“Welcome to the Family!” is the greeting sung out by staff at Family Mart over at Makati’s Glorietta III. Finally, the Japanese konbini [convenience store] franchise makes its way to Philippine shores with an amazing array of treats – and, oh, what treats!
As mentioned previously, FamiMart Philippines serves o-nigiri (seaweed-wrapped rice balls with savory sprinkles) and a rather respectable selection of espresso-based beverages along with the usual convenience store nosh like hot dogs and doughnuts. But what truly sets it apart from everyone else are things like bottled iced teas by The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, a selection of Japanese snacks – including the oh-so-elusive Tohato Caramel Corn curls. and numerous heat-and-eat-on-the-premises (or keep cool and take away) donburi. And all these are augmented further by a nifty selection of hot and cold sandwiches, Filipino rice meals, fries (!), croissants (!!), and – believe it or not – sushi.
FamiMart’s California maki are massive – approximately twice the size of a roll from one of the cheaper, not-so-authentic Japanese fast food chains. The rice isn’t very vinegary, but it is pretty good and the roll itself is loaded with mango, cucumber, crabstick, and loads (serious loads) of tobiko (codfish roe).
Each tray costs P 99.00 and comes with soy, wasabi, and slices of benishoga (pickled pink ginger). It’s what I get when I have to eat at my desk when working over lunch. <sigh>
Oh, and while other convenience stores ask you to pay P 15.00 for a soft-serve ice-cream cone where you are completely at the mercy of the surly kid behind the counter who can give you as much or as little ice cream as he or she may deem (in a rather twisted fashion) fair, FamiMart charges you P 15.00, hands you a cone, and you get to swirl as much ice cream as you want! (Oh, and it’s fairly good ice cream, too.)
That said, this is one kombini that I hope will be around for a long time… 😀