ZenPop Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack Review – December 2018
ZenPop Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack is a monthly subscription service from ZenMarket that sends popular and unique Japanese noodles and snacks handpicked by their staff in Japan.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review purposes. Check out the review processes post to learn more about how we review boxes!)
About ZenPop Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack
The Subscription Box: ZenPop Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack
The Cost: $24.50/one-time purchase (save with longer commitments)
The Products: 2-3 bowls of noodles, 6-10 Japanese sweets + snacks
Ships to: Worldwide for free!
ZenPop Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack December 2018 Review
Every box begins with a nice thank-you note from the creators, as well as a coupon!
Each box also features an info sheet that explains special instructions, ingredients, and common allergy warnings for food items.
Let’s dig into our winter season snacks!
Maruchan QTTA Fried Chicken Ramen
This bowl was an easy make- just add hot water! It had a lot of extras, with chicken bits, sweet corn, and the occasional red pepper. I can’t say the chicken bits added to the flavor, as they were more like dry, spongey chicken sausages??
I liked the strong curry chicken flavor that came from the broth, which surprisingly wasn’t as salty as other ramen soups notoriously are.
Myojo Chicken Nanban Soba
I occasionally substitute soba noodles, made of buckwheat flour, for regular flour noodles in pastas if I want a healthier option. They are usually in a less-salty + tad sweet dipping soy sauce, served either cold or hot. Now, I am more of a cold soba person. There’s nothing more refreshing than dipping and slurping these thin noodles cold with a touch of wasabi and sliced nori. But! I was pleasantly surprised by this hot soba bowl.
The chicken bits were, like the previous ramen, a bit dry and spongey, but added a strong chicken broth flavor to the original soup. I’d still choose a cold bowl of soba any time, but I can’t say I wasn’t impressed by the depth of flavor of this one!
Morinaga Cranberry Chocolate
These chocolates were a whirlwind of fun textures! Slowly melting these in your mouth is the way to go with this chocolate. You’d enjoy the bittersweet dark chocolate, then taste the sour tang of cranberries and crunch through the barley bits and puffed soybeans.
Jagariko Teriyaki Chicken Potato Sticks – Retail Value $2.99
The visual of this snack was a bit interesting, they reminded me of thick, uncooked pieces of noodle, and the taste… similar to eating a stick of fat with a hint of chicken flavor. Um, I’m not sure if I ate this snack properly, but I could not continue eating these! They were so hard and tasted like leftover fried chicken oil. I wonder if these came in stale?!
Splatoon Gummy – Retail Value $2.75
Soda gummies! These fun shaped octopi Splatoon gummies come in vibrant orange and green, with orange soda and melon soda flavors. Though I couldn’t taste a lot of the fruity flavors, the scent and fun chewiness of the gummies made up for it.
Kabukiage is unlike other Japanese rice crackers, or senbei, because it is deep fried and flavored with sweet soy sauce. It goes really well with a cup of green tea and is a popular beer snack in Japan. I really enjoy rice crackers, and this one had an exceptionally rich soy sauce base with a thick, crunchy, rice base.
Fun fact: the three color packaging of these snacks, orange, green, and black, refer to the colors of the curtains at a kabuki (Japanese dance-drama) performance!
Morinaga Choco Ball Caramel – Retail Value $1.50
ZenPop says these are one of the most popular chocolate snacks in Japan, and I can see why! It’s a lovely, soft bit of caramel covered in sweet milk chocolate.
Extra points for adorable packaging—look at that bird bead opening 😊
Bourbon Petit Soft Shittori Chocolate Cookies – Retail Value $2.60
Bourbon’s line of petite cookies and chips are a Japanese staple. They come in a plastic tray of tiny, adorable bits of happiness 🙂 I was impressed by the layers of this tiny cookie. A nice brown sugar cookie outside paired nicely with the bittersweet chocolate chip + cookie mixture inside. Though they tasted a bit doughy, I thoroughly enjoyed these.
Kabaya Pureral Grape Gummy Candy – Retail Value $2.98 (£2.30)
These gummies were the highlight of the box. The two textures were amazing with each other! The outside was a marshmallow-like jelly with a slight grape scent. Pieces of chewy grape gummy added to the lovely grape flavors and scents. I think the texture adventure you go through was simply a delight!
Verdict: Though I wasn’t a fan of the chicken in the ramen bowls or the potato chicken snack, I liked how the ZenPop team curated this month’s snacks to match Japanese tradition of fried chicken on the holidays! I really enjoyed the gummy candies and chocolate desserts as well.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Unfortunately, you have to sign up by the last day of the month… but subscribe for the January box here!
January’s box will take snacks from Kansai’s unique culture and amazing food (it’s also where ZenPop is located!). Kansai includes prefectures such as Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Shiga. Yakisoba, takoyaki, and okonomiyaki are the soul foods of Osaka. Snack spoiler: Van Houten’s gourmet roasted chocolate, and some healthy gummies! There will be 2 noodle dishes and 7 side snacks next month… sign up soon!
Value Breakdown: For $24.50, you receive 2 bowls of ramen/soup and 7 sweets + snacks, so you’re paying about $2.72 per snack.
Keep track of your subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of December’s ZenPop Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack?