Story of Onigiri

June 06, 2013

In the early years of the 11th century, the world’s first psychological novel, The Tale of Genji, was written by lady Murasaki-Shikibu in Japan. In the story about a scandalous playboy, Prince Genji, there is a scene where party goers are served egg-shaped balls of rice. This is the first historical account of this convenient handheld food. The widely read publication sparked a boom in eating rice balls. They became common-place and people started calling them onigiri, literally, "hand-formed."
In the 17th century, the Edo-Genroku era, people were still making onigiri  as a convenient, ready-to-eat meal. Around this time, a sheet of toasted nori was added as a wrapper for onigiri, offering added nutrition and to prevent the sticky rice from messing up people’s hands. 
About 350 years later, a student from Canada, living in Tokyo, encountered onigiri for the first time. Being busy and low on funds, she could always turn to onigiri as a healthy and convenient snack or meal by visiting the ubiquitous convenience stores in the megalopolis. 
After returning to Canada, she had difficulty finding healthy, natural, and minimally processed food to eat on the run. She decided to introduce onigiri as a healthy option for busy people in Canada.  
While sourcing ingredients for onigiri, she made a vow to use haiga-mai, even though it is more difficult to source, for her onigiri to give customers food that is not only delicious, but that is more nutritious too. And so began another chapter of onigiri. 
Aside from promoting lesser known foods, Abokichi is dedicated to sharing the creativity which can emerge when different cultures interact. Abokichi means "Fortunate Avocado," a coinage from abokado, a South American fruit which has found a place in cuisines all over the world, and kichi which means fortunate in Japanese, to express the blessing of the diversity of different cultures in the world.

 




Also in Blog

The History of Tonkotsu Ramen in Kyushu
The History of Tonkotsu Ramen in Kyushu

June 01, 2021

There is a special place in my heart, and my mouth, for ramen. I love it! Now as we are preparing to launch our own new healthy version, ABO Ramen, I’d like to share a bit of the inspiration for its creation as well as bring light to the style of ramen that I grew up eating in Kyushu.

There are many regional varieties of ramen throughout Japan. The table below shows a basic breakdown of the ramen styles from the north of the country to the south. This list is not exhaustive as I may have missed some, and experimentation is going on all the time.

Ramen by Region

Read More

Kintsugi Class (金継ぎ)
Kintsugi Class (金継ぎ)

December 21, 2020

Read More

Japanese Curry-Pan (Fried Curry Bread)
Japanese Curry-Pan (Fried Curry Bread)

November 26, 2020

When I think about introducing Japanese food to North America, I was always wonder why curry-pan is not here yet, in a major way. Most of the street-styled Japanese food, such as ramen, karaage, okonomiyaki, takoyaki have similar attributes. It contains high fat, strong UMAMI and sometimes it is rich in carbohydrates. 

Read More

Stay connected with our newsletter