With Japan being on the other side of the world, there will always be that sense of exploration and longing for the snacks and sweets that are not readily available over here. A great way to get your hands on new Japanese products are through subscription boxes which supply a plethora of wonderful flavours in both sweet and savoury snacks. I was recently contacted by the Japanese Candy Box – Japan Funbox to do a review of their Mini Box, and I gladly accepted.
Based in Osaka, Japan Funbox is a subscription delivery service that brings the fun, the cute, and the craziest foods from Japan right to your doorstep every month. Inspired by a Chinese work colleague of theirs who loved to eat candy while he was working, when he returned to China, a new flavor of Kit Kat was released in Japan. They decided to send him a package that included the new flavor, as well as other candies. Their colleague was happy that he could still eat Japanese sweets in another country, so they started sending him packages regularly. He shared the candies with his other friends in China, who also told them that they would love to have packages sent to them too. And that was how Japan Funbox began.
There are three boxes available. The “Mini Box” is the smallest one and contains on average 5-7 items which costs $14.99 (roughly £11.33) a month. The most popular one is the “Original Box” with 15-20 items, 1 DIY kit guaranteed and a special item for $32.99 (roughly £24.93) a month. Finally the super sized “Family Box“, which has a whopping 25-30 items, 2 DIY kits guaranteed and 2 special items all for $49.99 (roughly £37.78).
A key point about these subscription boxes is that you can cancel your subscription at any time online. The products are delivered to your doorstep straight from Japan, and shipping is free worldwide. The packaging is simple, a cardboard box with their logo and the usual postage stickers. Inside there is a pretty piece of crepe paper holding the goods securely with a list of the items you will receive in your box placed on top. Simple and to the point.
As you can see in the list above, the July Japanese Funbox was filled with an eclectic mix of sweet, sour and savoury flavours. If you had the original box you even got a One Piece anime stationary set. The list of goodies marked on the left side under the “mini” title are what I got to try. There was only six items, but I did like the selection that was supplied. I would have preferred a few more savoury snacks on the list, but I could already tell that there were some crazy flavours included in the box.
Below is a review of the items I managed to try out, starting with:
Noted as bite-sized biscuits “with a combination of rich milk chocolate and fragrant wholegrain biscuits”. They totally reminded me of the Bahlsen Choco Leibniz biscuits you find in the supermarkets in Europe. The only real difference is that these are tiny, and the taste of Japanese chocolate isn’t overly enjoyable for me. I find that Japanese chocolate is not as sweet as I would like it and can have the consistency of Play-Doh. If you like things like Pocky or you like Japanese chocolate, then you will like this snack.
Tomato Flavoured Pretz
Think of a Pocky stick, without the chocolate, and just a tiny, thin, crisp bread-stick. Then cover it with tomato powder. It’s addictive and completely more-ish. I found myself craving more and before I knew it I had finished the packet. Luckily there are two packets in the one box, and I managed to share out the second packet. It literally tastes like a margarita pizza on a dry bread-stick. So very yummy.
Pizza Potato Chips
Literally what it says on the package. These pizza flavoured crisps are absolutely godly and the best bit is that they have melted cheese on them! As a person who is extremely picky when it comes to crisps (eating only specific flavours), I initially cringed upon seeing the flavour and that the crisps were ridged. But never judge a book by its cover. These were so tasty and so I am seriously looking online to order a few more packets.
Ume-Pachi (Left), Whistle Candy: Grape (Right), Shuwabo (Bottom)
These three sweets were a rollercoaster, from the ultimate brain busting sour flavour, to the saltiest yet sweetest, and ending in a powdered taste bud calming sweet toy which gave me hours of fun. Starting with the Ume-Pachi, I really cannot recommend this to anyone. It’s definitely up there with being one of the sweets that could be used in place of the “Bean Boozeled Challenge”. On first inspection it looks like plum flavoured popping candy – simple right? No, this is Japan, nothing is that simple! After taking a small mouthful of the popping rocks, I realised I was in danger of spitting the lot back out. It was horrendously salty, sour and Japan’s popping rocks are not to be messed with! At that point I washed my mouth out, passed the rest of the contents on and vowed to never touch that flavour again.
The Whistle Candy: Grape sweets are sweet, powdery and extremely fun, especially if you can’t whistle yourself. Their design allows for the person eating the sweet to blow air through the centre and make amusing whistle noises. The taste reminded me of the grape ramune drinks you can get, and when the sweet was crunched it turned to a dissolving powder like sherbet.
Everybody likes a good chew sweet, and although we have Blackjacks, Fruit Salads and Refreshers in the UK, Japan has the best mind-boggling chews called Shuwabo. The sweet itself is like the chewy candies we get, one side is orange, the other is lemon, and it even has a sherbet filling similar to that of the Refresher bars. But what’s mind-boggling is when you chew the sweet. The two flavours and the sherbet mix together, creating a Cola flavoured sweet in your mouth. So it actually tastes and feels like you’re chewing a bar of Cola.
The subscription service is still in its early days, but the Funbox team truly hope that some of our readers will give them a chance and join them in experiencing a little bit of Japan through their Japanese candy boxes. I enjoyed the selection I was given, and it’s a lot more fun not knowing what surprises I’m getting each month!
Be sure to check out Japan Funbox on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all the news and updates of the past and future boxes. A big thank you to Fukushima and the team at Japan Funbox for inviting MYM Buzz to review their subscription box.