Famished at Famima: A rundown of Goodies...
A couple of weeks ago I had to make a lunch time run to Penzeys... afterwards I was hankering for some Katsu curry from Curry House down the street... or at least I THOUGHT it was down the street because a few times up and down Hawthorne, I could not find it!! Argh... with my lunch hour bleeding into two, I finally stopped to the one place that did jump put at me each pass by, Famima!! The largest outpost I’d ever seen of the store and I figured it might be a good chance to sniff out what they got... And I was famished so what I got was quite a lot...
Since I had curry on the brain, I first got one of those Chicken Curry Breads from under the heat lap. It’s pretty big, about the size of a hockey puck and pretty well filled. The curry flavor is slight, a bit sweet, but not overly so. The exterior is bready, but not soggy or chewy or dry. It totally statisfies the craving for something salty and crunchy and ‘different’ $1.80
Since I was next to the heat lamp, I also asked for a Chicken and Mushroom Bao. This is the only items from Famima I had had before. It’s not the best bao I’ve ever had for sure, but it’s not bad either. It’s not skimpy with the meat and it’s very well seasoned, but the mushroom flavor is slight. As I’ve said, when you have a Bao craving and can’t get to a the SGV, this is not a bad choice. And since this Bao tasted pretty much like the one I had originally in SM, they are pretty consistent. $1.50
And before leaving the heat lamp area, I had my first irrational food purchase, the fried Sausage Ravioli. It wasn’t TOTALLY irrational because I love Ravioli! These were a dispointment, dry and I would have LOVED more cheese in them. Plus, they didn’t give me any dipping sauce... :P but there was plenty of sausage in them. $2.75
Moving on to the refrigerated area, the first thing you are pummeled with is the selection of sushi. They have all types here including Handrolls. I had very little expection of a handroll from a quickie mart, but I bought one in Spicy Tuna anyway. And when I got it back to the office, I realized what makes Famima SO different from any Quickie Mart, they actually thought some things out... the package of the handroll was this unique little thing to make sure the nori stayed CRISP.
And the darn thing WORKED... The filling did not get squished or mooshy, and the Nori remained Crisp and toasty, even the day AFTER I bought it! The rice was well flavored, but the spicy tuna was just okay... not great, but also not as bad as some I’d recently had... $2.25
Continuing down the aisle I was looking for something side dishy, so I saw this Chicken Green Apple Salad with candied walnuts that just looked TOO good...
I also opted to have the next day and found it had it a VERY chickeny flavor, but not too gamey like some chicken salad. Sadly the apples and walnuts got a bit mooshy and so they didn’t add the amount of texture I’d hoped. Nevertheless, inbetween a couple of slices of bread from the bread bar and with an heirloom tomato, it was a darn tasty sandwich $3.45 (not including bread bar bread and tomato)
I realized in my shopping spree that I probably should get something for SO... being a Soba freak, I had to get him the Soba plate with the crunchy onion bits that he also loves so much.... While the noodles and all the condiments looked good, sadly the noodles had no real bite. It was also the most expensive item at $5.25
And finally, we had to get some dessert, I choose one my favorites, Tiramisu! It just looked so cute in it’s little container!
Like the roll, I didn’t have much high hope for it, but was really surprised how yummy it was! I would SO get this again... and again... and again! :) $2.20
So all that food, plus a fancy Japanese green tea, which fed me for two lunch and SO for one came out to a total of $21.73... NOT BAD...
All in all, I was pretty pleased with my purchases, with the Roll (In a different flavor) and the Tiramisu defiantly being must buys. Now, I don’t consider Famima a chowish destination at all, but I do think it’s a good place to stop by if you are nearby, need something quick and want something different and for not a BAD price. So I’m glad it’s out there for us... :)
Here's another blog about Famima, the downtown location in particular: http://www.la.com/blog/comments.php?i...
I agree that it isn't totally chowish, partly because the best items are packaged goods, especially the weird but tasty Asian snacks and all the brightly colored drinks from, it would appear, all over the world. It's a fun place!
Famima needs to find the high tech nori preserver! The one in your photo is adequate, but I've seen ones where you just hold the handroll in your left hand and swiftly pull out a sheet of plastic separating the rice and seaweed. It's sort of like pulling out those sticks to rev up old toy cars.
Awesome post, as usual. I love wandering around inside Famima, even if their food isn't great. It's not supposed to be! It's a quickie mart.
Your descriptions and pictures are AWESOME!!! I was actually cracking up when I saw your first picture of the Chicken Apple Salad, because it looks like your arm is sticking out of the salad!
Since I work in Torrance, I'm definitely going to have to stop by Famima! Thanks again, Dommy!
Dommy - I especially like the "extra spicy tuna rolls" at Famima! Usually regular spicy tuna rolls at most places don't have enough spice for me, so it's very thoughtful of Famima to think of such a thing. And believe me, it is spicy - perfectly so.
The egg salad sandwiches are good too, and remind me of the one at the convenience stores in Japan - with the crusts cut off. Yummy.
I've blogged similarly about my experiences with famima!! - I do enjoy their chicken-mushroom baos & a few other things. Agreed on the ravioli in need of a dip and more fillings.
The paninis and sandwiches are pretty good too -- and I've bought egg salad @ the Pasadena Trio location, even though I know Europane and its infamous sandwiches are 3 blocks down *hangs head in shame*.
Hi... Your review of Famima!! is a must read for those who've never been and don't 'get' the concept of this japanese quickie-mart. Your pictured selections are a diverse representation of what many patrons purchase for on-the-go snack/meals, and what's more, all those selections have alternate sub-options (char shu instead of chicken/mushroom, etc.). Plus all the alternate beverage options, Pocky options, and a clean/friendly environment, all make for the most pleasant 3 minutes one could imagine in a convenience mart. If they only sold Domo-kun toys, alas life would be complete. Thanks...