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Which Japanese convenience store has the best 'onsen tamago' hot spring eggs?

6 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

If you’ve ever visited an onsen town in Japan, you may have seen small stone basins fed by natural hot springs with whole eggs in baskets or nets floating inside them.

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Image: Pakutaso

This is what’s known as onsen tamago (“hot spring eggs“), where the water naturally poaches the eggs while they’re still inside the shell, giving you a silky smooth, runny egg when you crack into it. It’s such a beloved delicacy in Japan that you can easily find onsen tamago outside of onsen towns, and even at convenience stores nationwide.

While these eggs might not be cooked the traditional way in natural hot springs, they are cooked to a similar low temperature that results in the same runny texture. So if you’re looking to get a taste of an onsen egg conveniently at a convenience store, which one should you go to?

To help you out with that mission, we purchased onsen tamago from the three top convenience store chains in Japan — Lawson, FamilyMart and 7-Eleven — so join as we crack into them to see what they look like inside.

First, let’s take a look at the prices — Lawson’s onsen tamago is the most expensive of the lot, at 117 yen, followed by FamilyMart’s at 110 yen, and 7-Eleven’s, at 105 yen.

Interestingly, FamilyMart’s egg (below) came with a sachet of bonito stock, which was a surprise, as they don’t usually come with extra additions.

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Sliding all the eggs onto individual plates, we were happy to find that all three slipped out easily, but in terms of appearance, Lawson’s egg looked a little different.

▼ Left to right: FamilyMart, Lawson, 7-Eleven

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While the other two eggs retained their plump shapes, with the whites still clinging to the yolks, Lawson’s appeared to have such a high liquid content that it looked like it was about to break under its own weight.

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This was a good sign, because for many onsen tamago lovers, the runnier the egg the better, and these so-called "drinkable" types of onsen egg are often served for breakfast in Japanese hotels.

▼ The truth would be in the breaking, though, so we took a pair of chopsticks and gently poked into them.

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With the yolks now revealed, we really couldn’t see much of a difference between them.

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We thought at least one might look a little firmer than another, but they were all jiggly and silky smooth, with similar runny textures.

That meant we would have to search harder to find a winner, and to do that, we looked at the fine print on all the packs, which revealed they were all manufactured by different companies. FamilyMart’s was jointly developed with Itochu Feed, Lawson’s was manufactured by Tamago Factory, and 7-Eleven’s was made by Isedelica. Out of these, the latter two are companies that specialise in egg products.

▼ Left to right: FamilyMart, Lawson, 7-Eleven

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To find out whether the egg specialists would make a better runny egg, we kept that in mind while we tasted them.

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The Lawson egg (above) pushed the boundaries between loose and liquid to such an extent that it was almost like eating a raw egg. It seemed unashamedly proud to take things to runny extremes, so if that’s how you like your eggs, this’ll definitely put a smile on your dial.

On the other hand, the eggs from FamilyMart and 7-Eleven seemed to prioritize viscosity over runniness, finding a good balance between the two that helped to accentuate the flavor of the yolk.

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Both these eggs were as good as each other, but if you’re counting coins, the 7-Eleven variety wins for value for money. However, if you’re willing to spend a little more and want some added flavor with the bonito stock, you won’t go wrong with the FamilyMart version.

However, for us, the Lawson variety was the ultimate winner, with the extremely runny texture giving it a unique flavor that onsen egg lovers will fall in love with. That being said, though, you won’t be disappointed with any of these eggs, so feel free to give them a try next time you’re feeling peckish.

Photos ©SoraNews24 unless otherwise stated

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- We tried a Japanese egg steamer to achieve the perfect breakfast eggs without a stove

-- Ramen egg showdown! Which Japanese convenience store makes the best nitamago?【Taste test】

-- Taste-testing Japan’s three biggest convenience stores store-brand cup ramen【Taste test】

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

6 Comments
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Thank you for the very informative information. Good article.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Onsen eggs are great.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Great article. Most eggs, despite different retailers, are pretty uniform here in Japan and of high quality. I love onsen tamago. But I make my own with the Yen 100 store onsen tamago maker. Just add eggs, hot water and let it drain. Perfect. You learn where the best water level is depending on your taste preference.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The firmer white from FamilyMart is my pick.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The best onsentamago I ever saw were directly below me in Zao onsen.

Completely boiled.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Most eggs, despite different retailers, are pretty uniform here in Japan and of high quality.

I'd disagree. Most are are from battery farmed hens and those eggs, so we are told, compare very unfavourably to the ones we get from our free range chickens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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