From Clams to Tofu! 5 Must-Buy Japanese Convenience Store Miso Soups
Cup noodles are actually not the only instant food you can get from Japanese convenience stores! You can also find one of the core dishes in Japanese cuisine, miso soup, sold in disposable cups. The only preparation these instant soups require is a dash of hot water! Because they are delicious and super easy to prepare, they make a great travel snack as well as a perfect souvenir to bring back from a trip. This article will introduce the best instant miso soups you can purchase in three convenience store chains!
What Are Instant Miso Soups?
Miso soup is made by dissolving miso (soybean paste) into soup stock made from bonito and kelp. You can garnish it as you like with all kinds of ingredients: seaweed, tofu, vegetables, seafood, meat, etc.
It is totally normal for Japanese people to have miso soup at home, but these days, instant miso soups are also very popular in Japan. You can find them in convenience stores or supermarkets and they are very easy to prepare, since all you need to do is add boiling water. Sometimes, all the components are freeze-dried together, but sometimes the miso paste is sold fresh in a separate pouch and needs to be dissolved into the mixture.
The five following items fall into the second category and they taste remarkably like homemade miso soup.
Let's check out what kinds of instant miso soup you can buy at 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, and Lawson!
1. Fried Eggplant Miso Soup (7-Eleven)
Enjoy a rich flavor that comes from a blend of three kinds of miso paste and a soup stock made from dried bonito, kelp, and dried sardines! This miso soup contains large pieces of fried eggplant, spring onions, wakame seaweed, and aburaage (deep-fried slices of tofu). The eggplant pieces are deep fried after being freeze dried, boosting their flavor. You can thoroughly taste them as you sip on the miso soup.
Price: 116 JPY (incl. tax)
2. Veggies in Miso Soup (7-Eleven)
Especially recommended for those who believe they should eat more veggies! The miso soup contains cabbage, scallions, Japanese mustard spinach, green beans, field peas, carrot, and green onions. After pouring the hot water, you will be able to feel the texture of each of them distinctly while the strong aroma of dried bonito enhances all their flavors. With just this soup, you can consume a large quantity of vegetables, and by pairing it with a rice ball or bento box from the convenience store, you can enjoy a filling meal!
Price: 128 JPY (incl. tax)
3. Egg and Spinach Soup (FamilyMart)
This soup features beaten eggs, spinach, and a mix of red miso, white miso, and malt-based miso pastes. The colorful combination of yellow eggs and green spinach gives the dish a vivid and pretty look. Meanwhile, the softness of the beaten eggs contrasts with the chewy texture of the spinach. In addition to those two ingredients, the soup also contains wakame seaweed to keep your stomach full.
Price: 138 JPY (incl. tax)
4. Akadashi Clam Soup (FamilyMart)
Akadashi (literally "red soup stock") has a reddish color and is made by combining soybean and rice-based miso pastes together. This soup owes its strong flavor not just to its not-too-sweet soybean miso paste, but also to the presence of its other main ingredient: shijimi clams. These little mollusks live in brackish waters and the largest ones don't even exceed 4cm long. They are highly used in miso soups as they bring even more flavor to the dish.
Price: 148 JPY (incl. tax)
5. Miso Soup with Soybean Curd (Lawson)
As a classic ingredient in Japanese cuisine, tofu also makes a great garnish for miso soup. Lawson's Miso Soup with Soybean Curd contains small, soft cubes of tofu, wakame seaweed, scallions, and richly-flavored bonito soup stock. It is a simple but delicious dish that you can incorporate in any of your meals.
Price: 100 JPY (incl. tax)
So, what do you think of this selection? Note that another convenient side of instant soups is the possibility to add as much water as you want to adjust the richness. Thus, if the soup is too strong for your own taste, you can always pour more hot water into it than the instructions ask for!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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