Japanese snack box boom
There’s been somewhat of a boom recently towards the appeal of Japanese snacks. The idea of trying unusual but exciting flavours that come directly from Japan. As such, an entirely new business model has arisen where exotic treats and snacks are flown around the world in the form of Japanese snack boxes.
Popularised by names such as Sakuraco, Bokksu, and Tokyo Treat; they offer a taste (literally) of some of the types of snacks you can find almost exclusively in Japan — which for many Japanese enthusiasts is rather exciting. Yet there are other players in this emerging trend that offer similar experiences. One such company is that of ‘Sushi Candy’ which I recently had the pleasure of trying myself.
Sushi Candy has a similar premise to the names listed above where Japanese snacks are delivered directly to your door. However there are some differences to what you find within each box and the business model they use.
Interested in this Japanese snack box alternative? Let’s discover what it’s all about.
Sushi Candy offering
The Sushi Candy box (sometimes bag) focuses on Japanese sweets and snacks known as dagashi — translated as cheap sweets. They are the kind of sweets that you would find in a Japanese combini, the ones that are small, individually wrapped, with lots of variety, probably aimed for kids who are allowed one or two small treats when they are out shopping with parents.
Don’t let this fact put you off however; while many of the snacks may certainly be aimed at kids in terms of size and packaging, what with the customary characters adorning every packet you encounter, it’s the taste and variety that really matters. What’s more, when you can get up to 50 in a box the size at least suddenly becomes a little bit irrelevant.
There is a choice in terms of how much you want. Typically speaking there is a 10 piece, 30, piece, and 40 piece snack box according to their website sushicandy.net, but they are also available on Amazon in a 50 piece selection. While Sushi Candy’s snack boxes are arguably the focal product, they also do some others — notably a vast array of KitKat flavours that continues to elude the rest of the world.
Now this kind of offering is a little different to some of the other traditional Japanese snack boxes. These are not highly curated and hand crafted snacks but simpler — cheaper — more everyday ones and is reflected in the price compared to some of its competitors. What’s also different with Sushi Candy is that it’s not a subscription service; pay for one box when you want it.
As previously mentioned these Japanese snacks are available to be bought both directly from Sushi Candy and on Amazon. Amazon prices can vary compared to going direct.
Prices on Sushicandy.net
10 item set = £15
30 item set = £19
40 item set = £23
50 item set = £32
30 piece Kitkat and chocolate selection = £22
Sushi Candy contents
Here’s the most interesting bit — what do you actually get and what are they like?
(For the purpose of clarity i’m basing this on the 40 piece Japanese snack box which is what I ordered. It’s also worth noting that it doesn’t look like each box will contain exactly the same items every time; there might be some slight variation.)
Every item in a box will be different, (you won’t find any duplicates) although you find a couple that are quite similar or the same item in a different flavour. There’s a mix of sweet and savoury with items such as crisps, biscuits, crackers, nuts, confectionery, with a few totally unusual items such as coated seaweed.
Here’s a rundown of some of the products you can expect to try.
There are a couple of these within the box in different variations but are one of the few snacks that are quite different to anything you may have tried before. These are fairly thick but brittle cracker style snacks coated with a sticky coating which has a slight taste of popcorn (the coating not the cracker).
This is a very general description I know, however, there are a fair number of wafer-y style foods in the box. They come in various shapes and sizes such as a fish or a tube and most are paired with a chocolate filling or coating. You don’t need to be feeling very adventurous to try these as they taste very similar to some chocolate bars you may be used to. For reference the wafer tastes like an ice-cream wafer.
Fujiya Home Pie
I found two variations of these in my box which are essentially Japanese style biscuits. Again not the most unusual but very nice either way. One tasted very similar to a custard cream but with a strawberry cream filling, the other was similar to shortbread. Both were very nice.
Now to one that wasn’t so good. For anyone not well-versed in Japanese food terms, Wasabi is often translated as Japanese horseradish and nori is seaweed. This was one of the most unusual snacks that you would not have tried before — and probably won’t again. It’s a very thin piece of seaweed that is entirely coated in a dried sauce (I’m assuming wasabi but who knows). It has a very pungent fishy urine-y smell. Yes you read that right. The taste resembled the smell. Only for the brave.
This was a personnel highlight. Sobameshi is a Japanese meal of buckwheat noodles and rice, here we find it in a confessed snack option. I’m assuming this is meant to come solid however mine was in bits when opened. Despite that, the taste was really good. There was a slightly spicy thick beefy flavour. Very flavourful.
Strawberry sweets were plentiful in Sushi Candy too. There are strawberry coated raisins, strawberry chews, a small strawberry bun thing with chocolate in the middle that’s beyond some of the other things already mentioned. You can certainly expect to see some combinations that are a little different.
Very small soft marshmallow sweet, almost identically to a flump which you may be used to.
Thats the literal name in katakana for those that can read it. Novelty sherbert sweet.
Curry flavoured crisps
These were a personal favourite with a very mild taste, with a shape and texture very similar to chipsticks.
Very thin crunchy breadstick kind of snack. Came in two flavours, both of which were very mild and enjoyable.
This covers most of the types of things you can expect in a Sushi Candy Japanese snack box. Aside from one or two items, most of them are quite enjoyable.
Thoughts and impressions
Many of the items that Sushi Candy have curated are quite similar to other things you may have tried in the past but in different forms or with a twist. This is both a positive and a negative but depends on what you want and expect.
In one way, it makes Sushi Candy a safe bet; there will be plenty of flavours you recognise and hopefully enjoy. On the other hand, if you are expecting a box full of snacks that are totally different or a representation of more traditional Japanese foods, this one may not be for you.
I personally enjoyed almost all of the 40 snacks that I ordered; there was only a couple that, for me, were a bit foul. However, even to those that I didn’t enjoy as much, it was good to at least experience and discover something new. If we take into consideration the price and quantity as well as the snacks themselves, I can say with some certainty that the Sushi Candy Japanese snacks are worth giving a go. With a price tag of around £20 or so they would also make a great unusual gift idea for a Japanese enthusiast.
But one final point to help put things into consideration is comparing these Japanese snacks to others on the market. As previously mentioned; Sakuraco, Bokksu, and Tokyo Treat are some other subscription based snack boxes. There is no doubt that these types of boxes offer higher quality products, however, they are also double the price and contain about half as many products. So again it’s about what you want, and Sushi Candy is a good but cheaper alternative.