Osechi ryori is a variety of traditional foods eaten during the New Year’s holidays in Japan. It’s difficult to find a Japanese household that doesn’t partake in them in some way, and while many choose to go the homemade route, there are also all sorts of osechi sets available to order – even some themed sets like "Star Wars" or "Frozen."
▼ This is what a non-themed set may look like.
With many of them containing fresh seafood and other specially prepared dishes, costs can add up quickly. But there are also affordable options in places you may not think of, like Lawson Store 100, a type of Lawson convenience store where most of their goods are just 100 yen.
Around Christmastime, they start sales of 100-yen and 150-yen osechi, where you can buy individual osechi foods to mix and match to your liking. Osechi dishes are often chosen for their symbolism over their taste, so you can choose what you want according to what you want your New Year to look like. Here are a few offerings from Lawson and their significance:
▼ Kamaboko (fish cakes) – 100 yen
Kamaboko, a very common osechi dish, is said to deter evil spirits while welcoming purity, symbolized by its red (or pink) and white colors.
▼ Hotateni (boiled scallops) – 150 yen
Scallops, whose shells resemble an open Japanese fan, are said to bring good fortune.
▼ Kuri kinton (sweet chestnuts) – 150 yen
These sweet chestnuts – kuri kinton – represent wealth, symbolized by their soft gold color. If you want a wealth or abundance of something in 2024, kuri kinton is a good choice for your osechi lineup. The Lawson Store 100 version is mixed with mashed purple sweet potato for flavor.
▼ Chirimen kurumi (small dried anchovies & walnuts) – 150 yen
When walnuts are added to the osechi ryori mix, it bodes well for familial harmony. Walnut shells are tough, symbolizing strength and stability. Also in this mix are small dried sardines, which are said to bring a bountiful harvest.
▼ Decorative carrots – 100 yen
Carrots are said to bring good luck and are a common and colorful staple in osechi ryori. These Lawson Store 100 ones are cut into flower shapes and are flavored with ume, Japanese plum.
▼ In total, there are 31 osechi items available for 100 yen and 14 for 150 yen.
These are just some of the many options Lawson Store 100 offers for osechi ryori. All types used to be available for 100 yen, but due to recent price inflation, some have been raised to 150 yen. If you’re not sure what to go for, though, they also sell affordable sets, all for under 4,000 yen.
▼ 15-dish set – 2,600 yen
▼ 20-dish set – 3,200 yen
So if you’re looking for inspiration to celebrate the start of 2024, consider adding osechi ryori to the tradition. You’ll find all sorts of affordable options in Japan if you just know where to look.
Source and images: Net Lab
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