The critics have already determined The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a hit. With 10/10 scores across the board, it’s probably fair to say that the game has largely lived up to the lofty expectations placed upon it. But outside of the game itself, there are more Tears of the Kingdom branded products that have yet to receive the same depth of critical interrogation: the collaboration convenience store food items.
In Japan, it’s pretty common for the three major convenience store chains (that's FamilyMart, Lawson and Seven-Eleven) to produce small selections of themed food items to coincide with the release of certain major video games or movies. In the past year alone, both Splatoon 3 and Pokemon themed items could be found at Seven-Eleven stores across the country. With the release of Tears of the Kingdom, the Lawson convenience store has graced us with no less than five unique food items that are loosely themed around the game.
In an effort to provide truly comprehensive critical coverage of Tears of the Kingdom, we did what no other outlet was brave enough to do: took it upon ourselves to hunt down these tasty treats. From here, we’ve provided a review of each of the items available, taking into account the flavour, presentation, and lore-accuracy of each dish.
‘Hearty Truffle’ Mushroom Foccacia
Attempting to represent the health-replenishing splendour of the ‘hearty truffle’ item found in-game, this mushroom Focaccia certainly offers a strong, perhaps even ‘hearty’ flavour. The bread component is soft and fluffy, and it’s topped with small, moist, savoury mushrooms.
The bread is a decent size for the cost, and if you’re a fan of the humble mushroom, this would certainly be a good choice for a quick lunchtime meal. Link himself is incapable of creating Focaccia in the game, but there is a simplicity to this dish that is somewhat reminiscent of the kind of thing he might slap together in a pinch. Mushrooms and bread – it’s nothing mind-blowing, but it’s a combination that can’t really fail.
‘Beast Meat’ Curry Bread
The ‘currypan’ is a staple of Japanese convenience store cuisine. Combining the delicious sweet and spicy flavour of Japanese style curry with a soft, doughnut-like exterior, curry bread is a pretty basic (but very enjoyable) treat.
This Tears of the Kingdom-themed curry bread does little to differentiate itself from the crowd of similar products. It has the same basic flavour and texture as its contemporaries, with a soft, sweet bread shell that contains a delicious curry sauce and small pieces of beef inside. This was a delicious curry bread, but in the competetive world of curry breads it was just slightly above average. Much like with Tears of Kingdom, if you don’t already like the formula the predecessors have established (...for curry bread), this isn’t going to change your mind.
‘Goron Spice Power’ Dry Curry Onigiri
The onigiri is also another item commonly found at the convenience store, but adding curry flavor to the mix is something of a rarity. Common flavors of onigiri include salmon, tuna, seaweed and plum – but curry isn’t one that shows up with any degree of frequency, so that’s exciting.
This particular onigiri boldly claims to be seasoned with Goron Spice Powder. In truth, it’s a mild flavor and, given their fiery nature, I’d expect Goron Spice Powder to have more intensity. There’s a bit of a kick, but the rice of onigiri mostly tastes like curried rice that you could find elsewhere.
With all that being said, this onigiri has great synergy and comes together pretty well. There’s large chunks of well-seasoned beef and carrot that were distributed effectively throughout the rice, and the curry flavouring gives it a more exciting flavor than most onigiri. Like all onigiri, it’s a portable meal, so it’s perfect for taking with you on lengthy quests.
Salmon and Milk Clam Chowder
This salmon and milk clam chowder is, visually, the least-appealing item of the bunch. The chowder had chunks of salmon floating around in it, and had a fairly natural albeit plain chowder taste that helped elevate a somewhat sludgy texture.
This particular item didn’t do a lot for me, but it’s difficult to describe it as ‘bad’. It seemed fairly unremarkable for clam chowder, but seeing as Link can actually create clam chowder, this might actually be one of the more game-accurate items of the set, so credit where credit is due.
‘Spicy Pepper’ Chicken
Emblazoned with the imagery of the Spicy Peppers that can be found throughout Tears of the Kingdom, this new flavor of ‘Karaage-kun’ (Lawson’s signature fried chicken product) could easily be a re-skinned version of a previous collaboration flavor – but that’s okay, because it’s delicious.
The chicken itself, which comes in a distinctly red hue, has an excellent balance of textures, with tender meat and a crunchy batter. Like the onigiri, it has a mild spice to it, but it’s not one that’s overwhelming. The chicken wasn’t dry, but it also wasn’t overly moist and paired well with a range of sauces. Overall, it’s a delicious addition to the collaboration menu, and like Tears of the Kingdom, could be considered a series high point.
As you might expect with a video game tie-in food release, these Tears of the Kingdom items varied wildly in quality. It’s a silly novelty with incredibly loose theming, but given that cooking remains such an integral mechanic in Tears of the Kingdom, this collaboration certainly makes at least a little more sense than they usually do.
Collaboration items of this kind come and go very frequently in Japan, and it’s easy to get cynical about the corporate motivations behind such releases, especially when not much effort is involved. In the wake of a game as thoughtfully designed as Tears of the Kingdom, it’s nice to see at least some thought go into the convenience food tie-ins.
Very few video 10/10 video games are blessed to release simultaneously with an 8/10 onigiri, and perhaps that’s reason enough for this to exist.
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