Note: I originally posted this review on the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club blog on June 20th, 2014. This is a repost, since I worked really hard on it and I enjoyed the service, so I wanted to share it on my own blog. Since posting, I have actually signed up to continue receiving a monthly Okashi Connection subscription!
Hey Iggles! Let’s talk subscription boxes. I love subscription boxes, especially when they involve food. My current addiction is Japanese snack boxes. I’ve been getting a Skoshbox for a few months now, and I have been pretty happy with the variety in the box, but not the amount of snacks. It felt like everything in the box was only a little nibble or taste, a tease. And many of the items in the box were actually things I could find in the local Japanese market. While it was great to try and discover things I didn’t know existed, I was craving larger portions and things I couldn’t get anywhere other than straight from Japan.
Enter Okashi Connection. They’re fairly new to the subscription box scene, but they’re already starting off strong. Okashi Connection offers a monthly box straight from Japan for $22 a month (includes shipping) and they ship worldwide. They deliver a pound of candy and snacks for your money and strive to send things you CAN’T find anywhere but Japan. Their goal is to give you a better deal for your money. More candy for less. I liked that idea, so I contacted them for a box to review for my IGGPPC family! As you’ll be able to tell, I totally suffered through this. Really. I did. And by suffering I mean I ate all the candy till I felt like I was gonna explode and then got all hyper on the sugar. If you get a box, you might not wanna eat it all in one night like I did! Okay, on to the review!
Opening the Box:
I was surprised by the size of the box when it arrived. It was over three times the size of my Skoshbox and full of snacks. I weighed it, box and all, and it was one pound, four oz, easily over a pound if you were to subtract the weight of the cardboard box. I dug in and started trying the snacks. I would like to say that everything in my box was enjoyable. There was nothing that I didn’t like or couldn’t eat. Also, everything was super fresh. A lot of times, I buy stuff from Asian or Japanese markets in Houston and it’s stale and not so great. I was very happy with the quality and freshness. You can click all the images to enlarge for detail.
In Japanese, Ninjin means carrot. It’s a traditional Japanese snack. Don’t let the name deceive you, though. There’s nothing carroty about it. It’s filled with a puffed rice snack that reminded me of an old breakfast cereal. I remembered it had a frog on the box but couldn’t remember the name and had to google it. Honey/Sugar Smacks. It’s a lot like that, but not quite as sweet. It was very light with a nice crunch. Surprisingly, this simple snack was my favorite thing from the box.
Caramel Corn in Mixed Berry Flavor:
It had the texture of a Cheeto and it was sweet like a breakfast cereal. I wondered if I could pour it into a bowl and eat it with milk but my husband told me it would probably dissolve. They’re great to munch on and have a satisfying crunch and pleasant tartness to them as well. They’re good if you like berry flavor, which I do.
Premium Umaibo Camembert and Mozzarella flavor:
Umaibo translated literally means “delicious stick.” And it was quite delicious. As this one was cheesy flavored, it had the flavor and consistency of a cheeto. From what I understand they come in a wide variety of other flavors, but all have about the same consistency.
Pie no Mi:
These are croissant-flaky pastries with a chocolate filling that is light and crunchy but not too crunchy. They can be eaten straight or you can microwave them for a few seconds. Either way, they’re delicious! My only complaint is they’re so flaky they broke up quite a bit in shipping. But the chocolate had a wonderful flavor and I didn’t mind licking the broken flakes off the bottom of the tray. The packaging was adorable!
Fue Ramune Whistle Candy:
This is a pretty fun candy. You blow through the hole in the middle and it makes a whistling noise that sounds like the whistle of a tea kettle. The little box in the bottom had a penguin toy inside. This candy can come in a variety of different flavors. The one I got was cola flavored and it had a very good, authentic cola taste. I was surprised by how good it was! My husband and I had a fun time making annoying whistling noises to bother his friend on Skype while they were playing games.
