One very cool thing about Japanese convenience stores is that they’re not just a place to grab snacks like chips and cookies. They’re also stocked with all sorts of tasty food that you could eat as a meal. Craving a pork cutlet sandwich, beef bowl, or plate of meat sauce pasta? The convenience store has got you covered.
Vegetarian or vegan options are a little harder to come by, though, as even a lot of the salads sold at convenience stores have ham, tuna, or egg in them. But if you’re looking for a meatless offering, there’s a new convenience store hero on the way in the form of 7-Eleven Japan’s Soy Man.
While the name might sound like a superhero, the “Man” part is actually a shortened form of manju/”bun.” The Soy Man is a vegetarian version of the convenience store staple niku man, steamed meat buns. The Soy Man swaps out the niku man’s diced pork, though, and replaces it with a soybean plant-based meat substitute.
The rest of the fillings are the same as a standard 7-Eleven niku man, with bamboo shoot, shiitake mushroom, and onion on the inside, promising a texture and taste on par with the meat version. The Soy Man’s dough, though, gets a special bran infusion, giving the bun itself flecks of color.
The Soy Man is produced by Nakamuraya, the steamed bun provider that 7-Eleven has a long-running partnership with. The new meatless bun is 169 calories with 5.7 grams of protein and 3.6 grams of fat (compared to 223, 7, and 8.9 for a standard niku man). It’s priced at 129 yen and is on sale now at 7-Eleven branches in Tokyo, with expansion to other parts of Japan likely depending on how well it does in the capital.
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