ZenPop Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack Review – April 2019
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: $25/month. Save with longer subscriptions.
The Products: 2-3 bowls of noodles, 6-10 Japanese sweets + snacks
Ships to: Worldwide for free!
ZenPop Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack “Hanami Party”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 gives a short blurb of the snack’s origin, popularity, or relevance to the theme. The sheet also provides common allergy ingredients as well as special instructions for the best eating experience.
Let’s dig into our hanami party!
Yakisoba, literally “fried buckwheat,” is a Japanese noodle stir-fry dish. Although soba means buckwheat, yakisoba noodles are actually made from wheat flour and are typically flavored with a condiment similar to oyster sauce. The dish first appeared in food stalls in Japan during the early 20th century.
Yakisoba is a Japanese noodle stir-fry dish flavored with a sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce with a little ketchup, sake, and sugar. It’s commonly stir-fried with cabbage leaves, chicken, and topped with sprinkles of nori (dried green seaweed) and bonito flakes (dried fish).
I enjoy receiving these yakisoba packs because it’s so fun to use the built-in drainer. After draining out the water, while it’s still hot, I poured in the sauce and topped the noodles with some nori.
Delicious! Love the sauce and, because I poured the water out a little early, I was able to get chewier noodles (which I’m a total fan of) that worked well with the sauce. Though I have to say, they could have added more cabbage. T^T
Japanese ramen, usually served in a meat or fish-based broth, is often flavored with soy sauce, miso, or a tonkotsu or pork flavor. This miso-flavored ramen is a regional specialty of Hokkaido, a prefecture in Japan renowned for their natural hot springs, ice festivals, and recently, milk teas and cheese tarts.
This ramen uses miso, or fermented soybean paste, as a light and subtle nutty flavor to pair well with chewy noodles. The sauce packet is meant to be added later. I tend to avoid using it and put only the miso paste for a lovely miso experience (the other half is fat).
Hanami Mochan Dango – Buy 24 pcs for $30.00
I’ve tried these before in another subscription box. I’m not sure I quite like them because of the large amount of sugar on the mochi. ( •́︿•̀ ) I think it’s nice to have the inner sweetness of the white rice used to make the mochi instead of the large amounts of fluffy sugar coating. Having said that, after fluffing off the sugar, it tastes nice and I enjoyed the vibrant colors.
Puku Puku Tai Chocolate in Burnt Caramel – Retail Value $1.75
We’ve seen these taiyaki chocolates a lot in many snack subscriptions—back in November, we tried the chocolate version! A taiyaki is a Japanese tai fish-shaped cake made of pancake batter in a special iron mold sold freshly-made on the streets! Red bean paste made from sweetened azuki beans, custard, and chocolate are common fillings.
This snack is a crunchier version, using a wafer with a bubbly mousse chocolate. The burnt caramel flavor uses a sweeter, more caramel-y flavor, with the ‘burnt’ part coming from the black, crunchy wafer. The inside melts so nicely in your mouth into this light, caramel chocolate mixture—so yummy!
Lotte Koume Gummies – Estimated Value $3.48
For the sakura season, a beautiful pink bag of gummies is so perfect! These gummies use all sour, sweet, and salty flavors to accentuate the lovely plum flavor popular in Japan. The texture of the gummy is very chewy because of the collagen—a healthy gummy that helps soften and improve the elasticity of the face! I estimated the price based on the hard candy Koume series from Lotte, which can be found here.
Calbee Edamame Chips Share Pack – Retail Value $1.01
Many edamame crisps can be really greasy and give a weird burst of oil when you bite into them, but these crisps were flavorful with a powerful edamame taste and were the perfect amount of salt for a (slightly) healthy, savory snack.
Hi-Chew in Persimmon – Retail Value $2.50
Perhaps one of the most iconic sweet snacks around here, the Hi-Chew is a Japanese fruit chew from Morinaga wrapped in wax paper and sold in a stick. Each caramel has two layers, an outer white and a colored, flavored interior (though I’ve found they both taste the same?) This limited-edition flavor of persimmon has gray and orange layers. It also has a lovely mango flavor—surprisingly not like persimmon at all, but still so yummy!
Calbee Tea Latte Chocolate Potato Chips – Retail Value $2.99
I will say I am not a fan of chocolate potato chips—especially these ones because they were quite stale when I opened the bag. (Stale potato chips aren’t too tasty!) I will compliment the limited-edition tea latte flavor that matched really well with the dark chocolate!
Bonus: Luna-chan Plushie
We have an adorable bonus item – a soft, small keychain that features the iconic ZenPop mascot, Luna! It’s so cute (*´▽｀*)
Verdict: As usual, another wonderful curation from ZenPop with beautiful ramens and a mix of sweet and savory. Though no particular item peaked out from the group, I will say the new Hi-Chew flavor was a fun experience! I wish there were more sakura-themed items to celebrate the wide range of sakura flavors, but I enjoyed the lovely plum gummies! And we can’t forget the adorable keychain that was gifted. ♡
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 you can subscribe for the June box here!
Value Breakdown: For $22.75, you receive 2 bowls of ramen/soup and 6 sweets + snacks, so you’re paying about $2.84 per snack. I consider a large part of the subscription’s value the ramen meals and experience of the curation, but that is just my personal opinion.
Check out all of our ZenPop reviews to learn more about the various subscriptions ZenPop offers!
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What do you think of April’s ZenPop Ramen + Sweets Mix Pack? Did you enjoy the cherry blossoms?