Conbini food reviews: fruits sandwich

by Ben D-T

This is the start of a new series in which I review food from Japanese convenience stores so you don’t have to/because you don’t want to/you can’t because you’re not in Japan.

Japanese convenience stores (conbini) are about as central to daily life in this country as you could imagine. You can do almost anything you would ever need to do in an average conbini: withdraw cash, print documents or photos, send a FAX, buy stamps, buy concert tickets, pay bills, send packages, eat, drink, smoke, use WiFi, use the bathroom, buy books, buy daily necessities, buy pet food, heat up a microwave meal, buy a cup of coffee, make instant ramen, buy underwear, socks, tights, even buy a new shirt and tie. All of that before you even get to buying food.

Some of that food is great. Some of it less so. Some of it is genius. Some of it is confusing. Some of it will be reviewed here, by me.

So, the フルーツサンド, or fruits sandwich. When I first saw fruit filled sandwiches in a conbini I was very heistant. You can find several fillings: strawberries, peaches, I’m pretty sure I saw a mango one once. To me all these sandwich fillings sound like a bad idea taken too far, like something from some brainstorming session in some boardroom meeting that somehow made its way to shop shelves. But there must obviously be a market for these sandwiches here, so lets give the benefit of the doubt to whoever’s idea this was.

Let’s look at this sandwich layer by layer (pun intended). First off we have the bread, it’s crust-less. This honestly makes perfect sense, crusts on a sandwich filled with cream and fruit, and goodness knows how much added sugar, just wouldn’t feel right. It’s very white, soft, and has the slight sweetness Japanese bread typically has. Nothing out of the ordinary though, no complaints about the bread.

There is a LOT of cream in this sandwich. If we’re being strictly honest it’s a cream sandwich with some fruit in, rather than the other way around. And this cream is sweet. It’s treading the fine line between sweet and sickly. It’s a little much and if the sandwiches were any bigger it’s be a lot much.

The fruit in this sandwich isn’t bad. The grapes are pretty good and the kiwi is nice and soft – I’m a huge advocate for kiwi, so I may be slightly biased on that aspect. The pineapple leaves a lot to be desired though: it’s clearly cheap, doesn’t have much of a taste left, and honestly feels like they’ve pumped it full of water. The worst thing about the pineapple is that it’s overly crunchy, it’s like biting through the last little piece of a breath mint that just won’t dissolve in your mouth.

Overall we’re looking at a reasonable sandwich here. It’s a little over-sweet and the pineapple put in a poor performance, but it’s enjoyable. Could certainly fulfill a sugar craving and while it’s no lunch time sandwich it would make a nice occasional treat. I’d rate it a 7 out of 12.