Guess who’s back! ٩(^ᴗ^)۶
Things have REALLY gotten in the way of blogging recently, but all being well this will be the last time I’m saying this! I’ve finally got my lighting sorted (which has been my main problem) so I can provide better quality photos for you all, and because I no longer need to wait for a sunny day I’ll be able to work to my own schedule and get posts up regularly again. Yay!
There are quite a few changes I’m planning to make over the coming months, some major some not so much. You may have noticed the title of this post is ‘unboxing & review’. That’s right, the first major change is no more plain old unboxing posts with the promise of further individual reviews (which I rarely have time to do anymore); from now on I’ll be reviewing each item in the box in one post. This does mean longer and more photo heavy posts, which I’ve been hesitant to do, but it makes sense. At the very least I hope they’ll be of more use to those who read them since you’ll get to see and read about what I actually thought of each snack rather than just see the packaging and read which ones I think will be good, or which ones I’m looking forward to trying. A good change I hope!
Now, on to this month’s unboxing. The theme for November is ‘Japan’s most iconic snacks’, which is sure promising a lot! Read on to see what was included in the November box:
BAKE is one of those snacks I’ve wanted to try, but I’ve never seen it in a flavour I’d like. Usually I’ll find cookies and cream flavour, which is really not one of my favourites, or a plain flavour like chocolate. TokyoTreat have done much better than I have and found a super exciting limited edition flavour; sweet potato! Sweet potato is one of my favourite foods so I get ridiculously excited over sweet potato snacks (♡´౪`♡)
BAKE is so named because it is chocolate that has been baked to give it a crispy texture and to stop it melting in your hand.
I find this baking process changes the chocolates to the point where they aren’t even identifiable as chocolate any more. They’ve got a really unique texture; the outside is crispy while the inside is softer and granular. It’s kind of like having a mouth full of crunchy sweet potato flavoured sugar, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but certainly isn’t what you’d expect from something that calls itself chocolate.
Flavour wise these are very very sweet and quite rich. They leave a cloyingly sweet aftertaste and can be a bit sickening, but if you eat just one or two at a time they’re delicious. The sweet potato flavour really comes through well, although these are quite possibly the sweetest sweet potato snacks I’ve tried and so they aren’t as realistic in flavour as other things we’ve tried. They’re good, but just a bit too cloying to make our favourites list.
This is such a cute little snack, it looks like the apple pies they serve at McDonalds! ｡^‿^｡
This snack is made from a lovely sweet, crisp and light pastry with a generous amount of chocolate filling. The chocolate is great quality, which I didn’t expect as this looks like a cheap kind of snack. The combination of pastry and chocolate is absolutely delicious, the only bad thing I have to say about it is that it is very small. Or maybe I’m just greedy. Who knows!
Calbee certainly deserve a place in this ‘most iconic snacks’box, their snacks are hugely popular (and not just in Japan). This bag features a classic flavouring of seaweed and salt, which thankfully isn’t as salty a combination as it sounds!
These were one of my favourite items from this month, the flavour is absolutely delicious! At first all I could taste was ready salted, but once I ate a few more the seaweed flavour really started to come through. Rather than making them taste more salty, the seaweed adds a wonderful savoury flavour. It’s really cool that you can taste the two separate flavours, they don’t meld into each other at all.
TokyoTreat say the secret ingredients in these crisps are red pepper and sesame oil. I didn’t taste anything like that, but I wholeheartedly agree with their claim that these are super addictive! I would buy these again in a heartbeat, they’re so delightfully moreish and the bag is absolutely packed so you get loads to share.
Yay, more sweet potato! This time we have a little yokan, which is a type of wagashi (traditional Japanese sweet) that is usually made from gelled sweet red bean paste. It’s always awesome to see more traditional snacks included in subscription boxes!
While this looks like a jelly, it’s actually very firm and has a granular texture. It may be one of the smallest items in the box, but it’s also one of the most filling as it is super rich and has a very dense texture. The sweet potato flavour is amazing, it’s super realistic although to be honest it’s a bit disconcerting having the definitely a sweet potato flavour combined with the definitely not anything like a sweet potato texture. For being so rich, it wasn’t at all sickening as the sweetness was quite mild. I really hope TokyoTreat include more items like this in the future, it was a real treat!
From wagashi to dagashi, these ramune candy whistles have apparently been loved by kids in Japan since to 1970s. They even come with a little toy, how cute!
