Family Mart and Final Fantasy team up with the cutest nikuman we’ve seen in a long time.
I like to swim, and since I’m not a morning person, I usually end up hitting the pool after work but before dinner. The result is that I spend a lot of my time in the water fantasizing about what I’m going to chow down on afterwards, and the other night, with my stomach growling, I was ready to finally eat…a bunch of Final Fantasy meat.
Right now, the Final Fantasy franchise is having a tie-up with Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart. Like pretty much all convenience stores in Japan, Family Mart offers nikuman, steamed buns filled with minced meat, onion, bamboo shoot, and shiitake mushroom, but right now, some of its nikuman have transformed into Moogle Buns!
Seeing the Moogle Buns lined up in the steamer case, no Final Fantasy fan would be able to resist them, and as extra temptation, Family Mart is also offering a special Kupo Nut-flavor version of its bite-sized Pokechiki fried chicken, said to taste like the Mooogles’ favorite in-game snacks.
The elderly employee working the register, apparently not a hard-core gamer, seemed just a little confused when I asked him for “one Moogle bun and one Moogle fried chicken, please,” but soon enough the purchase was completed and I was back home with my role-playing feast.
I started with the star attraction, the Moogle Bun. Folding back the top part of the paper wrapper revealed…
…an adorable magical critter with friendly eyes, rosy cheeks, and a fashionable cap.
▼ If you’re old enough that people have given up telling you not to play with your food, feel free to give in to the temptation to give the Moogle’s soft cheeks a little poke.
Man, just look at how cute that little Moogle is! I’ll be honest, I’ve eaten a lot of cute food since moving to Japan, but this might have been the hardest one to bring myself to eat.
▼ And yet…
Wielding my trusty blade, the Silver edge 2000 (which grants a +10 bonus to frugality, by virtue of being from a 100 yen shop), I unleashed one of my Limit Break abilities, “Mercilessly Slice Up Cute Character Food.”
▼ Forgive me, Moogle.
▼ Forgive me (sniff)…
▼ FORGIVE ME!
▼ …oh, hey, this tastes pretty good!
While most nikuman use just pork, the Moogle Bun is a mix of salted pork and chicken, and is thoroughly tasty and pretty filling too. The extra dough on the outside keeps the texture nice and soft, and it’s also piping hot inside, so you might want to start by taking a tiny bite to open up an air pocket, then waiting a few moments for the bun’s contents to cool down before you really start digging in.
Moving on to the Kupo Nut fried chicken, this time the visual flair is all in the packaging, with a sagely Moogle on the front of the cartoon, plus two more on the back.
“Do you know about Kupo Nuts, which Moogles love so much?” the package asks. “They have a tender, white center, and smell so nice and taste so good kupo!”
There’s a toothpick taped to the box like a fast food Excalibur for you to draw and use to eat the chicken.
Right away, you’ll spot flecks of aonori, dried seaweed, on the breading. The outer layer has an ever so slight crisp to it, but the meat inside is tender, and not nearly as oily as you might expect.
The major flavor, though, is barbecue sauce, with notes more sweet than spicy. Though the first sensation is actually a bit of bitterness from the aonori, the subtle sweetness gradually grows, leaving you with an enticing aftertaste that’ll have you ready to take another bite right away.
▼ As evidenced by the motion blur here.
▼ Here, you can have one too, Moogle!
Given how ubiquitous Family Mart branches are in Japan, the Moogle bun and Kupo Nut fried chicken (which sell for 180 yen [(US$1.70] and 200 yen, respectively), are easily worth the quick side quest to try, and they’ll be available until November 4.