Hello, dearest darling readers! Join me on a flavourful journey courtesy of Tokyo Treat, an excellent Japanese snack box subscription service. I’ll be reviewing the July 2016 box which was almost entirely made up of snacks I’ve never had before! That’s quite a feat, seeing as I was quite the dweeb during my teens and, even though I’ve de-dweebed with age, I’m still a Japanophile with a massive sweet tooth.
Home safe after a good beating from the local postal service
I enlisted the help of my BFGB (big friendly giant boyfriend) Seth for the feasting. Just like every rose has its thorn, every stomach needs a bit of help to get through an entire box of Japanese candies in one sitting. This month’s premium box (Anime Characters Edition) featured a lot of character goods, two of which were Thomas the Tank Engine-themed for some reason. My box included 16 snacks. That’s a lot of diabetes for your buck, friends.
On with the review!
Not pictured: Upset cat.
These candies taste like something else I’ve eaten before that also originated in Japan, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. They’re supposedly “milk and strawberry biscuits” but they have a texture closer to dense Cheezels or Twisties, without the cheese flavour. I don’t think I’d be able to eat a lot of these, but they were tasty enough in a small serving. They also came with a little sticker featuring the kawaii characters on the front, which I promptly stuck on my cat. He did not care for it.
Fortune-telling Chocolate Pills (Dagashi Kashi)
Unfortunately, I didn’t actually look far enough into the booklet when I was first trying these to see that English translations were available for the fortune categories (travel, love, etc). At that point I said, “Oh well, I can’t read Japanese, so I have no idea what our fortunes are.” The outer colors of the chocolate balls don’t offer any differences in flavor, but the chocolate itself was smooth and tasty. Obviously, these are meant to be more of a novelty thing and I quite like the concept of sitting around with a bunch of friends and finding out your fortunes for various areas of your life.
I did actually go back and try more of them to get our fortunes once I realized there was an English translation available. Seth had very good luck in travel, so he won’t be accosted on his morning commute while the chocolate power is in effect, I’m guessing. As for me, I had good luck in “class”. Pretty good considering I haven’t attended any kind of class in at least four years.
For those who aren’t aware, the hilariously named Calpis is a somewhat-fizzy, refreshing yogurt-ish drink from Japan. It comes in a few different flavors, but these gummies appear to be based on the standard flavor. Japan has a way with creating candies that are near-identical in flavor to the drinks they’re attempting to represent and these gummies are no exception. The flavor isn’t overbearing, nor is the gooey goo inside. The light sugary coating on the outside is a bit weird, but can be easily overlooked. I like Calpis already and I really liked this treat. I’ll be on the lookout for more, I think.
Thomas and Friends Chewing Candy
I was expecting something like Hi-Chew – a dissolving gum-like candy – from this, but when I opened the pack I was greeted by thin, rectangular sticks of gum. They were all grape flavored. The smell and taste was strong, artificial and delicious, just like all grape candies. I thought the “candy” part of “Chewing Candy” may have been an oversight due to the fact that these were clearly just sticks of gum, but no – they dissolve away into nothing on your tongue just like they claimed. I think I would have enjoyed these more had they not brought back memories of when I fell asleep with blue Hubba Bubba bubble tape in my mouth and woke up with what I can only describe as “blue mashed potato” in my mouth.
Side Note: Why does Thomas look so terrified? Does he know he shouldn’t be in 2D ever? Does he know he shouldn’t be on a Japanese snack in 2016? Why are you here, Thomas?
These are basically stick-shaped prawn crackers like you’d get at a Chinese takeaway joint.
Seth’s note: “Would eat a pack again!”
That’s “Pink Grapefruit + Lemon = Orange”, “Lemon + Soda = Lemon Squash” and “Soda + Pink Grapefruit = Cola”.
They also lied about the colour of the soda ones. These are green, not blue!
Apology Notice: I chose a terrible plate to take photos on and it shows the most in this photo – it was impossible to get a good shot of these gummies.
These are supposed to offer new and exciting flavors when eaten together, however I’m here to break the news that mixing soda and pink grapefruit will not ever produce a cola flavor. If you feel like being lied to, then by all means tuck into these gummies. To their credit, despite the slightly waxy texture on the outside, the flavors are quite nice.
They still lied, though.
Thomas & Friends Chocolate Pretzel Sticks
Okay Thomas, timeout.
Are you okay?
Did something bad happen between the gum candy and these pretzel sticks?
I’m worried about you, man.
In terms of the snack itself, it’s just standard chocolate Pocky with a horrified Thomas the Tank Engine on the front. I can’t complain, although I would probably choose a package featuring a less terrified locomotive if I had the choice.
Black Thunder Gold
The booklet praised this chocolate bar’s “strong coconut flavor,” which caused us both a little concern since we aren’t fans of the fuzzy bowling ball fruit at the best of times. However, we were both pleasantly surprised by a total lack of coconut flavor. This had a wonderfully soft yet crunchy texture and delicious dark chocolate. Black Thunder Gold is ugly as sin and that’s fine – it doesn’t need to conform to today’s beauty standards and it tastes great in spite of its lumpy texture.
