Note: I originally posted this review on the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club blog on August 15th, 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.
Hello, everyone! I’m so happy with the overwhelming response we got from the Okashi Connection subscription box review. I think some other people were happy with that response too! After that resounding “YES!” we got when I asked if y’all wanted more subscription box reviews, another Japanese candy company named Taste Japan asked if they could send me a box to review. And, well, I couldn’t say no!
Let’s start with the details: Taste Japan is a monthly Japanese candy and snack subscription box that comes straight from Japan. It costs £15 (includes shipping), which is about $25USD. They ship internationally to anywhere the Japanese Post Office will deliver. I forgot to weigh my sample box, but the boxes should have about 400-650g of candy and snacks per month, according to their site. From the weight of my box, I think this was pretty spot on. They take payment on the 20th of the month and your box ships on the last day of the month each month. From there, since it’s coming from Japan, expect it to take about 1-3 weeks. They include an information guide with the boxes so you know what you’re eating. My example box didn’t have a guide included due to time constraints, but they said the next ones will have the guides.
So, what’s inside the box? Taste Japan’s goal is to provide seasonal and unique items in your boxes, things you can’t find anywhere but Japan and things you probably haven’t heard of. I think they succeeded. Mostly. More on that later. On to the snacks! All Photos can be made larger if you click them!
Country Ma’am Chocochip Cookies Vanilla and Cocoa:
I’ve had Country Ma’am cookies once before in the matcha flavor and didn’t really like them. These were more of the Country Ma’am classic flavors from what I can tell and they were delicious. Nice, bold (but pleasant) flavors, soft and gooey in the middle. The Cocoa was my favorite of the two flavors and I wish I had some more!
I’ve actually had these before. I purchased them at my local Japanese market and tried them a while back. They’re little burger cookies with sesame seed buns and chocolates as the burger patty and condiments. They’re okay. I’m not a huge fan of the strong toasted sesame flavor and neither is my husband. These were also pretty melted by the time they arrived, so they were more like a huge clump of cookies! They’re a neat, fun concept, but they are something that’s pretty common locally.
These were pretty fun. They’re described as whale shaped potato chip snacks and they’re a perfect example of how Japan makes everything better. They had a baked potato chip flavor but they were light and airy and the fun shapes were hollow in the middle. Surprisingly, most of them were not broken in transit and I had fun digging out all the different shapes. The flavor wasn’t the best but the fun factor made up for it.
These are cheese crackers with wasabi and almond on them. I am not a wasabi eater or an eater of spicy things, so I let the husband take the lead on this particular snack. He enjoyed them and said the almond balanced out the spiciness of the wasabi. He said they were best eaten in one go so you can get everything together at once, otherwise you might just end up with a spicy hunk of wasabi.
These boggled me when I pulled them out of the box. I had no idea what they were before I looked at the information sheet. They’re asparagus and bacon flavored sticks with a potato chip sort of consistency. They had an interesting flavor that I liked, but I wouldn’t say they were bacony. I definitely tasted the asparagus, though. They made a great snack and the cup fit nicely in my car cupholder, so I could imagine these being a nice road trip snack!
Premium Umaibo Camembert and Mozzarella Flavor:
If you read my Okashi Connection review, you might recognize these. I got two of them in my box and was happy to see them. I really liked them from the Okashi Connection box, so I didn’t mind seeing something I’d already seen before. They’re nice and cheesy, like a big cheeto but a lighter consistency and more natural cheese flavor.
The information card describes this as 11 hugely popular gummy treats. Not gummy like an American might think, though. These are gum as in chewing gum. Inside, there are five different flavors: strawberry, orange, cola, grape, and soda. Japanese gum is so wonderfully soft and it’s great for blowing bubbles. This reminded me a lot of the Kirby Mix and Match gum I got in my Okashi Connection box. The gum had nice, vibrant flavors and stayed soft even when the flavor was gone.
Pudding Kit Kat:
At first, I didn’t realize that these were the Kit Kats that you bake! I was worried they wouldn’t come out right because they’d melted a bit in transit, but I baked them according to some instructions I found on youtube. I put them on a foil tray and stuck them in the toaster oven. You wanna keep a close watch on them because once they brown they’ll burn really fast. After about four minutes, I pulled them out, let them cool, then ate them. They. Were. Amazing. I want more, I hope they come out with more and I can just import giant bags of them. From what I’ve heard, they’re fairly limited. These were my favorite thing in the box.
Japan has so many fun DIY candy kits. This is the first one I’ve actually tried and it was really easy and cool. I messed mine up a little bit because I was too slow, but it still came out pretty good and my husband, surprisingly, really liked it. He said it was his favorite thing in the box. I mixed a powder with water, then added it to the tray, added little gummies, and then more of the mixture. After letting it set, it forms a gummy texture and then you can put them on a skewer or plate and cover in the caramel sauce and green sugar sprinkles. I thought the texture was a little odd, but the flavor was good.
So, let’s talk about value. There are similarly priced boxes out there, so what does Taste Japan bring to the table? Other than snacks, they provide fun trivia and tidbits about Japan, and plan to do quizzes and competitions, according to their site. They also mention the idea that by being a subscriber, you have a friend in Japan, someone you can contact any time. The company is run by two British guys who live in Japan, so they provide a fun perspective on the snacks and Japan itself.
They’re about on par with other subscription boxes I’ve had from Japan. The snacks are similar but unique enough that you could get multiple Japanese boxes from different companies and still probably get mostly different snacks and candies. Japan just has that many awesome goodies to provide. Freshness and quality was great, and other than the Everyburger, everything else was stuff I’ve never seen in Asian markets here in the US.
For the future, they plan to include about the same amount of snacks in each box, and they plan to make the inside and outside look more visually appealing. This box was just your standard cardboard mailing box. I look forward to seeing what this company continues to provide. I love the idea of getting seasonal snacks and goodies, because these things rarely make it outside of Japan. If you like what you see, be sure to subscribe!
What do you think? Leave a comment below and if you come across any cool subscription boxes I should review, let me know!
Feature Image from Taste Japan