Onigiri – The Perfect Portable Snack

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House OniOnigiri are the perfect portable Japanese snack or lunch food.  In it’s classic form it’s a rice ball enclosing a bit of tasty filling, and finished off with a wrap of nori.  Stuffings can include salted salmon, different roes, tuna, but it’s fun to come up with your own.  I love stuffing them with boiled chicken mixed with soy and chives.

Making the Onigiri are as fun as eating them as hundreds of folks, both adults and children discovered last weekend at the Japanese American National Museum, where an Onigiri competition took center stage at a family  festival.  The competition was organized by Sonoko Sakai’s  Common Grains project and the Japanese rice producer association JRE. The competitors gathered to express their inner artist through rice, nori and a pallette of garnishes.  For this particular competition many of the garnishes were inedible, but at home you can go crazy thinking up ways to garnish your own Onigiri creation.  Here are some of my favorites from last weekend’s competition.  For a fun culinary DIY check out this great Onigiri tutorial from Serious Eats.