Our toy was a little red car, which my son loved ｡^‿^｡
There’s not much to write about these candies, they’re a soft tablet candy with a great ramune flavour that thanks to their shape double as a whistle. I thought they’d be hard as they look really solid but you can bite down on them straight away and they dissolve into a mildly fizzy powder. I didn’t have much success with making a whistling sound, I could only do it if I sucked air through them as opposed to blowing, which seems a bit dangerous when you’ve got a candy in your mouth! A fun little item anyway.
Ah. Mayotara. We have come to my least favourite item in November’s box…
Mayotara is a dagashi item made from dried fish that includes a little packet of mayonnaise for extra flavour. Now I don’t know, maybe I’m just wrongly associating the term ‘dagashi’ with our concept of penny sweets, i.e. super cheap and low quality items, but dried fish really isn’t something I want in a cheap/low quality snack. Nor would I want low quality mayonnaise for that matter! This type of item makes me worry about food poisoning (´π`)
I tried it anyway. And when I say I tried it I do mean only me, no one else would touch it. What did I think of Mayotara? Here, I wrote it in mayonnaise:
Silliness aside, it’s not that bad. I was expecting worse. But it’s not good either. TokyoTreat say the longer you chew it the more intense flavour you’ll get. Well, I tried, I really tried…but it had the taste and texture of styrofoam to start with and that didn’t change with chewing. Sticky styrofoam at that. The mayonnaise had flavour, but that doesn’t mean it had good flavour and it really didn’t add anything to the experience. I really didn’t enjoy this one at all, although part of that could simply be down to my inherent distrust of dried fish snacks that look like sheets of plastic.
Our November DIY kit is this super fun fruit/vegetable shop kit from Coris. There are a few different varieties available, our shop contained strawberries, bananas, tomatoes and peppers.
This kit is both fun and simple; you take the sticks of chewy candy (which are apple, lemon and grape flavour) and press them into the mold to make your fruit/vegetables. Make as many as you want (you can make a couple of each one) then display them on the pop up shop display. Simple! Some of the different versions involve mixing two colours to make a third, but our one didn’t need this step.
The finished candies are surprisingly tasty, although it’s tempting to just eat the sticks! The apple flavour was particularly tasty ｡^‿^｡
Tohato Caramel Corn is another snack well deserving of iconic status in my opinion, this stuff is awesome! TokyoTreat have included a limited edition apple pie variety this month, but really any flavour is worthy of iconic status. They’re all delicious! Sweet corn puffs can be a bit of an odd one to get your head around, but they seem to be common in Japan. Or should I say, they are common in Japanese snack boxes!
Texture wise these are as you would expect from caramel corn; light, crispy and airy, with a thin crunchy sugar coating on each piece. Flavour wise the first thing that hit me was the cinnamon, which in itself is not overwhelming but it does overwhelm the apple flavour somewhat as it’s quite hard to make out. These taste like the spice mix for an apple pie more than an actual apple pie, but they’re still delicious!
From the makers of umaibo, the popular dagashi corn puff sticks, we have a new offering; umaitama (that’s ‘delicious balls’), bite size choux pastry balls with a chocolate cream filling. If you’re thinking profiterole right now, you’re about right!
These are super light and airy, so much so in fact that there is actually very little filling in each puff. The pastry is slightly soggy and overall the puffs taste more like a cheap and slightly stale chocolate cake than a profiterole, which was oddly disappointing. They’re not awful, but they aren’t something I’d go out of my way to pick up again. I know they’re a cheap snack and the quality will of course reflect this, but they’re pretty poor quality compared to umaibo. I expected them to be comparable since they’re from the same makers, but I guess not. Oh well!
I find it quite amusing that TokyoTreat neglected to mention in the leaflet that Shigekix are sour, because in fact they’re the most sour candy I’ve had from Japan!
See that white coating? Yeah. That’s super twist-your-face-up sour powder. Bet that came as a surprise to subscribers who hadn’t tried Shigekix before!
At first I really wasn’t sure on the flavour of these. When I see ‘mikan orange’ I read ‘super bitter orange’, and indeed the gummies have a really bitter but admittedly realistic orange flavour. It’s a bit overwhelming when you have a super sour candy, and just when you manage to suck off all the sour powder you get hit by a super strong bitter flavour. The other Shigekix flavours I’ve tried have had a really sweet candy under the sour powder, having a bitter flavour gives these an entirely different dimension which I’m sure lots of people will love, but honestly I prefer a sweet reward to a bitter one after enduring that sourness!
I got used to it after I had eaten a few though and found they were quite enjoyable. The gummies themselves have a very firm texture, which I enjoy. You can suck or chew them for ages and get lots of intense flavour. They leave a bitter flavour in your mouth for a long time afterwards, which is a bit icky. But still, overall I did end up really liking these!
