Konbini guide nikuman
Photo: Kaila Imada; design: Saiko Miyasato

The konbini connoisseur's guide to nikuman

Don’t miss out on these hot pockets of seasonal goodness that come with a variety of fillings

By Kaila Imada
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A constant favourite at our local konbini has got to be a warm, fluffy nikuman. Nikuman is the Japanese take on the Chinese steamed pork bun, but believe it or not, there are a number of other creative varieties available as well, including buns filled with pizza toppings and sesame-red bean paste. You'll usually find them in shops through autumn and winter, and they're the perfect snack warm you up on a cold day.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites, so keep an eye on these flavours the next time you stop by the konbini.

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Get 'em while they're hot

konbini guide nikuman
konbini guide nikuman
Photo: Kaila Imada; design: Saiko Miyasato

Nikuman

As classic as it gets, this pork bun comes piping hot filled with a juicy pork centre. If it's your first time venturing into the world of nikuman, this is a great one to start off with before you get to some of the more interesting flavours. Plus, you can’t miss it as every konbini has its own version of the original nikuman. ¥130 from Lawson

Konbini guide nikuman
Konbini guide nikuman
Photo: Kaila Imada; design: Saiko Miyasato

Pizzaman

This orange-coloured pocket is filled with your basic pizza toppings: oozy cheese and a decent tomato basil sauce. It’s basically a pizza in a bun, but a lot less messy to eat. Whether you’re craving pizza for breakfast or a late-night snack, this one fits the bill. ¥140 from 7-Eleven

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Konbini guide nikuman
Konbini guide nikuman
Photo: Kaila Imada; design: Saiko Miyasato

Smoky cheese

A twist on the classic nikuman, this bun features a surprising layer of smoky cheese inbetween all that meaty nikuman filling. This nikuman is best eaten right out of the konbini warmer as the smokiness is really apparent when you first bite into the bun. ¥140 from 7-Eleven

Konbini guide nikuman
Konbini guide nikuman
Photo: Kaila Imada; design: Saiko Miyasato

Gyozaman

This peculiar nikuman is shaped to look like a giant pan-fried gyoza and it really tastes a typical dumpling, too. In place of the usual thin gyoza skin, the juicy meat and veggie filling is wrapped up in a fluffy soft bun giving it a wonderful chewy texture. ¥160 from FamilyMart

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Konbini guide nikuman
Konbini guide nikuman
Photo: Kaila Imada; design: Saiko Miyasato

Koshi an

Prefer something sweet? This special nikuman is filled with a sweet sesame-flavoured red bean paste and is the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of tea. We love the depth the sesame adds to the red bean paste, but you can also get this sweet nikuman with plain red bean filling as well. ¥130 from FamilyMart

Check out our other konbini favourites

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