Review: Ume Onigiri House provides a fresh, quick Japanese fix

Photo courtesy of UME Onigiri House

Whether you’re an avid fan of Japanese cuisine or rarely eat it at all, Ume Onigiri House provides a salty, satisfying and relatively inexpensive meal. The food stand opened in December 2015 and is located on the corner of 24th and Hilyard Street, near Sundance Natural Foods.

It looks a little small compared to the next-door buildings, but it’s actually fairly large for a food stand. The menu offers a variety of options, including plates with a protein, rice, vegetables, potatoes, an egg and fruit. The stand also offers snacks, including onigiri (rice balls), potstickers, miso soup, and teriyaki chicken.

Prices range from about $1-$9, though specials may be a little more expensive.

Sometimes only one person is working at the stand, so they are fairly quick at taking orders and preparing food. Once an order is placed, an employee prepares it on site and it takes roughly five minutes.

The food is pretty standard Japanese cuisine, but its freshness makes it special. On the stand’s Facebook page, it claims to purchase only organic vegetables from local Eugene farms. Its teriyaki chicken is marinated in house-made sauce and cooked on a cast-iron grill.

The actual plates are salty and comforting, covered in savory sauces. The chicken gets a little dry, perhaps due to its marination method, but the flavorful potatoes and rice make up for it. One plate is an ample serving, with just enough for a leftover snack for later.

It would make more sense if the stand were closer to campus, since it’s appealing for college students. It’s inexpensive, fast, and tastes good. And the employees are quite sweet.

However, it might not always be worth the trip. It’s far away, and once you purchase the food, there’s really no place to eat it – a common problem among food stands. And by the time you get home, it will probably be a little cold and lose some of its flavor.

Overall, though, the food is good. It wasn’t remarkable or amazing, but it’s filling, priced fairly, and pretty fresh for how quickly it was prepared. It’s not a place to go for a slow, relaxed meal, but it’s perfect if you want a Japanese meal fast.

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