One of the most enjoyable aspects of Japanese culture (for me) is the seasonality of its food. Kabocha is sprinkled throughout fall dishes, mixed with a bit of konnyaku.
In the fading summer days, mugicha (barley tea) quenches the thirst that arises in the hazy, humid heat. In winter, we can look toward the steaming bowls of Hokkaido miso ramen adorned with corn and butter.
And as you already know, the spring births hanami and all of the wonderful sakura-flavored snacks.
With Japan currently closed to foreign tourism, wouldn’t it be great if you could experience the Seasons of Japan from home?
Bokksu is a company that brings you Japanese snacks from all across the island nation. Each month, they release boxes filled to the brim with fresh goodies under a common theme.
Now, I know what you are probably thinking – what makes Bokksu different from the dozens of other services you can choose from today?
Quality in product. A variety of exclusive regional specialties, some not found outside of Japan. Bokksu partners with local and family-owned businesses (some over 100+ years old!) to bring you the best possible snacks to truly experience Japan.
I was lucky enough to receive a Seasons of Japan Review Box from Bokksu, so without further ado let me introduce you to the wonderful snacks!
Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Kinako
Very sweet and fresh! Kind of like a cheese puff texture on the inside that melts on your tongue. Lingering kinako taste afterwards.
Kinako is actually my favorite mochi, so this was definitely one of my favorites from winter!
Organic Genmaicha Tea
Pale green in color. Robust rice mingled with matcha green tea smell only explainable if you’ve ever had genmaicha before. The smell of this brew wafted through the kitchen and had a crisp taste that filled my nose with a positive aroma and warmed my throat.
I should also note that I have a soft spot for genmaicha, along with hojicha.
Puku Puku Tai: Chocolate
It has that strong, rich cocoa smell Japanese chocolates that use quality cacao tend to have. The taiyaki outside of the treat is like a wafer.
Inside, the chocolate is soft despite appearing hard. Great balance of both flavors, more of a chocolate taste on the second bite.
Note: I ate the Puku Puku Tai: Chocolate before realizing the allergens.
Bokksu comes with a nifty culture guide booklet on what you are eating, the maker, the ingredients, and possible allergens. This is great because sometimes when purchasing Japanese snacks from konbini or even bento, all of the allergens are not always labeled.
Even if the item ingredients have been translated to English.
For example I remember once I was going to buy a bento and mentioned in Japanese that I had a seafood allergy. And was offered chicken instead of fish. I was then still offered miso soup, even though the delicious soup is made with dashi fish stock.
Which wasn’t out of any sort of malice. From what I’ve noticed, miso soup just isn’t considered a seafood dish. It’s just the soup eaten with most meals.
Funny enough, I had that culture book in front of me the whole time I was taking photos for this review. In my eagerness to try the taiyaki fish I completely overlooked the written text, only noting the nearby snack’s food allergen info.
Since it was chocolate, subconsciously I didn’t think any of my allergens would be in it.
This has happened to me before on other items, so I really do appreciate that Bokksu has accurate labeling for their snacks.
(Also, I’m completely fine from trying it! ☺)
Uni Rice Cracker
Again, I have an unfortunate seafood and shellfish allergy I developed later in life. So I was not able to try the uni rice cracker or the upcoming seaweed tempura: setouchi sudachi. I’ve heard uni (sea urchin) is lovely, though.
Fear not, these snacks will not go to waste. I’ve given them to my mother to try whenever she desires to enjoy something new.
Hokkaido Red Bean Doughnuts
Slight oils from the cake inside the bag. The steam from the genmaicha overpowers the natural scent of this one.
I tried smelling it up close and came away with a cake-like smell. Like fried dough, oil, and then red bean paste in that order. Trying it, there is the sweetness of the anko prominent throughout, as if the adzuki beans were naturally sweet before the added sugars.
Left a lasting flavor in my nose.
I enjoyed it, overall.
