerk at the register what you want. Just say the name of the bun followed by hitotsu for one, futatsu for two, or mitsu for three (holding up fingers for the amount you want will also work in a pinch).
1. Juicy Pork Bun/Jushi Niku Man (130 yen [US$1.15])
The standard pork bun is the granddaddy of Japanese convenience store steamed buns, but Lawson’s is still one of the best. Packed with more meat than its counterparts at many rival chains, the inside is moist and flavorful without being soggy.
Incredibly affordable, the Juicy Pork Bun is always a good call, and also an easy way to hedge your bet if you’re hungry enough to eat two different types of steamed buns but want to be absolutely sure that one of them will be tasty.
2. Premium Pork Bun/Gokujo Niku Man (180 yen)
The standard Pork Bun’s aristocratic cousin, the Premium version justifies its higher price with the use of delicious shiitake mushroom, crisp water