There are three monthly subscription levels:
Small: $14.99 (£11.71) 8 full-size snacks
Regular: $24.99 (£19.53) 13 full-size snacks plus 1 Wagashi
Premium: $34.99 (£27.34) 18 full-size snacks, 1 DIY candy kit, 1 drink, 1 item, and 1 Wagashi
There are also three, six, and 12 month subscriptions, which work out more cheaply per month.
I’ve been sent a Premium box, packed with lots and lots of yummy things. This month’s theme is Rainy Day Snacks. It’s been ridiculously hot in the UK lately, but we all know that summer isn’t summer without a good bit of rain. And really who needs an excuse to snack?
The unofficial Japanese rainy season is in full swing, though this time of year is also the perfect time to see the beautiful hydrangeas flowering everywhere. I love how important flowers are to Japanese culture.
Anyway, let’s check out the goodies.
The box is reassuringly sturdy, a necessity for the distance it’s traveled and the sometimes relatively fragile contents.
On top is their menu booklet.
It always contains a menu with information about the contents of the box.
Also included is interesting facts and trivia about Japanese culture and snacks.
And of course, instructions for their DIY candy kit.
I’m pretty sure I can see a butt-shaped thing there on the right…
So. Many. Snacks.
First out, the Dagashi bag. Dagashi are kind of like penny sweets or pocket money sweets.
I love this because it always contains one of my absolute favourite Japanese snacks, an Umaibo stick.
Anyway, from left to right:
Yakinin. as far as I can tell from Google Translate, it’s a kind of sweet buckwheat noodle candy.
Next is my beloved Umaibo Stick. This is Takoyaki flavour. I’m very sad about this because Takoyaki is like a dumpling with octopus in it, and I’m allergic to seafood. Boooooooo. It will go in the box of seafood-based snacks my husband can take to work and eat far from me.
A Gummy Fruit Doughnut. According to my daughter it’s lemon and lime flavoured.
I couldn’t discover the name of these with Google, but they’re a round hard candy. They all have a dark colour outside, a bit like an aniseed ball, but different fruit flavours inside. So you don’t know what flavour you’re going to get! Plus it has a cute lizard-thing on the bag.
Lastly, these are savory taro rice cakes. Taro is a starchy root. There a whole bunch of minis in the bag. Sounds weird but they’re pretty good.
Now on to the bigger items.
These are Mild Salt flavour Chip Stars. Chip Star is basically like Pringles, but come in way more interesting flavours. This was actually one of two possible choices this month: the other was O’zack Sesame Chili Oil. I’m slightly disappointed I got the Chip Star, because you can get salted crisps anywhere, but Sesame Chili Oil? You’re not going to find those in Waitrose.
Oh well, I guess they’re a nice enough snack.
This is a gummy called Super HimoQ – Grape and Muscat flavour. It’s one long gummy string, like a giant’s shoelace, and is striped green and purple for the two flavours. Little C (my daughter) wasn’t so keen, but I love grape flavour stuff so I thought this was fab. Plus look at the two grape characters gazing at each other on the package!
This is the famous Marble Chocolate. They are tremendously popular in Japan, and very similar to Smarties. I’ve had these in boxes before, but this is a handy tube.
The Japanese are big on corn snacks, both savory and sweet, and this is one of their sweet versions. Shimi Choco Corn Soft Cream are basically little corn puff stars, and this flavour is a limited edition for Spring 2017. It’s cream and vanilla, rather like soft serve ice cream. Yum. I love corn snacks.
Another corn snack! This Chocobi Space Parfait. Space Parfait flavour is actually fruit flavours. Chocobi is a favorite snack of manga character Crayon Shin-chan, and they’ve released this special edition to coincide with the release of a new movie featuring the character.
Awesome packaging design too!
Ramune Candy is one of the most famous Japanese sweets. Ramune is a type of soda pop, and the candy version is equally popular. It also comes in a little package the same shape as the soda bottle.
This is the dramatically-named Black Thunder Kaki No Tane. Black Thunder bars are a combination of chocolate and crispy rice, but this new version includes Kaki No Tane, which is a type of salty spicy rice cracker, and a very popular bar snack in Japan.
I love the combination of sweet and salty, so this is a winner for me.
More spicy savoury with these Porippy Spicy Peanuts. This is another popular bar snack (now I want a beer) and are a lovely combination of soy, spices, and honey. Yum.
This is the ‘special item’ mentioned in the menu booklet, Pie No Mi – PABLO Cheesecake Flavour. You can scroll up to read the blurb about these little pastries. I’ve had the matcha tea version before, and these are even more delicious. They are bite-size pieces of puff pastry with a lovely creamy filling. They go beautifully with a cup of tea.
Every Premium box has a DIY candy kit. This is Shin-chan Puri Puri Pudding 5. Again, scroll up to see the instructions, but it’s like a set custard in little moulds with strawberry sauce. And yes, look closely at the package and one of the little shapes is butt-shaped. Well, I guess the character of Crayon Shin-chan is a five-year-old, and in my experience children of that age find bums incredibly funny!
Anyway, you mix some powder with milk, heat, pour, and allow to cool before adding the sauce. Also included are little cardboard shapes you can stick into the moulds to make the shapes into complete characters.
Yay KitKat! Japanese KitKats are simply incredible. I’ve yet to find one I don’t like. This version is KitKat Sakura Kinako, and is sakura (cherry blossom) and roasted soy flour variety. It’s only sold in these little snack sizes in large bags.
Premium TokyoTreat boxes also include a drink. This month is another seasonal taste of Spring, a Tropicana Sakura Peach Taste. It’s a blend of peach, apple, raspberry, and cranberry, with an extra hint of sakura. Fragrant and delicious.
In your Premium box you will also find a little non-food extra item, and this month is a One Piece Multicolour Pen. One Piece is the bestselling Japanese manga of all time.
No need to guess who got to keep the pen…
So much deliciousness I don’t know where to start.
OK then, I’ll get the worst out of the way. I’m sad I can’t eat the Umaibo again <sob>. (Last month’s box also had a seafood Umaibo.) I love those things so much. Did you know Umaibo means ‘delicious stick’? So true.
Anyway, I’ll pull myself together and get on to the rest.
Out of all the items (including the 5 dagashi) 4 were savory. This box usually does mostly sweet things, so that’s OK. And the bag of Spicy Peanuts is pretty big. I do love savory things, but I’m pretty satisfied with these. I was slightly disappointed with the salty Chip Star, because it’s not a special flavour, but they are nice and crunchy at least.
There is a great variety of textures and flavours. I’m a huge fan of the crazy corn snacks, and these were totally up to scratch. Or should that be crunch?
It’s great they snuck in some more KitKats, because those things rock. It’s still just about sakura season, so I’m glad there was a taste of it with the KitKats and the drink.
The DIY candy kit is always a treat; it’s great there are two items tied into the same character.
So many Japanese snacks are completely different from anything you find in the West, so it’s such a treat to be able to try the unfamilliar and unusual.
I also love the packaging. The Japanese definitely win when it comes to design!
As to price, most if not all of these things are only available in Japan, and limited editions are definitely never seen in the UK. If you’re not disgustingly greedy these things should last you the month quite happily.
The menu booklet is a lovely bonus. It’s excellent quality, and it’s incredibly thoughtful to include the extra information.
The Premium box is definitely the best value. It’s worth the extra money to get the whole lot, and you get way more bang for your buck, including the really fun stuff like the Wagashi (traditional Japanese snacks) and a drink.
Now I have to figure out how to make all this last the month…