What Makes Japanese 7-Eleven's Egg Salad Sandwiches Downright Legendary

One of the most interesting things about visiting a new place, but particularly the land of the rising sun, is seeing how everyday things get the Japanese twist. Japanese convenience stores (called konbini) exemplify this with their food offerings, which are cheap, ready-made, and more delicious than anything you'd expect to find at the corner shop. 

The star of the konbini menu is the tamago sando or egg sandwich, with popular convenience store chains in Japan like Lawson, Family Mart, and 7-Eleven each stocking their version of the ubiquitous snack. The format remains the same — triangles of impossibly fluffy, slightly sweet Japanese milk bread with a creamy egg-mayo filling; it's because of the details that fans of the egg sammy pick their favorites. Even Anthony Bourdain had his, Lawson, whose egg salad "sando" got an honorable mention in Parts Unknown.

As Japan's most popular convenience chain, 7-Eleven's egg salad sandwich is legendary. Imagine talking to someone who just returned from a trip to Japan, and one of their highlights is something they ate at 7-Eleven. Well, there's a reason for that, and until you can get your hands on one and find out firsthand, here's what makes the Japanese egg salad sandwich so much better than its stateside counterpart.

Japanese 7-Eleven egg sandwiches use fewer but richer ingredients

A 7-Eleven egg salad sando is all about soft, fluffy, and gooey goodness. Bite into it, and you won't find any contrasting crunchy textures or distracting flavors; instead, the egg takes centerstage. Everything about the sandwich makes you marvel at the filling, with the only contrast coming from the slight chewiness of the Japanese milk bread (called shokupan).

The filling isn't just chopped-up boiled eggs mixed with mayo. Instead, the yolks and mayo are mashed into a rich paste with chunks of cooked egg white for some bite. The creaminess of the eggs is not interrupted by a kick of mustard either. Instead, the tanginess comes from the mayonnaise. Made using egg yolks (as opposed to most commercial brands that also use whites), rich Kewpie mayo complements eggs much better than the regular variety.

Finally, the customary hint of sweetness permeates the sandwich — a little from the mayo and the rest from the bread's sweetness. It all ties in to keep the luxurious egg filling as the dish's highlight. The 7-Elevens there also offer egg roll sandwiches, which contain a similar filling inside a hot dog-style bun. However, in our opinion, nothing beats the classic sandwich, especially its 300 yen (or roughly $2) price.

Japanese 7-Eleven hot snacks: pocket-friendly restaurant-quality fare

Sushi, coffee, and even freshly blended smoothies are all part of 7-Eleven's offerings in Japan, but the hot snacks counter is where things get interesting. Browse through the ready-to-eat sections at a Japanese 7-Eleven, and you'll find enough variety for a multi-course meal. Crunchy fried chicken, available as skewers or pieces, is especially popular and follows the egg sandwich's simple yet delicious formula using juicy, high-quality cuts. Oden — skewered meats, egg, tofu, and fish cakes braised in hot broth — is another convenience store staple that's restaurant-level delicious. The hot counter also features spring rolls, cutlets, hot dogs, and a rolling variety of freshly made snacks, each costing about 100 yen, which comes out to roughly 65 cents.

Ready for the main course? Pick up a bowl of ramen, a bento box, or even a bowl of pasta and pair it with sides like stuffed dumplings, roasted potatoes, and boiled vegetables. These can be ordered right off the shelf, and the staff will even heat them for you. For another konbini delicacy, try a cold silken tofu salad. Once again, you will be reminded of the high quality and freshness of the ingredients and the delightfully wallet-friendly prices.

Dessert options include everything from caramel custard to traditional mochi. However, if you can't get enough of that cloud-like milk bread, we suggest grabbing a sweet sandwich with a filling of fresh strawberries and mascarpone or blueberries and cream cheese.