Matcha Chocolate Stick Cake
Smelled like pineapple to me. Very soft to the touch and while cutting with a knife. Taste of chewy chocolate, with growing hints of matcha. Weird blend of the two in an aftertaste.
Maybe chocolate and matcha together are an acquired taste. When I tried snacks like this in the past it just wasn’t for me, despite how tasty I knew it could be.
Black Sesame Taiko: Kumamon Design
Kumamon, the adorable yuru-chara (mascot) of Kumamoto prefecture on Kyushu! This snack had a great sesame seed and almond smell when opening the wrapping. The hand-pressed disc had a nutty, buttery like flavor with great crunch.
Aomori Apple Caramel Yakkoi Sable
Aomori is known for their apples, so I was very excited to try this.
Fresh apple and sugary candy smell emits from just a slight tear in the bag. Smells as if someone were baking cookies in an apple orchard during the fall. The cookie is so soft to the touch. And yes, it actually does taste like a candy apple, too.
Heaven has opened up and I have ascended. Definitely my favorite fall item from the box.
Never actually had a chance to taste edamame until now. I got kinako dust on my fingers upon opening the bag. Very strong kinako and senbei taste. Crunchy.
I tasted the edamame towards the end of the first bite and it left a salty – savory aftertaste.
In the second bite I got to taste an edamame pod in the forefront.
This one is really great with the genmaicha tea, too!
Seaweed Tempura: Setouchi Sudachi
Handmade Yuzu Sake Candy
See down below for this one.
Definitely a tonkatsu smell, as the snack description states! Would love to eat some Japanese curry now after this, haha. The dondon yaki has a crunchy senbei texture, the inside a bit hollow.
No real aftertaste.
Mocchan Dango Mochi
Absolutely no scent.
Ate the white one first and all the sugar dissolved to reveal the delicious rich mochi flavor. The green one tasted like…something. Can’t quite put my finger on what.
I remember reading a long time ago that hanami dango usually have different flavors: the pink sometimes sakura, while the green being flavored with mugwort.
Maybe that’s it? Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve had this type of mochi, or mugwort mochi on its own.
After I ate the dango it gave me a sugar rush, so I’m glad I saved this one for towards the end.
Stick Potato: Suppa Mucho Plum
Smelled like potato chips with a twist – because they are!
From a distance these actually look like small french fries. Lots of flavors going on here. Sweet floral notes of plum balanced by a twinge of pickled plum. Potato taste on my third bite makes the blend really come together.
(More on the stick potato continued down below.)
20th Century Pear Langue de Chat
Fruity pear-like flavor similar to strawberry Pocky. The pear taste like it’s in the cream pureed, along with a delicate interlay of white chocolate.
This was certainly the daintiest biscuit of the bunch!
I tried to cut it in half for a photo and broke it. So as you can see, it is very soft and flaky.
Smells like cotton candy and white chocolate. Pretty firm to the touch. Not hard, and breaks down in my mouth like a candy bar would. Strawberry and chocolate mingle towards the end. The combo certainly works!
Maybe an acquired taste, but I quite enjoyed it.
Wrapping Up & More on the Stick Potato: Suppa Mucho Plum
So, I actually ate the entire bag of potato sticks while writing the intro for this article after taking photos. I’m a potato chip lover anyway, but as I didn’t eat anything this morning it became my breakfast and lunch.
I saved the last bit of genmaicha to wash it down and cleanse my palate with before trying the…
Handmade Yuzu Sake Candy
I’m glad I saved this one for last. The hard citrus candy cut through the starch of the potato and gave a great after-dinner feeling.
All of the snacks were wonderful to try, and I sincerely encourage you to experience the Seasons of Japan for yourself. Or, any of the snack boxes offered by this company.
Visit Bokksu’s website here.
Thanks again to Bokksu for the review box! All of these seasonal Japanese snacks really made my weekend special.
☆ In Asian Spaces