Egg salad tucked between slices of white bread, Japanese Egg Sandwich (Tamago Sando) is a timeless snack you can find in every convenience store in Japan. The filling is creamy and bursting with a rich egg-yolk flavor, and the bread is soft and pillowy. Some claim it’s the best egg sandwich they ever tasted.
Sandwiches are not a new thing in the world of Japanese cuisine, but they seem to be having their moment right now. One particular sandwich that makes it to international stardom, which honestly took me by surprise, is Tamago Sando (たまごサンド).
It is basically the grab-and-go Japanese egg sandwich that is sold everywhere at conbini (sometimes spelled as konbini; コンビニ; convenience stores) in Japan. Have you tried it before?
I finally understood its popularity when I found out the legendary Anthony Bourdain glorified Tamago Sando over Twitter. “Inexplicable Deliciousness” were his words.
Watch How to Make Japanese Egg Sandwich (Tamago Sando)
What is Tamago Sando?
Tamago (たまご) means eggs and sando is short for san-doh- itchi (サンドイッチ)—sandwich in Japanese. You probably heard of both words from Onsen Tamago, Tamagoyaki, Tamagotchi (the nostalgic toy!), and Katsu Sando or Wanpaku Sando from my blog.
The egg sandwich is pretty much a homey snack to the Japanese because we all grow up eating it. It is a modest, low-maintenance, convenience store sort of food. I don’t exactly know when tamago sando became so popular internationally, but I’ve been seeing it on the menu of trendy cafes and restaurants in the U.S.
Even Just One Cookbook readers tell me how much they miss the egg sandwich from 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson convenience stores in Japan. Only $2 for each sandwich! You can’t beat that.
What’s the Difference between American and Japanese Egg Sandwich?
In comparison with American-style egg sandwiches, Japanese egg sandwich is a lot simpler. Usually just mashed boiled eggs between the bread. There are no spices, lettuce, or anything extra. It’s as pure as an egg salad sandwich can get. I actually do like the American-style egg salad sandwich too and I’d say both versions have their own unique flavors. So what’s all the fuss about the Japanese egg salad sandwich? I think you can say it stands out because of these characteristics:
1. Shokupan – Japanese Pullman Bread
Tamago Sando always uses soft and pillowy Shokupan, a Japanese Pullman (commonly known as Japanese milk bread). The sandwich bread is sweet, milky with a nice bounce, and the crust around the Pullman is completely removed so you get the perfect soft texture of a sandwich.
And of course, the mayo. Tamago Sando uses Japanese mayonnaise (with Kewpie mayonnaise being the most recognizable) which gives the egg filling an extra tang and creaminess. If needed, you can use American mayonnaise, but the flavor complexity can be quite different. Many Just One Cookbook readers told me that they won’t go back to American mayonnaise after trying Japanese mayo. If you get a chance, it’s worth grabbing a bottle of Japanese mayonnaise at your local Asian grocery stores (available on Amazon too).
Needless to say, eggs are the main ingredients in the egg salad sandwich, and the taste of eggs totally shines through. There is something about Japanese eggs. They are fresh and the yolk is almost orange, and they are so darn delicious. In the US, you can certainly procure some quality eggs from your local farmers’ market or good-quality free-range eggs.
The Secrets to Making Perfect Tamago Sando At Home
I want to throw in a few cooking secrets to make the perfect tamago sando at home. You may think the 7-Eleven egg sandwich is perfect, but if you look at the label on the sandwich, the ingredients are full of preservatives. To make the truly perfect and healthy homemade Japanese egg sandwich at home, here are my tips:
- Use older but quality eggs, not the freshest eggs, if you want to peel the shells easily.
- Use soft white bread if you can’t find Shoukupan, Japanese Pullman bread.
- Add milk for a creamy and smooth texture
- Don’t be afraid to add salt. For a simple dish like this, salt plays an important role in bringing out the flavors.
- If you want your sandwich to taste very much like the 7-Eleven version, add a tiny bit of sugar for some sweetness. Otherwise, you can skip.
- Don’t skip the butter. It acts as a waterproof barrier so the bread stays dry, not soggy.
If you are used to eating the 7-Eleven egg sandwich in Japan, this homemade recipe will make you very happy. It is good with coffee or tea, but even better if you enjoy it with a cup of royal milk tea.
More Japanese Sandwiches You’ll Love
- Japanese Fruit Sandwich (Fruit Sando)
- Wanpaku Sandwich (The Ultimate Layered Sandwich)
- Katsu Sando (Pork Cutlet Sandwich)
- Egg Salad Sandwich
- Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Japanese Egg Sandwich (Tamago Sando)
- 3 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- 4 slices shokupan (Japanese-style Pullman loaf bread)
- salted butter
- ¼ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp milk
- 2 Tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make the Egg Salad
- Put the eggs in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by one inch (2.5 cm). Bring it to a boil on medium heat. Once boiling, cook for 12 minutes.
- Once it’s finished cooking, transfer the eggs to iced water to stop the cooking. Let them cool completely and peel the eggshells.
- Transfer the peeled eggs to a bowl and mash with a fork. Try to mash the egg whites into small, same-sized pieces.
- Add the sugar and salt.
- Add the freshly ground black pepper and milk. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Add the mayonnaise and mix very well.
To Assemble the Tamago Sando
- Set out two slices of bread. Spread the butter on both slices of bread. Evenly distribute the egg salad on one slice of bread.
- Put the other slice of bread on top, buttered side down, and place the sandwich between two plates to compress slightly. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Cut the crust off the bread.
- Cut the sandwich in half. It’s now ready to serve.
- You can keep any leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.