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REVIEW / Freedom Japanese Market

 

Japanese culture has been an interest of mine for quite sometime and whenever I get the opportunity to experience something that is uniquely Japanese, I jump on it.  You can too with the Freedom Japanese Market Snack Box.  Japanese candies and snacks are one part of their culture that probably interests me the most and the FJM Snack Box is just what the doctor ordered.  Filled to almost overflowing (it does have to fit in the box, after all), you get the Japanese snacks you love sent right to your front door every month.  This month’s box had some really interesting additions and turned out to be a fairly pleasing offering of strange and tasty snacks.  It even came with a cool origami Christmas stocking folded by the company president.

 

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The Freedom Japanese Snack Box subscription offers nearly a full pound of unique Japanese snacks and candies for $25 per month, which is about on par for these types of services nowadays.  Every month, you will be greeted with a preselected assortment of delicious Japanese snacks that are assembled and shipped straight to you.  The chosen snacks are all a handpicked selection of wacky, popular and traditional snacks from several different Japanese companies.  Most of the snacks offered are sold exclusively in Japan, so you are never going to find them at you local Hinky Dinky.  You can cancel your subscription at any time with no penalty and they will ship your box absolutely free every month.


Kit-Kats: Green Tea Flavor

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I loooooove Kit Kats!  So, this Green Tea flavored Kit Kat instantly piqued my interest.  This version of one of my favorite candies was actually not bad at all.  The Green Tea outer coating was just the right amount of sweet with the same texture and smoothness of its chocolatey older brother.  The trademark snap of the crisp wafers on the inside was pleasantly present as well.  I don’t know if the fact that these are made with Green Tea makes them any healthier but the fact that they tasted so darn good probably means they are not.  Let’s just say they are, and move on.

 

Paicro: Sugar Butter Flavor

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The Paicro: Sugar Butter Flavor snack was definitely one of my favorite snacks in the whole box.  The snack is made in the shape of little, bite-sized croissants that pack a satisfying crunch with a buttery, sweet taste that wasn’t too sweet but just the right amount.  The flavor immediately reminded me of the taste of Cracker Jack but with a little lighter, crisp-er texture.  I couldn’t put these down.  I’m hoping that FJM will add this to the list of snacks that you can buy individually soon.

 

Pretz: Caesar Salad

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The Caesar salad flavored Pretz didn’t disappoint.  The Caesar salad flavor is a limited run so this is one snack that may never be available again.  This snack comes as long sticks in two cellophane pouches per box.  They had a light, crispy crunch and a slightly bold Caesar salad flavor.  These would be great to nibble on while you are watching a movie or just wanted something light to snack on before dinner.

 

Umaibo

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These Teriyaki Burger (yellow packaging) and Fried Pork Cutlet (blue packaging) Umaibo snacks are surprisingly flavorful with a good texture (think Funyons but in a long, cylindrical shape) and a bit of a bite.  The Teriyaki Burger flavored snack had a slightly spicy and sweet, smoked flavor that wasn’t overpowering but was just enough to make this snack something that I wouldn’t mind having another of.  The Fried Pork Cutlet flavored snack had a hint of smoke and a pork flavor that was surprisingly satisfying.  Of the two, the Teriyaki was my favorite, but these are a snack that I would buy in my local grocery store if they offered them.

 

Cheese Flavored Rice Crackers

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The Cheese Flavored Rice Crackers were OK but not something that I think I would want to go back to.  They had an odd cheese flavor that didn’t really stand up well against the spicy flavor that was a bit overpowering.  The texture of the rice cracker left something to be desired, as well.  It had a dry, gravely crunch to it that wasn’t very appealing and made me feel like I had a mouth full of sand.  Someone might enjoy these but I would be hard pressed to think of who.

 

Mini Hi-Chew

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The Mini Hi-Chew was definitely one of the high points for this month’s box.  This candy is reminiscent of Starburst candies but with a more stout, tangy flavor and more robust texture.  The box comes with four mouth watering flavors: lemon, grape, green apple and strawberry.  Some people may be turned off at the texture as it is closer to gum than the fruit flavored chews that we are normally used to.  However, once I got used to the concept, it was a rather enjoyable treat.

 

Kracie DIY Otanoshimi NeruNeru

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The Kracie DIY Otanoshimi NeruNeru was probably the most interesting snack in the whole box.  I’ve never had a Do It Yourself snack like this and I was hoping that it would taste as good as it looked.  The kicker for this snack is that the ingredients  (strawberry icing, chocolate icing and candy coated krispies sprinkles) come in separate packages that you have to mix together yourself (spoon and 4cc measuring cup provided in package – see pic #2).  On top of the strawberry and chocolate icing and the candy coated krispies, the package supplies two, very thin wafer cookies to dunk into the above ingredients.  Both of the icing flavors left a lot to be desired.  They end up being a kind of gelatinous texture that has only a hint of strawberry and chocolate flavoring.  In addition, the two wafer cookies were chewy and devoid of any kind of flavor.  The best part of this snack were the candy coated krispies sprinkles.  This snack could be a hit if not for the poor showing of three of the four ingredients.

 

Black Thunder

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Sounds like a character that Sam Jackson would play, right?  And just like Sam, Black Thunder was bold in stature and filled to the brim with personality.  The packaging doesn’t do this candy treat any favors.  It is a crunchy bar of heaven that tastes like crushed Oreos dipped in the most decadent chocolate known to man.  If Heaven has a taste, this is it.

 

Bonus Snack: Gyo Gyo Gyo Gum

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Opening the packaging of the Gyo Gyo Gyo Gum and smelling the sweet aroma of this bonus snack, immediately took me back to my childhood.  Anyone who grew up chewing on Bazooka, Hubba Bubba or Super Bubble bubblegum knows exactly what I am talking about.  You get one piece each of green apple, grape, yogurt and peach gum.  The gum stayed surprisingly soft, which couldn’t be said of some of the aforementioned brands, and the flavor stayed very noticeable as well.   This was truly a bonus treat in a box of very good treats.


If you are into Japanese culture and would like to get familiar with the types of snacks that drive people wild in the Land of the Rising Sun, the Freedom Japanese Snack Subscription is just the monthly box that you need to get.  FJM even offers some snacks that you can buy individually but getting the snack box is going to be your best bet to enjoy some of the more wackier treats that can be found at the local markets on the island.

 

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