REVIEW / Skoshbox unboxing

 

Lovers of Japanese candy and treats now have several subscription based services to choose from when it comes to getting their monthly fix, but paving the way for this brave new world of delicious decadence was Skoshbox. Skoshbox was founded in 2013 by two close childhood friends, both of whom spent time living in Japan and were raised by Japanese mothers who instilled in them a love of Japanese snacks. The decision to start a company that delivers “a taste of Japan to your doorstep” was inspired by frequent requests from friends to send hard-to-find treats stateside.

 

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The “Skosh” in Skoshbox is derived from the the Japanese word sukoshi, which means “a little bit.” That perfectly describes the box of goodies I received; for $12 per month, Skoshbox will deliver a snack-sized selection of hand-picked treats to your doorstep. They also sell items included in previous boxes on their site. As you can see, everything about Skoshbox is small – the size of the snacks, the size of the selection, even the size of the box itself. But the quality more than made up for the quantity. From the moment I opened the branded box, I knew I was in for something special; from the glossy card containing photos and descriptions of each item to the tissue paper wrapped snack-lection, sealed with a sticker bearing the company’s signature origami paper crane, everything about Skoshbox reflected a love and care for both the product and the customer.


 Vegetable Salad Umaibo

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Don’t be fooled by the vibrant orange color – this is not a giant Japanese cheese doodle, though it did have a similar mouth feel to Britney Spears’ favorite pre/post workout snack. Its strong odeur de chemical preservatives belied a rather intense “seasoning” flavor. It was like the delicious sodium-loaded flavor packet that comes with instant Ramen noodles, a non-specific salty magic that was super strong but tasty. The fluffy, crunchy treat upon which it was sprinkled is essentially a tasteless Styrofoam-esque delivery system for the seasoning because even Japan, with all its weird snacks, hasn’t resorted to filling a packet with just the flavoring. Yet.

 

Potato Ring Snack

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Leave it to Japan to make a potato chip that looks like calamari. According to my sister, “The strange shape writes a check that the taste can’t cash. This is just a potato chip!” But you can’t build little towers of out potato chips. You can’t toss a potato chip and catch it in your mouth. You can’t string up potato chips on a piece of string, candy necklace style. For that you need Potato Ring Snack.

 

Nori Wrapped Senbei

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Not a fan of nori outside of a sushi context. Not a fan of rice crackers. And yep, that’s a rice cracker wrapped in nori. I thought maybe two things I hate, when combined, would cancel each other out and become one thing I didn’t have strong feelings about either way. And that’s sorta what happened. I ate it, but I wouldn’t ask for seconds.

 

Calpis Marshmallow

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Oh. My. God. This is a naked Peep filled with smooth, slightly tarty gel in the middle. I am actually glad the bag was so small, because if this had come in a ½ pound bag, I would have eaten ½ a pound. If it was a 1 pound bag, I would have eaten 1 pound and then claimed to have only eaten ½ a pound, even going so far as to help in the search for the missing remainder before tearfully confessing my addiction. To a mirror. As I ate a second pound. Twist ending, – the imaginary bag was 2 pounds all along!

 

Caramel Pie Pretz

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The sweet scent of caramel slaps you in the face, but in a good way. In a 50 Shades of Grey way. That being said, the flavor is actually surprising subtle, but still very rich, with buttery notes of caramel. And the texture is flaky without being crumbly, like the just shy of burnt edge of a piecrust. Another sweet success from pocky maker Glico.

 

Super Mario Galaxy Gum

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Soft. Lemony. Limey. This tasted exactly like Pokémon gum, because it was Pokémon gum just with a different game character on the packaging.

 

Bubble Gum Balls

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This one tasted fresh from gumball machine, if the gumball machine dispensed gum with super soft insides and intensely cola flavored outsides. Like most Japanese gums I’ve sampled though, the taste is fleeting. In the words of Lao Tzu, ‘The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.’

 

Super Soda Hard Candy

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This candy looks fairly innocuous. But that’s because here in the states, on this kind of candy, we have pictures of puckering lips, or weeping faces, or the top of a cartoon character’s head blowing off with a little mushroom cloud of super sour dust fallout. This is hella intense, but I enjoyed the flavor before and after the top layer of my taste buds was seared away. Plus, it fizzes.


Skoshbox might be small, but there’s a reason it shows up on more than one Top 10 list of must-have food subscriptions. They pack big taste into a tiny package, offering an authentic selection Japanese treats that would be difficult if not impossible to find beyond the borders of the island nation. I will admit, I was disappointed by how quickly I worked my way through the box – you really only get a little more than a taste of each item before it’s gone – but it’s better to be left wanting more than to have more than you want. Skoshbox gave me more than enough reason to try them again. And again. And again!

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