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Koreatown

This New Koreatown Onigiri Spot Is Unlike Any Other in Southern California

Supamu, which started as a food truck and a series of pop-ups, brands itself as Southern California’s first Okinawa-style onigiri. What sets its onigiri apart from competitors? All the details are in the post, plus where to find it.

Calling all onigiri fans: A new spot dedicated to the beloved Japanese snack just opened in Koreatown, and it’s unlike any other in Los Angeles. Last week, Supamu opened its first brick-and-mortar location at the corner of 6th and Catalina.

If you’ve visited Rice & Nori in Little Tokyo or Japanese grocery stores, such as Marukai or Nijiya, you’re likely familiar with common types of onigiri that feature shio (salted) salmon, ume (pickled plum), and tuna-mayo fillings. The Japanese rice balls come in a wide variety of shapes, seasonings, and wrapping styles. Steaming hot, white rice can be hand-formed or made with an onigiri press, fully or partially wrapped with nori (or plain), and topped with ingredients like furikake, toasted sesame seeds, or dried shiso leaf.

Supamu, which started as a food truck and a series of pop-ups, brands itself as Southern California’s first Okinawa-style onigiri. What sets its onigiri apart from competitors is the shape and wrapping style: Unlike traditional onigiri, which is commonly shaped into a triangle or ball, Okinawa-style onigiri is wrapped with nori and folded into a sandwich shape. The popular convenience store food is easy to grab and take on the go, and it’s typically filled with pork tamago a.k.a. SPA, and a sweet, Japanese-style omelet. SPAM became a popular ingredient in Okinawa following the U.S. military’s post-World War II occupation of the island, and Okinawan onigiri is similar to the SPAM musubi popularized by Hawaii’s Japanese-American immigrant population.

The “Classic Supamu” features SPAM and tamago, but you can order additional fillings. Supamu’s menu includes an “All-American” onigiri with cheese and ketchup, the “K-Pop Supamu”, which is topped with kimchi and corn, and a curry croquette onigiri with sesame slaw and choice of tonkatsu or tartar sauce. I tried the classic beef sukiyaki onigiri, which was topped with thinly sliced beef and onions, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much flavor was packed into each bite. The rice was perfectly cooked, the tamago was well-seasoned, and the SPAM blended perfectly with everything. If you’re a fan of SPAM musubi or want to try a less traditional style of onigiri, Supamu is well worth the visit.

3324 W. 6th St., Los Angeles CA 90020. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 18 - "6th/Catalina", Bus Line 20 - "Wilshire/Catalina", Bus Lines 204, 720, 754, or Metro B and D Lines - "Wilshire/Vermont Station."

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