Saturday, June 8, 2013



While my love of Japanese snacks has not diminished, I fear my time as a blogger has. While it's been super fun to share my (terrible) photos and thoughts, my nearly 2 years of blogging has not culminated in the rousing success I had envisioned.

I may decide to pick it back up in the future, so for now I will thank those that have enjoyed the journey and claim an extended hiatus.

Ja mata ne~ see you again!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bourbon Petit Smokey Cheese Crackers


This is my 2nd attempt at Bourbon brand crackers. My 1st was the tomato chili variety which can be seen here. There are sweet and savory varieties of these crackers and I decided on the smokey cheese flavor. (No particular reason- the image of the cheese on fire was kind of neat) I picked these up at Mitsuwa for $1.99 on my last visit.

The packaging is still impressive. I had not a single broken cracker.

The crackers, despite being savory and of the same brand, are very different than my last go-around. The tomato chili flavor was like a typical flour cracker- the smokey cheese flavor was rice based, more like a senbei. My opinion on senbei is mixed and so I was surprised and mildly disappointed. However, the texture was softer than my past senbei experiences and the flavor tasty, if not remarkable. I am always thrilled when something is different than my expectations. I don't think I'd purchase this flavor again but it was not terrible. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Morinaga Choco Flake


Cereal is one of my favorite things. I did not eat it for years for no particular reason and decided to pick up a box one day in college and the rest is history. With milk, dry as a snack, in yogurt...OK, I'm done. This little individual sized bag of Morinaga Choco Flake instantly appealed to my tastes (plus those Flakes with faces are adorable) and it was only $.99!

The bag is actually "pocket sized" according to the text. Japanese is full of onomatopoetic words such as gorogoro (the sound of rolling or thunder) and dokidoki (heart beating). The term sakusaku is often used for something crunchy or crispy.

Look at how cute the little Flake twins are when describing how delicious they taste!

The flakes were not what I expected. They are pretty much Corn Flakes with a thin layer of milk chocolate. It's hard to reconcile...the milk chocolate coating makes them unlike cereal and yet they are a bit too much like cereal for a snack. I even put some in milk after my initial taste and it was clear that was not how they were intended to be consumed. The flavor is not bad but the chocolate is rather mediocre. I would rather have a handful of Chex or Cocoa Puffs!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tohato Habanero Spicy Pizza Potato Sticks


I picked up this bag of Tohato Habanero Spicy Pizza Potato Sticks on my last trip to Mistuwa for $2.69. How is one not charmed by the angry demon pepper or the promise of habanero pizza?

I appreciate the spice scale on the front of the bag. I'll warn you right away that it is inaccurate. I really do love the bag's design. The Italian colors and pepper make it fun!

Demon pepper makes another appearance on the back of the bag talking about the spiciness and deliciousness of what is inside. I like how emphasizes the pizza aspect with the tray and soda. Classy, demon pepper, very classy.

The bag has a fair amount of product. However, the snack itself was less than impressive. The sticks tasted oily and only after consuming a few did I get a semblance of spice. The spice scale should have been zero. The pizza part was barely there with a slight cheesy flavor. I would probably be happy to try another flavor before I write off this line of snacks from Tohato.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Morinaga Hi-Soft Caramel


Apologies for long time between posts! I've started a new job and catching up with my friends and family whom I've neglected with crazy operations hours for the past few years. Also, I misplaced my camera's memory card and just realized that technology is amazing and I can upload photos from the internal memory with a cord instead. Back to business as usual!

I recently went to Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ, and picked up some fun new items! I've have Morinaga caramels in the past but they were fruity. In all honesty, I bought them because I was young and thought the Hamtaro cell phone charm that came as a prize was adorable and of course I needed to collect all 12 of them. In any case, I figured it was time to give a true Morinaga caramel a whirl.

This box is incredible. I know you may be thinking I'm nuts but my other passion is vintage travel anything (posters, luggage, extinct airline memorbilia) and this color scheme and design is EXACTLY on point.

The back of the inner carton is covered in cute sketches of French themed items. How adorable!

There are a dozen little bricks of caramel in the package. I appreciate the actual box and it makes it easy to through in a purse or bag and share with others. The travel palette continues to the wrappers with the simple silver, red and blue. I cannot mention enough what great design this is!

The caramel is chewy and rich. It has a nice sweet milky flavor. I'm no caramel expert but I did like Glico's version a bit better, they were a tad bit softer and easier to chew. I would definately buy these again if Glico's were unavailable or try different varieties.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Meiji Lucky Stick Cappuccino


My initial foray into Japanese snacks, like most, consisted of your typical Pocky, Ramune soda and Hi-Chew candy assortment. I always viewed Meiji's Lucky Sticks to be a knock off of Glico's Pocky and so I was rarely tempted to try it. My husband actually picked this out on our last Mitsuwa trip. Cappuccino is not usually my flavor of choice but if I'm going to go for a treat I have been hesitant about in the past, why not go all the way?

