For the first trip from the ‘Around the World’ series, we’ll be visiting Japan!!
Japan is one of those places I am
dying waiting patiently to visit because I want to be both mentally (ummm language and culture barriers?), physically (jet lag is real, man), and wardrobe-ready for – all things I lack at this moment. It’s a beautiful cluster of islands and I’ve just wanted to go for so so long.
Thankfully, I have a few things for you to invest your time in with this segment on Japan. Not only do I have a full review of authentic Japanese snacks for Part 1, but there’s a ‘lil playlist and an in-depth interview with an AMAZING individual for Part 2. Stay tuned 🙂
I hope you enjoy!
Recently, Japan Funbox, a subscription box from Osaka, sent me a family-sized box full of sweets and snacks to review. I was honestly not expecting the super great customer service nor the fact that I had never heard of any of these snacks before (which is always exciting – albeit frightening).
It was a new experience for me because I have never been sent anything from overseas and something you should keep in mind when buying ANYTHING from another country is to make sure it doesn’t violate (especially food) any U.S. Department of “whatever” guidelines. In my case, the U.S. Customs Border Protection opened my box and took out one or two items that were prohibited entry by the Department of Agriculture – they put a paper in the box that said so. It could happen to you as much as it won’t but I’m just saying, keep that in mind.
Now to begin…
The first thing I noticed was that the box had a TON of stuff inside of it. I mean, yea there are different boxes you get to pick but the one I got was full to the brim with stuff.
How do I get one?
You should figure out which box you want to get, here are the stats:
5-10 items + samples
$14.99 a month
15-25 items + samples
1 special item
1 DIY Kit
$34.98 a month
FAMILY (aka the one I received)
20-35 items + samples
2 special items
1 DIY Kit
1-2 premium quality noodles
$49.99 a month
P.S. All boxes have *FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING* and *FREE CANCELLATIONS*
What was in the box?
One cool thing about it was that it came with a “catalog of snacks” and you get an idea of what each item is (most of the paragraphs weren’t cohesive and so I didn’t understand fully but I got an idea at least). However, the catalog didn’t include every snack in the box so I had to do a research online to know what I was trying out and it also included extra products that didn’t even show up inside the box.
° Gacha – A cute little cat (I think?) clip, toy thing that came in a yellow sphere case. It took me 3 full minutes just to open this ➡
° Meiji white chocolate bar – I’m not sure if it’s a normal thought but Japanese white chocolate is so much richer than American white chocolate. I don’t normally like white chocolate but I found this one to be less sweet than the ones I’ve tasted here in the U.S.and therefore less of a “fake” chocolate flavor. Japanese white chocolate > American white chocolate.
° Lactobacillus Yogurt-Flavored Tablets – I was so close to just leaving this product unopened. For one, I can’t read a thing on that packaging and not only does the catalog not include this item, but all the talk surrounding this is about bacteria and immune system and stuff and I do not want to mess up my body because of one tiny tablet. Buuuut, I bit half of one anyways because I was curious (curiouser and curiouser every single day) and all I’m gonna say is that I’m never trying another one again. It fizzes in your mouth once it dissolves and although the taste isn’t that bad, it was sketchy. Everything about this was, in fact, sketchy. Don’t poison yourself kids.
° Seasonal Chestnut Caramels – OH MY. This is a whole lotta deceit in one small square (the package has like 12 of them). The smell was great, I opened it and thought “hey, this could be good” but boy was I led wrong. I had to search online to figure out what flavor it was because the picture shows a chestnut but I did not taste chestnut. I dunno, it could be me and my weird tastebuds but I wouldn’t buy this.
° Pudding Marshmallow and Koeda Strawberry Chocolate – The marshmallow was like a squished marshmallow but with a thick yellow pudding inside. It was SO SWEET. SOOOO SWEET. The strawberry chocolate thing melted while shipping but I put it in the fridge and took it back out so it won’t be as hard and mine tasted more like a strawberry-Nesquik-flavored crunch bar but ten times sweeter (as if they made it with white chocolate and added the color/flavor). Not bad, but wouldn’t buy for myself.
° Caramel Corn – When I opened the bag (almost hitting myself in the face with it) I was overcome with nostalgia. Like déjà vu, only much much worse. This thing smells like a cereal I used to eat during my childhood but I can’t remember the name of, I even asked my sister ’cause she thought the same thing but for some reason it’s so vague. Anyways, this tastes just like kettle popcorn but with a puffy Cheetos texture and shaped like tiny boomerangs. It was okay, I’d be okay with eating this again though I don’t prefer it.
