Umaibou : Delicious Stick


Go to pretty much any Japanese super market or combini and you'll find Umaibou (うまい棒), pronounced "ou−my−bow" where the "ou" is like "you" without the "y" and "bow" as in "bow and arrow". Literally translated it means "delicious stick".

Like many things in Japan they are individually wrapped and are only 10yen each (about 9 cents) although you can get them in large bags of 40 sticks for less.

They have probably 20 or so flavors.  Some of them are coated, some have a powdered flavoring.  They can most easily be described as a large cheese puff.  Some are chip flavored (ie, mostly salty) others are sweet flavored.

Because they are cheap and tasty pretty much anytime I grab some grub at a combini I pick one up as a snack.

I usually get the mentai flavor.  It appears to be the most common and popular.  Most combini only carry 2 or 3 flavors where as a larger super market or a snack shop might carry more.

Here's some of the flavors:

Mentai flavored. Mentai is a small fish egg that is spiced up so they are tangy.  They use them with all kinds of things like pasta, onigiri.  I'd say this is the most popular flavorChicken Curry Flavored. Finger lickin good.Cheese flavored. Tastes exactly what you'd expect a cheese puff to taste like.  You even get cheetle all over your handsCaramel Flavored. This one has a kind of hard outer caramel crush.
Chocolate Flavored. This one has a chocolate coatingCorn Portage flavor (cream corn soup). Trust me, it's goodShrimp and Mayonnaise.  Ever had to die for walnut mayo shrimp at a Chinese restaurant?Cocoa flavored. Tastes very much like a cocoa puff.
Nattou Flavored.  The bane of most foreigners.  Actually, generally only Eastern Japanese people like Nattou which is stinky sticky fermented beans.Takoyaki Flavored or rather octopus dumplings.  The real thing is awesome and these aren't bad either.Terkiyaki Burger Flavor. A little too strong for me.Tonkatsu sauce flavor. Tonkatsu is battered fry pork. There's a specific brown tangy sauce you poor on it which this taste like.
Veggie Salad Flavored. For you vegetarians 😛 Actually think of it more like Italian dressing flavored.  Kabayaki Flavored. I don't know what Kabayaki is and I'm too stuffed full of umaibou to look it up  
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Corporal Dan