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In the fruit basket of life, I’m the rice ball.

Ok, perhaps it could be more profound, but the sentiment is clear. To us at least. Rice Balls have such an amazing variety of flavors and textures that being a rice ball just means you’re the most interesting thing in the basket! In case you don’t know what a rice ball is, they’re pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, a ball of rice. But that’s just the beginning! If you’re already familiar with Rice Balls, then National Rice Ball Day is just an excuse to indulge in what is no doubt your favorite treat. If you’re not, then get ready for a flavor extravaganza that’s going to open your world!

History of National Rice Ball Day

Rice Balls have been a central part to Japanese cuisine for centuries, and are known locally as onigiri, a word which means “to hold on to”. An excellent description of how one consumes this delicious treat. The history of the rice ball can be traced back as far as the 11th century when they were called Tonjiki and were, in fact, a popular addition to lunches and picnics. It was kind of a universal food that had some remarkable qualities, not the least of which was the ability to form an air-tight seal and thus protect and preserve meat stored within.

Don’t fancy a cold rice ball for dinner? No problem! The Onigiri is created by dipping the rice in vinegar, helping it to bond and form that formerly mentioned air-tight seal, but an application of soy sauce dissolves those bonds and creates a loose rice dish mixed with the materials it’s stuffed with. Might as well and throw that into the frying pan and heat it right back up again!

Up until the 1980’s, all Onigiri had to be crafted by hand, making this a rare and expensive treat normally only found at Japanese restaurants. In the 1980’s all that changed with the invention of the machine that created triangular onigiri, and the process has been continuously improved from that day forward, making mass-produced onigiri available to the masses!

How to celebrate National Rice Ball Day

Rice Ball day is best celebrated by consuming your favorite variety of rice ball! For those with an adventurous streak, they could even try making rice balls at home with their very own recipes. In fact, why not host an onigiri night and invite everyone to make and bring their favorite variety?

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