Meet Onigirazu, the New Sushi Sandwich You Need in Your Life

Japanese cooks know a thing or two about a perfectly portioned to-go meal. (See: bento boxes.) And the country’s latest export just happens to be as adorable as it is portable.

Meet onigirazu, a layered wrap of seaweed, rice and fillings that’s basically a cross between our two favorite things: sandwiches and sushi. It’s not actually sushi but rather a relative of another Japanese lunchbox staple called onigiri—compact, triangular rice balls. 

Oddly enough, onigirazu originates from—of all places—a popular manga series back in the ’90s called Cooking Papa. (The author credits his wife with inventing the dish.) Naturally, the internet rediscovered it and it quickly blew up in Japan.

It’s just starting to appear stateside (like at a new Japanese café in New York), but you can also up your lunch game with this easy recipe by our friends at Chopstick Chronicles. (There are even kitchen tools designed specifically for the purpose.) 

Onigirazu can be filled with anything from crispy chicken katsu to salmon to ham and cheese—whatever protein or veggies you have on hand (and maybe a swipe of kewpie mayo). Also, because you’re swapping out the bread, it makes a great gluten-free meal, if that’s something you’re into.

We haven’t been this excited about lunch since elementary school.

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From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.