This Japanese Company Makes A Half Million Rice Balls A Year

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This Japanese Company Makes A Half Million Rice Balls A Year

If you’re interested in Japanese food enough to venture out beyond the traditional picks of sushi and teriyaki, you’ve probably experienced the wonderful seaweed-wrapped rice balls known as onigiri. These triangular snacks are a staple of Japanese convenience stores, delivering a filling chunk of perfectly-seasoned rice surrounding a variety of fillings. We especially like them grilled, but there’s really no wrong way to make one.

One of the most famous purveyors of onigiri in Tokyo is Onigiri Bongo, the mom-and-pop shop run by rice ball master Yumiko Ukon since 1960. They’re notable for widely expanding the range of flavors that they bring to the rice balls, offering 55 different combinations of fillings and sauces. They crack out 1,500 individual onigiri every single business day, adding up to 500,000 a year.

Here’s a video elucidating Ukon’s mastery of knocking out rice balls at a frantic pace. It’s something to watch, and definitely makes us hungry.

If you find yourself in Tokyo after travel restrictions are lifted, make a stop at Onigiri Bongo and try some of the best rice balls you’ll ever have in your life. Tell them the Ball Report sent you. They won’t know what you’re talking about, but it’ll make us happy.

Read more at Eater.