The box immediately makes me uneasy as it is all in English aside from the katakana below the logo that reads simply "Lucky Stick". The design on the box is pleasant, English aside. It gives a nice view of the treat and a lovely looking cup of cappuccino.

When opening the bag, I was immediately reminded of a coffee shop. This smelled exactly like a store in my local mall that ground coffee fresh for customers and brewed a mean specialty cup of joe. Isn't it weird how a smell can conjure such specific memories?

Anyway, the biscuit itself was relatively flavorless (as most biscuits in products like this tend to be). The chocolate was creamy and tasted sweet and coffee-like. It was actually pretty good quality and filled with flavor. I would like to try some other varieties of Lucky Stick in the future. This particular flavor did not edge out over Pocky but it was surprisingly close!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kabaya Quattro Choco Biscuit

こんばんは みんさん!

Thank you for dealing with me during this few week delay! I'm in the midst of changing jobs and have been working for 3 weeks straight between the old and new. It's exciting and very scary and a Japanese treat or two have certainly eased the stress meanwhile.

Today we have a treat from my beloved Mitsuwa Marketplace. This was featured on sale on an end cap during my latest sojourn. It was priced at $2.50.

My experience with Kabaya treats have tended to be along the lines of,  "great idea! poor quality!" and so I was equally excited and nervous to try Quattro. The box is not particularly eye-catching but I suppose it is trying to go for a more mature audience.

The box contains 6 individually wrapped biscuits which is a terrible deal and an even worse one when not on sale! However, this sort of excessive packaging always reminds me of why I love Japanese treats and the pride taken in making sure each individual product is presented well to the recipient.


The snack is called Quattro as it contain 4 layers. The biscuit supports a white chocolate layer filled with "thick chocolate sauce" topped by a "bitter" chocolate. Fancy! The complete treat is certainly well done if not remarkable. The biscuit is crunchy, the sauce gooey and the remaining chocolate to standards. However, there is nothing so delicious or distinct to set this apart from the many other variations of biscuit and chocolate.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Meiji Suppai Lemon Gum


You might be thinking I picked this up because of the Meiji brand name but it's actually a different Meiji than the beloved chocolate company! If your second thought was that the lemon gumballs with faces were incredibly alluring- you would be correct. I picked these up at Mitsuwa for only $.89.

The package claims to be a sour lemon gum ball- and they were not lying. What you see on the package is exactly what you get (though without fun faces). I've never seen gum packaged so nicely! It's a little bit more fun to try a product that is packaged with care.


These gumballs were extremely sour. I like sour things, Warheads were my favorite candy as a kid, but these were intense. At first there was a normal level of sour, followed a few seconds later but a burst of almost-had-to-spit-it-out sour which then evened out into a slightly sour and less flavorful chew. I didn't dislike these but I don't think I would purchase them with any frequency. If you love sour candies than you will be very satisfied!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kabaya Delicia Chocolate Strawberry Biscuit


There seems to be a great variety of chocolate-with-biscuit styled Japanese treats. I have tried a few in the past and I am bound to try some more. The idea is great- similar treats a la "Le Petit Ecolier" are extremely delicious. I believe it was my husband who snuck this particular chocolate-with-biscuit snack into our basket at Mitsuwa.

The packaging design is pleasant if uneventful. I'm sure the feel of the words are lost in translation but the biscuits claim to be a dichotomy of "airy and thick". 


While there are not a lot of treats in the box (8 to be exact) this style of packaging is my favorite. I am fully convinced that good packaging predisposes me to enjoying the product. The box opens to reveal a small bit of text about the biscuits and the individually wraps treats inside.


I love this shot...the actual treat compared to those great diagrams the Japanese seem to put on nearly every snack. The top layer is milk chocolate followed by a strawberry sauce infused whipped cream chocolate. The biscuit is, of course, a biscuit.

The whole treat was surprisingly good! While I usually don't prefer white chocolate, the "whipped cream chocolate" had a delicious vanilla and cream flavor. The biscuit was hearty and sweet and kept up well with the heavy chocolate. I almost appreciated the parts over the whole but everything combined well. While I have not seen other Delicia flavors, I would consider buying these again in the future.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Glico Strawberry & Choco Pakitz


Today we have a Glico product called Pakitz and this particular flavor is a combo of strawberry and chocolate. I have enjoyed Glico products in the past (they are the masterminds behind the ever-popular Pocky line of products) and so I figured I have nothing to lose in this fancy looking chocolate bar. I picked this up at Mituswa for $2.29.

The packaging is the quality I have come to expect from Japanese treats. The bar is wrapped in foil and placed inside a cardboard box. Despite the shipping, it has come into my possession in perfect condition- no cracks or breaking. The box does not have super exciting graphics but it is colorful and happy enough!


There are two packs of Pakitz inside the box which is great. The bar is pretty big and I don't have to worry about the other half going stale if I do not get to it right away.


