Universal Yums “Taiwan” Subscription Box Review – July 2018
Universal Yums is a snack subscription box that sends out sacks and candies from a different country each month. Choose from the Yum Box for $14 a month, the Yum Yum Box for $25 a month, or the Super Yum Box for $39 a month. This month’s box takes us to Taiwan!
This review is of the Yum Yum box, which is $25 a month.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About Universal Yums
The Subscription Box: Universal Yums
The Cost: $25 a month + free US shipping
The Products: The contents of the boxes change each month as they to highlight the best snacks from each featured country. However, you can always expect a mix of flavors: salty, sweet, spicy, fruity, and more. Only authentic snacks from the featured country.
Ships to: U.S., Canada, U.K., and Israel
Universal Yums “Taiwan” July 2018 Review
After last month’s box, I was excited to see which country would be featured in July’s Universal Yums box, and I was so happy that it was so different from last month’s Brazil box. We are going to Taiwan!
When you flip the flag over, there is a fun little grid that features all of the products and gives you the ability to gamify your tasting a bit – awarding the snacks in different categories. There’s a social media challenge asking you to upload your ballot on social media tagging @universalyums for a chance to win a box full of goodies!
The box contains a booklet which gives you a fun introduction to the foods you’ll be sampling, including a brief background of the snack, flavor notes and an ingredients list for each item. I was especially thankful to have this booklet this month because most of these snacks had little to no English on the packaging. The booklet also includes some trivia on Taiwan, and if you go to universalyums.com/tunes, you’ll find a playlist full of regional music you can munch along to!
I have my tunes from Taiwan on, and I’m ready to snack!
This Bubble Tea popcorn is an exclusive, made especially for Universal Yums, and it is certainly different! If a fragrant flower, Fruit Loops, and kettle corn made a baby, this would be their offspring! I can definitely detect the tea flavor, but only as an aftertaste. The sweet floral notes are pretty overpowering, but I generally liked this combination. The flecks you see on the popcorn are actually tiny pieces of black tea, which I don’t think add much to the flavor.
Popsmile Seaweed Corn Bars
I’ve never tried a big, puffed treat like this, but I am definitely a fan! The flavor is creamed corn meets salad greens. Doesn’t that sound appetizing? Surprisingly, the sweet corn taste blended well with the seaweed to form a cohesive savory snack. It was a little difficult not making a big mess when biting into this snack, but I did like that my fingers weren’t coated in seasoning (thanks to the wrapper) after indulging. If cheese puffs were this large size and individually wrapped, they would be even more addicting!
Black Sesame Cake
Typically I don’t love sesame seeds in snacks, but this cake is delicious! Maybe because it is made entirely out of sesame seeds, and there aren’t any other flavors interfering with the pure toasted sesame taste? The sugar in this cake adds a tiny bit of sweetness, but you’ll definitely want to break pieces off to eat them because my teeth weren’t ready for how hard this thing was.
The five spices included in these Nice Choice Five Spice Crackers are from an ancient Chinese recipe, which was created in their attempt to concoct a natural, healing “wonder powder”. The five spices include fennel, anise, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper, but when I munched on these crackers, I just thought Chicken in a Biscuit. The texture seems like it was baked, and they had a good crunch to them. I really like the subtle spice to these but a little boring compared to some of the flavors to come.
Taiwan Peanut Butter Choco Ball, 2.5oz
Sometimes when I open boxes like these, I like to form my opinion on a food by biting directly into it without doing any research or really knowing what exactly is going into my mouth (luckily no food allergies here!). I was ecstatic when I popped one of these into my mouth to find that this choco ball had a peanut butter center wrapped in a mochi layer! The peanut butter is not too sweet, unlike Reese’s, and the mochi makes these Taiwan Choco Balls very unique. I love that this sweet has such a bouncy texture, and after eating the four provided, I found myself wishing for more.