Kinako is both an iconic and unique Japanese flavour, I’m so glad to see it in this box as it is SO good! Kinako is roasted soy flour and has a really good nutty flavour. People often compare it to peanut butter, but it’s not all that comparable in my opinion; kinako is much less sweet and less salty than peanut butter and has a much deeper roasted nut flavour. But I would say if you like peanut butter you’ll like kinako too, so long as you don’t mind the powdery texture.
This kinako stick is exactly that; it’s a stick of firm chewy candy covered in a generous coating of kinako. The texture is great and the flavour is delicious; lots and lots of lovely roasted nuttiness with just a hint of dark brown sugar providing a mild sweetness. I wish we’d had more than one of these, it was so good you just want to keep chewing and chewing. Yum! (♡´౪`♡)
The humble rice ball has to be one of Japan’s most iconic foods, since they couldn’t send us a real one TokyoTreat have opted to send us these awesome Re-ment key chains instead!
We got tenmusu, a Nagoya specialty featuring a tempura shrimp filling. It’s not something I’ve ever tried, but hey…if I were in Nagoya I’d certainly give it a go! The seaweed on these is so realistic, though I don’t think the shrimp on our one looks all that real haha! I kind of wish we’d gotten the plum one, the one with the red dot in the middle. I’m not sure it’s something I’d enjoy the flavour of but I think it makes the cutest key chain!
November’s drink is a can of peach juice, which despite what being in a can may have you believe is not carbonated. As you can see from the label this stuff has been around since 1964 and is apparently a long time favourite in Japan.
The juice is surprisingly thick and syrupy and has an amazing peach aroma. The flavour doesn’t quite match up to the scent, in fact we all agreed it tastes just like the syrup you get in canned fruit cocktail here in the UK. This is by no means a bad thing, the syrup in those cans is way more delicious than the fruit and it’s kind of a childhood dream to have a can with JUST syrup in it. It doesn’t taste overly peachy, more generically fruity, but it’s intensely and deliciously sweet, very refreshing and somehow light for being so thick in texture. This might not be as exciting or as exotic as Fanta Watermelon or Sakura Pepsi but it’s a great drink nonetheless!
Morinaga is a big name in the world of Japanese snacks, so it makes perfect sense to find one of their products in an iconic box. These milk caramels have been around since 1913 and according to TokyoTreat continue to be one of the best selling snacks in Japan. After trying them I can understand why!
I love the simple packaging and cute square shape of these caramels, I don’t know why but I’m a sucker for cube shaped candies.
The caramels themselves have a great texture, hard enough to suck but soft enough to chew right away. Their creamy, rich caramel flavour is quite similar to Werther’s Originals, a UK butter candy, but obviously they are far softer in texture. There are loads of them in the packet too. They’re absolutely delicious and well deserving of their iconic status, definitely one for our favourites list!
Another snack that boasts long standing popularity, Genji Pie has been around since 1965. This sugary pastry snack has a light, crisp texture and a simple yet impossible to describe flavour.
Our poor pies got broken in transit, such heartbreak! (haha, sorry!). They were still delicious though. The unique texture and sweet, simple flavour makes this snack well worth trying if you can find them.
Pocky is one of the few Japanese snacks that is easily available outside Japan, which in itself should tell you how much Pocky deserves an iconic title. This soft milk flavour contains no artificial colours or flavours. It also holds the title of being the one and only Pocky variety I really, really do not like.
As you can see from the photo, the cream is much the same colour as the biscuit stick. I was expecting these to be less sweet than regular Pocky, but what I wasn’t expecting was for it to have basically no flavour at all. Could it really be that the only thing that makes Pocky so delicious is artificial colours and flavourings? Well yes, of course, I’m being sarcastic. I suppose the real question should be why bother removing the only thing that makes Pocky delicious? Even the biscuit sticks taste off, it’s not just that they’re less sweet there’s something really off about them. This Pocky just tastes…bad. Bland coating with a claggy texture and biscuit sticks that don’t even manage to taste like biscuits. The regular milk flavoured Pocky is one of my all time favourites so I’m really disappointed they managed to mess it up this badly through changing whatever they changed in the ingredients. I really wouldn’t recommend this flavour at all, it gives Pocky a bad name（◞‸◟）
So there we have it. One big box full of iconic and delicious treats. I think TokyoTreat did really well making their selection, there are so many iconic and popular snacks in Japan it must have been hard choosing just 15 to include. They weren’t all winners in my book, but overall the snacks were great and as usual there was a really interesting variety.
Since this post is a different format to my past posts I’d like to say that as always I welcome any and all feedback, positive or negative. Thanks for reading, be sure to check back to see the next box!