Cheap Eats: Omusubi Takes Center Stage at Kawaba Rice Ball

These meat-filled Japanese snacks are a wonderfully simple treat

When it comes to snacks, Japan is the king of convenience, and the omnipresent nori-wrapped rice balls known as omusubi (or onigiri) are as revered as Hello Kitty. At Kawaba Rice Ball, a cozy Japanese deli in the Fairfax District, the omusubi take center stage, combining supple grains of imported rice with hearty fillings. The owners run a ski resort in Kawaba Village, a region just north of Tokyo that’s as famous for its prized variety of Koshihikari rice as it is for its powder-dusted slopes. They hope to enlighten American diners about this wonderfully simple treat.

Hot Deal: Two or three fist-size omusubi ($3.50-$4.25) should satisfy a samurai—perhaps the soy-braised turkey soboro with green onion or the overstuffed shrimp tempura ball, distinguished by its protruding panko-crusted tail.

Try This: Japanese-style fried chicken is crunchy yet delicate and pairs well with tangy green tea lemonade.

redarrowKawaba Rice Ball, 7368 Melrose Ave., 323-272-4510.