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 (£11.54)
Original Pack – 12 to 16 full size and sample snacks including 1 DIY candy kit $24.99 p/m (£19.23)
Family Pack – 24 to 32 full size and sample snacks including 1 DIY candy kit $45.99 p/m (£35.39) 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.
This is such a cute family picture on the box!
On the top is their menu letter.
It also tells you about their Origami of the Month, made by hand by Sanae.
It’s a little boat! So cute.
On the other side is their menu, detailing the items in the box.
I’m starting with the Umaibo, because these are my favourite. This one is Pumpkin Corn Pottage flavour. Corn pottage is a very common Japanese flavour, and the fall-themed pumpkin addition give a lovely slight sweetness.
This is a big bag of popcorn, in soy sauce flavour. I dislike sweet popcorn and love savory popcorn, and the soy flavour is a lot more interesting than your regular salted.
This is Baby Gang, which is popping candy. The menu says apple flavour, but I got a grape one. I love popping candy, it reminds me of childhood!
Amazing, another Umaibo! But this time it’s sweet. It’s little corn balls with chocolate filling. I really want more of these, they’re delicous!
This mini bottle contains fizzy candy, a bit like sherbert. It doesn’t say so, but given the bottle packaging I suspect it’s a type of Ramune candy.
This is a little gumball, grape-flavoured bubblegum.
Here’s some seriously cute packaging. These are Koala’s March, little koala biscuits with a strawbery filling. Almost too cute to eat!
These are Neri Ume gummies, which are both sweet and sour. Neri Ume is sour plum, a traditional Japanese flavour.
These are Cream Rusk. Sugar rusk (bread baked with sugar into a kind of sweet dry biscuit) is another traditional Japanese snack. These little biscuits have a layer of cream on top, a bit like icing. It kind of reminds me of a Japanese version of a custard creme.
Do-n Taru are a dried noodle snack, like noodle crisps. Sounds strange, but again very common in Japan.
This is a Cheese Premium Umaibo Stick. I’ve had these before and they are delicious. Like regular Umaibo, but larger with more intense flavours. This one is a bit like a combination of camembert and mozzarella.
These are little kimchi rice crackers. They’re a handy little savoury snack, perfect if you just want a bite.
This is the DIY candy kit. It has three little sachets in strawberry, lemon, and soda. You mix them up and create a grape flavour! I’ve seen flavour-change candies before, and they’re intriguing. I really don’t know how it works, but they are lovely. Also, I love grape flavour things, which don’t really show up the UK.
These are little fried potato chips, exactly like the crisp version of french fries. Clearly in Japan they’re associated with the United States!
Finally, the bonus item of Melon Soda Gum. This is a long stick of gum, and will last you a long time!
Another lovely selection box from Freedom Japanese Market. Fifteen items total this month, and six were savory. I love savory snacks. The soy popcorn was lovely, and wow, chocolate Umaibo. I have to find more of these.
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.
Several of these snacks are very traditional Japanese items, such as the sugar rusk and noodle bites. This is a great way to sample things outside of your usual comfort zone of flavours!
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. 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.