Pakitz are...odd. The idea of the product is chocolate with krispies inside of a wafer. The downfall is that the chocolate does not stick to the wafer in the least. The wafer feels more like a mold with chocolate inside and not a part of the bar as a whole. The wafer was flavorless and not a great textural addition. The chocolate itself was just passable. The fake strawberry flavor was very intense and unlike the pleasent creamy strawberry flavor of the ice cream variety. I would not venture into the other varieties of Pakitz, however my love for Glico is still strong.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meiji Black Chocolate


I am a big fan of both Meiji and dark chocolate so I've been eying Meiji's Black Chocolate for quite some time. At $2.49 a bar, I kept passing it over but I finally decided to give it a whirl. I purchased this on my last trip to Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ.

The wrapping design is simple and appealing. It makes the chocolate seem adult (which is typical of dark chocolate products I suppose!). I will admit the simple paper and foil package itself is more reminiscent of American products that the typical over-packaged Japanese ones. I've come to appreciate the Japanese style packaging so I'm a bit disappointed!


I find it hard to describe chocolate as the nuances mean very specific things like when tasting wine. I'll do my best! Meiji's Black Chocolate is a low percentage dark chocolate. It has slightly bitter note but it is also very sweet, even sweeter than Hershey's Special Dark. The texture is waxy and smooth. It's not terrible dark chocolate but it is by no means impressive. This is probably the first Meiji brand snack I have not been head over heels about. Based on my past Meiji purchases, I will continue to try their products but I will probably not pick this one up again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lotte V.I.P Milk Chocolate


Today we have Lotte's V.I.P Fresh Cream Chocolate bars. I purchased this snack on my last Mitsuwa trip and found it on sale for only $1.99! I don't usually break for milk chocolate but this packaging looked so fancy that I had to give it a shot.I'm not sure that the V.I.P part is relevant but I suppose they were trying to class it up.

Doesn't the box really draw your eye? The gold bound box is very beautiful and the subtle pattern in the background is pretty elegant (for a candy wrapping of course).

I always appreciate the care put into the box design with these treats from Japan. They protect the product within beautifully and really add a bit to the excitement of trying what is inside. The size of the individually wrapped bars are perfect. It is just enough to be satisfying but you don't feel obligated to eat a ton, like you would a Hershey bar.


The taste was good (for milk chocolate) and reminded me more of a Nestle bar - a little bit more creamy and slightly sweeter than Hershey. I enjoyed it and the rest will surely make a great mid-afternoon sweet treat.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Koikeya Don Tacos


Today I have a truly excellent treat- Koikeya's Don Tacos. This is everything I look for in a snack: off kilter, familiar yet exotic and interesting packaging. I barely skimmed the label yet the name alone, Don Tacos, grabbed me. In the US, this treat would most assuredly be politically incorrect. I purchased this bag at Mitsuwa for $1.99.

I won't go into the mascot- he's a veritable dichotomy of absurdity and awesome- so we will move on to the roasted corn. This roasted corn looked incredibly delicious and catches your eye. Living the entirety of my life in the US,  I have a certain expectation of corn chips but this image alone should have tipped me off to the actual taste of the product.


These little corn chip characters on the back are great! Their wacky expressions and berets are a blast.

The chips are small, about one or two bites each and the bag is one serving all together. My husband and I both tried one at the same time and the reaction was exactly this: "This was...not what I was expecting." The corn chip itself was familiar but the flavored powder on top was a uniquely Japanese profile of soy sauce, roasted smokiness and sugar. I expected some sort of chili powder/cheese flavor since that's typical here but I couldn't have been more wrong! My initial thought was that I did not like it but it has since grown on me. I've heard tell there are other flavors of Don Tacos. I promise to share any additional Don Tacos discoveries!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Calbee Satsumariko Sweet Potato


During a lovely trip to Mitsuwa, I picked up a few more treats to review including this snack which initially reminded me of my childhood favorite- French's Potato Sticks. In essence, they were potato chips in a thin straw-like format, but to an 11 year old they were incredible. Calbee's satsumariko are similiar in the fact they are chips in the shape of fries, however, Calbee's version are of the sweet potato variety.

(Satsuma means sweet potato)

The packaging is adorable! I love the bright color and argyle patterns. It's sort of funky and got me excited to try the product. I've seen plenty of sweet potato flavored products (including a Pucca item!) and I find the way they display the potato interesting. It's always open at the top with a fluffy, mashed potato texture.

The little comic is puzzling. Granted, I can't read all of the kanji, but the gist is the crane is commenting on the beauty of the tree/branch/whatever and the bug is saying that it is expensive too.

The sweet potato sticks themselves are uninspiring. They are very very crunchy, almost too hard to chew. The initial flavor is bland, thought there is a hint of sweet potato in the after taste. Surprisingly, the first ingredient is actually sweet potato but it does not add as much impact as I had hoped. On to the next snack!