These had an apple sort of flavor and were very soft and sweet. They reminded me of Haribo Fizzy Cola Gummis, but softer and not tart. There were two packs of these in my box.
Sour Plum Bubble Gum:
This candy is pretty fun. It has a tray of three different gum balls, but they all look and smell identical. From what I can tell, the point is to allow your friends to choose one. There is a trick. The middle gum ball is SUPER sour! My husband grabbed the one on the left and I grabbed the middle one. Now, I love sour. Usually sour stuff doesn’t bother me and I don’t even make a face, but HOLY POOP it was SOUR! The husband’s wasn’t even sour. Each one has a sweet or sour filling, and when I bit into it, WHOAH! This gum didn’t hold its flavor long and it started to get hard after ten or so minutes, but would have been fun to give to some one who didn’t like sour stuff and see their face.
Raspberry Adult KitKat:
If you know much about Japanese candy, you know that Japan gets the BEST KitKat flavors! I’ve tried a few, so I was excited to try the raspberry KitKat. It doesn’t have a super raspberry flavor, you mostly get it in the nice, tart aftertaste. I liked these KitKats, but husband wasn’t impressed. This was the only thing in my box that arrived kinda melty, but it wasn’t too bad.
Kirby Mix & Match Gum:
This gum comes in multiple flavors and the object is to mix the different flavors to create a different flavor. The little gum balls had a pleasant flavor and I had fun mixing them and following the instructions on the back. The gum was nice and soft and when it would begin to lose flavor I could pop another one in to boost it. It had a nice resealable pouch!
Matcha Country Ma’am Cookies:
From what I understand, Country Ma’am makes some of the best cookies. They were nice and soft and had a fresh, strong green tea flavor which mixed nicely with the chocolate filling. These were actually my least favorite thing in the box but my husband happily finished them off. The box came with two of these.
Matcha Cream Collon:
These kinda remind me of Combos or a shorter version of those Pirouette cookies. The green tea flavor is nice and creamy and they have a good crunch. These were my husband’s favorite thing out of the whole box.
All in all, I think this was a great value and variety. I will definitely be subscribing to Okashi Connection and I’ll likely cancel my Skoshbox. Okashi Connection has a wonderfully personal feel to it. The owner is personable and enjoys interacting with other Japanese candy lovers through email and social media. They’re very open to feedback and even do monthly surveys to see what people like and don’t like. They are also excited to build a community of fellow Japanese snack lovers! They do members-only posts that explain the snacks and have discussions about the treats.
Okashi Connection also does a monthly video hosted by official taste testers Karin (13) and Haruka (11). Karin and Haruka are adorable, funny, and honest about the snacks. If they don’t like a snack, they’ll say so! I have been told that Karin is athletic and has the appetite of a growing teenager! Haruka is the girly one and enjoys singing songs by AKB48 and dancing along!
For the future, you can expect Okashi Connection to grow and build their brand, starting with packaging and shipping labels, etc. The box was plain, but it was from Japan and filled with delicious stuff, so that’s really all that mattered!
As you can tell, I greatly enjoyed my Okashi Connection Box. If you would like to subscribe, click here, enter the code IGGPPC when you subscribe and they’ll add free Japanese stationery to your box! Seriously, they’re awesome. Try them. You won’t be disappointed. They take subscriptions until the end of the month, then send the boxes out the first week of the month. I got mine on Monday, June 16th, so expect them to arrive about mid-month, depending on your location.
Also, they sent me a bag of the Raspberry KitKats to do whatever I wanted with. I’ve decided to keep some of them, but I’m also going to give some of them away! I’ve created a box that contains some Raspberry KitKats (FYI these are limited edition and Japan exclusive), Green Tea KitKats, other Japanese candies (including some extras from my box), and tea from Japan. I’ll announce the lucky winner on Monday, June 30th, so enter to win below!
Here’s a peek at the prize:
Featured image/header from Okashi Connection.