Mincher Spicy Scallion Sticks
These sticks are so packed with hot, sweet and tangy flavor. The Spicy Scallion Sticks were very sticky and easy to love. The flaky stick is coated in a honey glaze and seasoned with scallion, sesame, garlic and a little zing of chili pepper. The sweet and savory is usually a winning combo, but when you add a little heat to it, then it is outright unbeatable.
I have mixed feelings about these fry snacks. They have the greasiness of a real fry and that salted potato flavor, but something just doesn’t sit right with me. The crunch and texture mixed with the greasy exterior just do not add up. The best way I can describe this snack would be a cold, greasy, crunchy dried fry. It is puzzling, and I don’t hate it; however, I don’t foresee myself reaching for this bag again.
Mincher Taro Wafers
Remember Satellite Wafers? Take their weird, yet beloved taste, subtract the colorful sprinkles, and add a layer of weird cream that creates a plastic-y film inside your mouth, and you will have these Taro Wafers! The Universal Yums info sheet describes Taro as “a potato’s tropical, purple-flecked cousin,” but I’m not getting a tropical or potato flavor. I usually fall for anything inside a wafer, but I couldn’t finish these either of these.
Koloko Basil Pea Crackers, 2oz – Retail Value $1.29 (sold out)
Wow, these are potent! The basil flavor is explosive, and although I could only eat a few at a time, I found that I really enjoyed a snack that is 100% dedicated to basil. Basil in the US is such an underrated spice, yet it is crucial in Taiwan; they even refer to it as “green joy,” which I find to be fitting. They add basil to a lot of their traditional dishes to bring a brightness to it, and adding this flavor to these twisted corn chips is no different.
Brown Sugar Lotus Cake
This crumbly cake is Taiwan’s version of our sweet roll, at least that is what I got out of it. I took a few bites out of this cake over my counter top, and I think my counter got a bigger serving than I did. Besides the inevitable mess, this cake was a little boring. Little puffs of cake made from lotus seed powder and wheat are stuck together using caramelized brown sugar. I was a few bites in when I realized that sadly, this dessert was not going to make it into the clean plate club.
“The Yum Bag” contains a variety of unique bites from Taiwan. The three sampled here are:
Adzuki (Red Bean) Milk Candy
There is a reason there is only one snack in this box that contains chocolate; it is because Taiwanese people are known to eat less than half a pound of chocolate within a year. I’ve likely eaten more than a half pound of chocolate in a day! They typically look to a red bean called Adzuki to fulfill their sweet cravings. Based on this chewy candy alone, I would not last long there. The bean flavor is prominent, and the milky taste just deepened that flat, pasty bean taste. Needless to say, it was not my favorite sweet treat!
Smoked Plum Candy
As a lover of hard candies and unexpected smoky flavors, I couldn’t help but love these juicy candies. The plum made up the sweet and sourness, and the smoke just made those two components all the more interesting.
Black Sesame Milk Candy
The only notes I picked up from this candy were malted chocolate milk and dirt. I gave this chew about a minute, and then it met its fate in the trash can. I guess the black sesame cake did not help me overcome my dislike for sesame seeds, after all!
The Verdict: I’ve grown to really love the Universal Yums subscription box! I love that they included a fair distribution of sweet, spicy, and fruity flavors, and for $25 I got to sample snacks that are not readily available in the US. It is so awesome to find snacks that are true to another culture, and these bites from Taiwan were so unique from anything I’ve eaten at home. Although not every snack was a winner for me this time around, I really enjoyed trying new and exciting snacks I would have never had the opportunity to try.
If I were to fill out the scorecard from above I would say that in my opinion:
- Best Yum: Taiwan Peanut Butter Choco Ball
- Runner-Up: Mincher Spicy Scallion Stick
- Worst Yum: Black Sesame Milk Candy
- Most Unusual: Cadina Salted Fries
To Wrap Up:
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? No, you will receive the August box, which ships 8/15.
Value Breakdown: This box is $25.00 a month (including shipping). I received 25 individual snacks, which averages out to $1.00 per item.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
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