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 – Original Pack plus a hand-picked selection of premium snacks $45.99 p/m (£34.44)
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 a family-run business, and that’s their picture on the box!
The monthly menu and newsletter. There are details of the new subscription structure, and this month’s origami.
Isn’t that cute?
I can see a couple of bagged snacks in the box, which I’m really excited about!
These Curry Arare were right at the top. They are little Japanese curry-flavoured rice crackers. While curry was actually introduced to Japan by the British in the 19th century, Japan has taken those flavours and adapted and improved on them to make a distinctive and delicious dish. In fact, it’s one of the most popular national dishes!
I’ve had the plain chocolate version of these Shittori Ichigo, and this strawberry chocolate version is unbelievably delicious. They are little round corn snack cookies that are lavishly covered in strawberry chocolate so they are both crispy and creamy. So yummy.
Bubblish Ramune Candy is basically ramune (Japanese soda) in candy form. There are a ton of different varieties, and every single one I’ve tried has been yummy. I love the package design of this too!
This month we have two Umaibo! And they’re both Christmassy! Umaibo are crunchy corn tubes in many different flavours, and they are one of my favourite Japanese snacks ever. The one on top is a mystery Christmas flavour, and the one on the bottom is their regular corn potage flavour in fun festive packaging.
These are dinky little orange chewing gums in Sanrio packaging. Mario and Hello Kitty are two of the most popular Sanrio franchises. Almost too cute to eat!
This is a package of Wata-Gashi, which is cotton candy. I love the packaging! Plus I’m amazed that the cotton candy can survive, I always thought it was something one had to eat immediately. However it is perfectly protected and tastes exactly as it should.
More cute Christmas snacks! These are Mugi Chocolate, little milk chocolate bites in adorable festive packaging.
Japan does brilliant popcorn flavours. This Mike Popcorn is Caprese Salad flavour. This is great, because I only like savory popcorn. It’s remarkable how they can combine these flavours into popcorn!
These are Puchi Potato Chips in pea and spicy mayo flavour. It sounds odd, but they are savory and delicious. Again, savory is good! Also, puchi means small, and they are a bit like mini Pringles.
This Fluffy Marshmallow is exactly like a Flump. It’s a big long marshmallow twist, and tastes exactly as it should. Sweet and soft.
The Bonus Snack is Puchi Chocolate. Yep, little chocolate balls with a candy coating. They come in this dinky little container that also has a whistle in the lid!
You can see on the menu above the additional items in the Premium Family Pack (this is just the Original without the Premiium extras). There are a couple there I’m familiar with, such as the Pie no Mi and the Calpico, and they are utterly delicious. And I would love to try chocolate potato chips! I adore sweet and savory combos, and they sound like heaven. Anyway, it looks like they definitely know what they are doing for the Premium selection!
I’m so happy to have some Christmas treats in this box! I think they might be kept aside for stocking fillers. Though maybe not the Umaibo. I love them, so I think I might be greedy and eat the corn potage one myself.
Four of the twelve snacks are savory, which is a reasonable balance. (The mystery Umaibo could be savory too, but I don’t eat what I don’t know because of allergies. I’ll try to find out using Google magic.) The popcorn and potato chips are pretty generous sizes.
I’m so pleased to have the Shittori cookies again! They were in the May box, and were so delicious, we all loved them. So much so I don’t want to have to share 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.
I found Puchi Potato Chips on a UK site, but not in this pea flavour. Like items such as KitKat, there are different varieties produced for different markets. In the this box you’ll always get the domestic Japanese ones!
This family-run small business is terrific. 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 try some extra-special snacks (such as Pie no Mi) then treat yourself to the Family Pack!
This is a great gift, as well as a lovely treat for you (and your family!) and it’s a lovely opportunity to try out new foodie taste experiences!