Japanese snack subscription boxes have exploded in popularity, and with good reason. Japan produces the most wonderful (and sometimes weird!) array of delicious munchy things. Not only is there remarkable choice, but the package designs are brightly coloured and extremely attractive. You can also get some unique versions of familiar sweets and chocolate bars.
Anyway, this particular box is from Freedom Japanese Market, run by an expat family. It contains an impressive variety of snacks and candies. They have three box sizes:
Puchi Pack – 5 to 8 full size and sample snacks $14.99 p/m (£11.22)
Original Pack – 12 to 16 full size and sample snacks including 1 DIY candy kit $24.99 p/m (£18.71)
Family Pack – 24 to 32 full size and sample snacks including 1 DIY candy kit $45.99 p/m (£34.44) Two of everything – double the snacks without double the price.
Longer subscriptions are lower price, and shipping is included.
I was sent an Original Pack. While the box takes 10 – 20 days to arrive (which coming from Japan with no extra shipping costs is bloody good) it arrived in perfect shape.
That’s their family on the box!
On top is the menu and newsletter, plus this month’s origami.
A mushroom for autumn.
And here’s the menu.
Each box usually contains two Umaibo.
These are my favourite Japanese snacks. Umaibo are corn puff tubes, and are crunchy and delicious.
The one on top is pollock fish roe flavour. Doesn’t sound great, but it’s actually salty and delicious, and not at all fishy.
The one just above is pork cutlet flavour, which makes sense as there’s a little pig on the packaging.
This cute little thing is a Choco Daifuku, which is a chocolate-filled mochi. Mochi is a traditional Japanese candy made of sweet sticky rice which is pounded into a paste.
Everyone likes popping candy! This version is called Little Gang, and they recommend you try it on ice cream. Personally I like it as it is, though I have to try to keep it out of my daughter’s hands first!
These are tiny little rice cake candies flavoured with champagne cider. Unfortunately they contain no alcohol.
This Orange Queen is a tiny pot of orange flavoured yogurt candy. It’s not the kind of yogurt you keep in the fridge, so I’m not going to think too closely how this is achieved! It is, however, very cute little pot.
Mmmm, caramel corn. Next to Umaibo this is my favorite snack. This version is fruit au lait flavour, which I think is basically like a fruity milkshake. Japanese caramel corn is crunchy and sweet and delicious.
Kinbaku Iri are individually wrapped little soda candies. The packaging also contains a tiny fortune!
Yes, these are indeed Pineapple Potato Chips. Sounds strange, but the combination of sweet and salt is very pleasant.
This is Kaki no Tane, which is a mix of little crunchy rice crackers and peanuts flavoured with soy sauce.
This month’s DIY candy kit is Hora Dekittal DIY. It’s one of the simpler candy kits, and contains little apple-flavoured candy balls with syrup and sprinkles for dipping.
Cheese Arare are cheesy rice crackers. Yum! I love the picture of the cow on the package.
The final bonus items is a Candy Mic, a microphone-shaped package of ramune soda candies.
Once again, a great selection of goodies.
Thirteen items this month (I’m counting the Kinbaku Iri as one) with four savory and the rest sweet. I do love savory things so I wouldn’t mind having more, but these were great. Especially the Umaibo!
The candy corn and pineapple crisps were pretty big bags, so unless you’re feeling greedy you won’t chomp through them in one sitting!
One of the great things about Freedom Japanese Market is that every single item is sourced direct from Japan, so is exactly what you would buy in stores there. Of course you can buy plenty of Japanese snacks in the UK, but they are produced for the export market, so are generally different from the domestic versions. Also, the exported items spend months in the shipping process, so won’t be half as fresh.
It’s great they include traditional Japanese confectioneries, such as the mochi, as well as standard Japanese snacks. Trying out new flavours is always interesting, especially as I’m pretty sure you’re not going to find pineapple potato chips in the West!
I really like that this is a family company. I’m all for encouraging small businesses, and this one has a fantastic product. Their customer service (Ken) is incredibly good, and they clearly put a great deal of thought and consideration into their monthly selections. Plus Ken is clearly as awesome at packing boxes as Sanae is at making origami!
I think the value is pretty good for what you get. Sourcing all these things individually would be more or less impossible, and never for anything like as cheap as this. Even googling these items is difficult, as they tend not to be listed under English names. As always, smaller boxes (Puchi) aren’t such good value, so I think it’s definitely worth spending the extra eight quid and getting the Regular pack. Or if you want to treat your family, get the Family pack! Then you don’t have to share with anyone.