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Do you eat onigiri cold? Often yes, but it’s delicious hot as well

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Onigiri is very popular in Japan and you might compare it to sandwiches in the US, because of their convenience. But how is it served? Do you eat onigiri cold, like we do sandwiches?

Japanese people will usually eat onigiri served cold. If you ever take a trip to Japan, you may notice onigiri in fridges at almost every place you visit. This is because it’s one of their staple go-to foods when they need a quick bite.

You could eat it hot as well and there’s even a “yaki” or grilled version of it, much like a grilled sandwich. Let’s look at all of that.

Do you eat onigiri cold? Often yes, but it's delicious hot as well

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After a day in Japan, it’s not hard to tell that the people living there love onigiri. When touring the cities, you can find it just about anywhere you go.

From restaurants to train stations, and even convenience stores. Japanese convenience stores are known as conbini.

Japanese people are always on the go, so it’s likely you’ll find a conbini on every block. In every conbini, there is plenty of onigiri.

Upon entering a conbini, it’s common to see a nice variety of ready-to-eat onigiri for sale in their refrigerators. Onigiri is made to be eaten the day of, and customers can enjoy them cold from the refrigerator.

Also read: Where to buy onigiri (and can I buy it online)?

Should onigiri be eaten cold?

While it’s common to eat onigiri cold, you can serve it either hot or cold. Many people prefer to eat it when served hot because grilled onigiri has a very tasty crispy texture.

When onigiri is cold, it is softer and doesn’t have that appetizing crunch to it. However, eating it hot or cold is a matter of preference.

Meat eaters usually prefer to eat hot onigiri because the fat in pork and beef settles. Often when they try to eat a cold meat-filled onigiri, the texture is similar to biting into butter.

A lot of people are turned off by that greasy and chunky texture. For this reason, it’s better to eat meat onigiris when they’re hot.

However, vegetarian or seafood-filled onigiri can be just as enjoyable cold as they are when they’ve been grilled.

A lot of people will say that the taste of onigiri is so delicious, it doesn’t matter if they are hot or cold.

Read next: How to make triangle onigiri | Recipe + info for this traditional Japanese snack

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.