UmaiBox is a Japan-based monthly box from NihonBox that is filled with the best treats from JAPAN! Each box includes 13-18 items of the best snacks and products from Japan plus a Gachapon to collect each month. Bonus items are placed in boxes at random!
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.)
The Subscription Box: UmaiBox
The Cost: $21.49 a month + $8.90 shipping
ACTIVE DEAL: Save $2 off your first box!
The Products: 13-18 snacks + a Gachapon
Ships to: Internationally
UmaiBox January 2019 Review
This month showcases a New Years theme, with holiday-themed flavors and packaging echoing throughout the box. The booklet highlights the story behind a few speciality products, and gives background on Japanese New Year traditions. It’s evident that a lot of love and care goes into creating each box!
Let’s get snacking, shall we?
This limited-edition winter KitKat combines the flavor of iyokan (a Japanese citrus fruit) with creamy white chocolate. They’re like creamsicle KitKats! So delicious. I could go through a crate of these in no time.
Kanaeru Corn Coffee with Milk
This packaging is easily the most adorable of the whole box. I was greeted by the sweet, welcoming aroma of a coffee shop upon opening the top. These melted in my mouth like classic puffed corn snacks, and had a flavor I would describe more as caramel than coffee and milk. Still tasty, though!
Chocobi Hot Milk
These puffed, star-shaped snacks are made with milk from Hokkaido, giving them a lightly sweet taste to accompany a satisfying crunch. This edition of Chocobi also came with a Shin-chan sticker. I really enjoyed these.
V Nagewa - Katsu Curry
Katsu curry is one of my favorite Japanese dishes, so imagine my delight to see it in snack form! The crispy rings were incredibly savory and perfectly captured the warming, subtly spicy flavor of curry. Though I found the O-shapes a little odd, I couldn’t put the bag down. If you’re into savory snacks, you’ll probably find these as addictive as I did. Mmm.
These little mochi cakes are inspired by kagami-mochi, an important Japanese New Year decoration. With a mikan (citrus) flavor, they’re chewy and refreshing. The little toothpick was an interesting touch.
This flour-based snack is shaped like a tai, which is Japanese bream. Tai is a symbol for New Years based on some clever wordplay. No fish flavor though—they tasted an awful lot like Frosted Flakes, and I’m not mad about it.
Kemono Friends Waffle
The info booklet described this waffle snack as chocolate, but from its color and flavor, I deem it vanilla with a cream center. No sweat, though—it was still very tasty. Beneath the waffle was a Kemono Friends card.
Poricky - Black Sugar
Black sugar is a delicacy from Okinawa, which explains Okinawa’s lion symbol on the front of the packaging. These black sugar sticks had a deep, almost caramelized flavor to them, in addition to a classic cookie stick consistency. Interesting!
Rice Chips - Mentai Mayo
Ooh, these were so good. Light rice chips that practically melt in the mouth, with a mentaiko (pollock roe) mayo flavor. There was a little bit of spice, and a whole lot of savory magic. The info booklet was right—these were almost impossible to put down. I’ve had mentaiko before as a sauce for noodles and didn’t care for it, but in chip form, it’s delicious.
This ultra-chewy snack tasted like something between red bean and black tea. The info booklet didn’t specify what its actual flavor, so that’s where I landed. Not bad!
Umaibo Shrimp Mayonnaise
Shrimp is a New Year food associated with longevity, as the shape of a shrimp resembles that of an old person hunched over. This umaibo was really light and airy, and tasted exactly like shrimp mayo. It was surprisingly satisfying.
Orangina Rouge Sparkle
This popular French beverage is a limited-edition, red grapes and orange variety. According to the info booklet, 6 fruits were used to create its flavor: orange, red grapes, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, and black currant. The bottle had a lovely, sophisticated shape, and the fruity, orange-forward taste was a welcome pairing to its touch of carbonation.
Mikan Tai Senbei
If you remember mikan (the citrus fruit used to flavor the mini mochi cakes) and tai (the Japanese bream that inspired the shape of the arare) from earlier, then you may be interested to witness this rice cake that is a culmination of the two. Mikan Tai is a farm-raised bream fed with mikan peels. This senbei doesn’t have much seasoning so the two main flavors can shine. I appreciated how light and salty the senbei was, and how its fish flavor was pretty subtle. I didn’t get much of the mikan flavor, though.
Daikichi is the best fortune you can pull from Japanese temples. According to the info booklet, 2,019 people can win a 1,000 yen coupon from these noodles. I was not one of them. The broth is a mix of soy sauce and chicken broth, with a little bit of tai. Not too fishy, and delectably savory, these noodles were a swell way to end this month’s box.
Verdict: I had a great time trying the vast assortment of items from this month’s UmaiBox! The theme, as well as the thoughtful blend of sweet and savory snacks, was really engaging. I feel like I learned a lot of cultural tidbits, too. So, was it worth it? For me, it’s a resounding yes. One of the best parts of visiting Japan was trying all the snacks, so having such a wide assortment delivered is a fantastic treat.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Nope, you’ll get the March box. Boxes ship between the 5th and 9th each month, with a 20 day transit time.
Coupon - Use coupon code ILOVEUMAIBOX to save $2 off your first box!
Value Breakdown: This box costs $21.49 a month + $8.90 shipping, and contained 14 items. With the cost of shipping calculated in, that breaks down to $2.17 per item.
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What was your favorite snack from this month's UmaiBox?