° Roasted Soybeans – These beans are used by the Japanese (and Chinese as well) during the Setsubun Festival where people throw them towards “evil spirits” to drive them away. According to them, if you eat the same amount of beans as your age you will have a good year. I didn’t eat these but since they’re only roasted soybeans I don’t see the danger in doing so. (I laughed for a long time just looking at that angry little kid on the package)
° Okonomiyaki – I also laughed at this product because the packaging is all Japanese except for TEXAS CORN typed really big on the back. Apparently it is a part of the ‘Texas Corn series’ (!!!). The catalog claims these are flavored like Okonomiyaki sauce but since I’ve never tried that sauce these tasted more like french onion and sweet barbecue chips rolled into one tiny puffy Cheeto. It’s really soft and melty and doesn’t leave a bad aftertaste. 8/10 would recommend.
° Bourbon ELISE and Bourbon Baum Roll – The Bourbon ELISE is a cream-filled vanilla wafer and it tastes like an American vanilla wafer but less sweet (which is a good thing). The Baum Roll is a fluffy cake roll – I thought of light vanilla cake. I liked these. That is all. Moving on.
° Hina-arare – I honestly had no idea what to expect when I opened this little bag but I wasn’t expecting it to smell like nothing. These look like tiny popcorn puffs but taste like overly sweet off-brand cereal. I tried one of each color (the catalog says each color represents a season – spring, summer, autumn, and winter) but they all tasted the same to me. I felt just like when I found out every Froot Loop color is the same flavor.
° Chopsticks!! I’m kind of obsessed with using these so it was a pleasant surprise when I saw them in the box.
° Umaibo Takoyaki – The catalog says this is another one of those snacks that taste like a sauce (in this case, takoyaki sauce). It’s essentially a puffy stick – hollow on the inside – coated in flavor dust. Sweet, savory, and tastes kinda like barbecue but more oriental. I liked it a lot. It smelled like Asian food when I opened it so that’s a PLUS.
° Sudako san taro – LET ME TELL YOU, I was so scared just looking at that weird octopus thing on the wrapper. This was one of the last things we tried because at the moment it sounded daunting – “seafood and squid snack, vinegar and octopus flavor”. I opened a little crack to smell it first and was pleasantly surprised ’cause it smelled gooood (though I couldn’t pinpoint what exactly)! When you touch it, it’s slimy and full of some sort of juice but when I tasted it… it just felt like I took a chunk out of sweet vinegar “fruit leather” with a splash of seafood. I don’t like seafood.
° Poteco – This was the snack I was most excited about. The package has a hand with a ring on it and it’s just such a cute pouch! Pink aesthetic all over. They are tiny onion-rings (we immediately thought of them as thicker cheerios) and taste like a potato chip mixed with Funyuns. You can’t beat an original, familiar taste; 10/10 for sure.
° Chocolate-Banana Cookie Slowbar – The packaging on this thing reminded me of the bar that makes you gain weight in Mean Girls. It smells just like a Chips Ahoy soft and chewy cookie plus banana and looks like one (in bar form) but the banana coating on top kinda ruined the whole thing for me. It was alright. I’d be willing to try another flavor instead of this one though.
° Fruit Gummies – These were a catch. Besides the fact that they were kinda hard to chew, the flavor of each individual fruit was very concentrated. The fruity smell had me sniffing the bag each time I opened it 😆
° Brownie? Oreo? Crunch? Chocolate Bar – This wasn’t on the catalog therefore I thought it was going to be a granola bar (’cause that’s what it felt like from the outside) so when I opened it and saw chocolate all three of us looked at each other like (!!!). We are a chocolate-loving family. I took a bite and it was SO GOOD. SO SO SO GOOD. It has pieces of Oreos but it was like a brownie and rice krispies and even peanuts all coated in milk chocolate and we ate it all right then and there. It was really light too. Another 10/10.
° Donut DIY Kit – Last but not least, the DIY Kit! I’ll admit, I haven’t made them yet but I saved this for last because they look super cute and I want to make them with my little sister. I opened the package inside of the box and it comes with a tiny spoon, a tray, sprinkles, and the dough. I might make an update when I do end up making these so stay tuned! Also, the instructions are on the back of the box and fully Japanese so I might have to look up a video for help.
UPDATE: I ended up going to the website and thankfully found English instructions. Made these with my siblings and it was entertaining to make and decorate each individual custard donut thing. No baking needed, just water, mix, roll, and eat. They didn’t taste all that great though… except for the chocolate sauce!
Although I didn’t personally like most of them, it was cool to try something new! I’m already a picky eater as it is so you might be the one to fully enjoy it. I would definitely buy a box if I was trying them with a group of friends or something because the dynamic between me and my sisters trying this was interesting and what made it enjoyable.
** Box provided by Japan Funbox but the review includes my own pictures and honest opinion **
Have you tried any of these Japanese snacks before? If so, what did you think of them? Any recommendations to specific ones you really really enjoy?