[REDACTED OFF-COLOR JOKE ABOUT NO ONE IN PARTICULAR]
Moko Moko Mokolet Toilet DIY Candy 3
This is the special item for this month and my first ever Japanese DIY candy! As you can see, you have to construct your tiny toilet, decorate it as you see fit (I chose to decorate the lid rather than the tank, because I have unique toilet fashion sense), and then begin the candy-making. There are three flavors of power provided (soda, strawberry and melon soda), which you pour into the tank. You then add water into the tank, swish the toilet around (I assume) and open up the lid and enjoy…drinking the flavored foam from the toilet bowl?
Not pictured: Reviewers drinking melon soda foam from a tiny pink toilet.
This was actually pretty tasty and yet again I can say that Japan is really good at replicating flavours of drinks in candy form. I plan to take the other two flavour packets to work so others can enjoy drinking flavoured foam from a tiny toilet. The booklet also tells me that there are various uses for my toilet after I’m done with them, like growing a tiny cactus.
Side note: I will not be growing a tiny toilet cactus.
Soybean Flour Mochi Rice Cake DIY
I do not like mochi at all and this snack did not improve my opinion. No part of this tasted good. I also did it wrong, I think, because I added both packets of goo (I assume different flavors of mocha) at the same time and then added the powder on top. I could barely stand the smell of this one and when I tasted it I wanted to spit it up immediately. I absolutely could not recommend this one at all. Run far, far away from the soybean flour in particular.
Milk-flavoured Potato Chips
These chips were more browned than I expected. Seth basically explained the flavur as being like ready-salted/original flavur potato chips that were a bit sweet. You can kind of taste the milk but it’s hard for your brain to consolidate the idea that large amounts of milk went into the flavor of your crisps. These weren’t bad, but when I went back to have more I decided I didn’t like them enough to have a second handful. They’re not bad, just not overly exciting.
Brazilian Orange Pocky (Summer Limited Edition)
What do you mean LIMITED EDITION?
Where are they? Are there any more? Is there somewhere I can order more of these?
If you’re familiar with Pocky’s lighter flavors like green tea or strawberry, you’ll know that they often use white chocolate as a base, which is fine but can slightly overpower the flavor if you eat a lot of them. These Brazilian Orange Pocky are surprisingly juicy and tasty without any lingering white chocolate flavor. I’m going to be really sad when I get through all of these. They’re absolutely delicious and probably my favorite thing from the box.
Anpanman Ramune Candy
This is the same dress from my bio picture. For all you know, I am a cartoon character with a closet full of the same outfits.
These candies hail from the realm of Actually Quite Good Chalky Candy. If you’ve ever had those little ‘rocket’ lolly discs that came wrapped in plastic, stacked in a neat cylinder, you know what the texture of these are like. I never had Flinstones chewable vitamins, but I’m guessing they would also have a similar texture to the Anpanman Ramune Candy. There are four flavors – grape, peach, apple and orange – and they’re all great. This is another one of my favorites from the box. I didn’t get a great picture of these because I had to quickly take one before we ate all of them.
Dragon Ball Heroes Snack 5
These are just Cheezels. Straight up, light, cheesy Cheezels. I’m fairly sure that everyone who tried these would have eaten something similar at some point in their life.
This one came with a trading card, so I’ll no doubt be the coolest kid on the playground tomorrow. Maybe that’s what my good luck in “class” was implying.
Yokai Watch Chocolate
I really like the look of Japanese layered chocolate character lollipops. I also really like that they’re not sweet candy lollipops kind of flavored like chocolate, because those are absolutely terrible. This tasted kind of like a Kinder Surprise and was deliciously smooth. It’s also similar to those panda face chocolates that have the same sort of style in terms of layered pieces of chocolate for each section of the face. When eating this lollipop you get all the satisfaction of ruining a wonderful work of art and also biting something’s face in half. I’m also the kind of person that always rips a chocolate Easter bunny’s ears and leaves it to suffer for a while before returning to eat the rest at a later date.
Marutake Peach Drink
And now we have arrived at our last item. Perhaps when you were a kid you would visit your tuckshop (or cafeteria) and get a frozen (or possibly unfrozen) treat that you could snap the end off and suck out of a plastic tube. Sometimes these came in ‘pairs’ that were designed to be shared with a friend or sibling. The Marutake Peach Drink offers a frozen option, but I’m a lady of action and downed that sucker before it knew what hit it. It was basically thick peach cordial that was quite subdued in the peach department and excessive in the sugar department. The sweetness hit the back of my throat like a harsh slap – I did not care for it.
I think if I was a Tokyo Treat premium subscriber, I would have been very happy with this month’s selection. I liked almost all of the sweets contained in the brightly colored, cutely decorated box and I also enjoyed just seeing the box waiting at my door. I received 16 snacks, including a drink and two DIY toys – that’s pretty good value! You can subscribe to boxes in three sizes: small for $14.99, medium for $24.99 and Premium for $34.99 (these are all USD prices). Considering the usual import price of some of these types of lollies in my country, shipping prices and the discount you get if you subscribe for six months or a year, I feel like this box may actually be a pretty good deal.
On a final note: Can everyone look out for Thomas in the next few weeks and months? He’s a ticking time bomb and I think we all know it.
This review is based on a premium box provided by Tokyo Treat.