What do you do when two unconventional new musubi show up around town? Put them head to head, of course, to see if either is worthy. Here's the other half of Battle Musubi: Don Quijote's one-pound monster.
7-Eleven Hawaii’s Tofu and Brown Rice Musubi is a meatless option that features a slice of firm tofu marinated in teriyaki sauce on a bed of brown rice with furikake and wrapped in the obligatory nori obi around its midsection.
So why a tofu musubi? Well, according to 7-Eleven Hawaii’s social media posts, MANY folks have been asking for one. Full disclosure: I was not one of those people. To be honest, the idea of a tofu-topped musubi didn’t even cross my rice ball-adoring mind. Maybe I didn’t think about it because of the carnivore in me, or I’m so laser-focused on getting 7-Eleven to bring back the li hing Spam musubi.
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Look, before I share my opinion, let me point out it’s impressive that the folks at 7-Eleven Hawaii had the ambition to create a meatless musubi. I like when they take chances (see li hing Spam musubi comment above) on food that you’d never think would come from a convenience store. Over the past two years, that creativity has led to many wonderful-tasting foodstuffs — pho, tonkotsu ramen and other musubis — but this latest product could use a little work.
My biggest gripe is the level of flavor. Eating the marinated tofu by itself is acceptable. There’s a decent amount of a sweet and savory taste from the teriyaki sauce. But while I’m sure the marinade has seeped into the tofu's nooks and crannies, there just isn't enough to compensate for the thick block of brown rice that almost wholly negates the flavor. The musubi tastes a lot like I’m eating plain tofu and rice. Not even the furikake helps.
Because brown rice doesn't stick together as well as the white stuff, once I eat past the nori, the rest starts to fall apart. Because of this, I find myself eating a musubi with about half the rice. I can taste the teriyaki more, which is what the whole thing should taste like.
7-Eleven’s Tofu and Brown Rice musubi is a meatless alternative to the other musubis the chain offers. Unfortunately, it's just not as tasty.