Bokksu “Traditional Flavors of Japan” Review + Coupon – June 2019
Bokksu is a premium Japanese snack subscription service. Each box includes an assortment of authentic Japanese snacks as well as a tea pairing chosen to complement and enhance that month’s cultural theme and flavors.
There are three subscription options:
- Classic Bokksu is $39.00/mo + free shipping for 20-25 Japanese snacks & tea pairing
- Tasting Bokksu is $25.00/mo + free shipping for 10-14 snacks & tea pairing
- Vegetarian Bokksu is $39.00/mo + free shipping 20-25 vegetarian Japanese snacks & tea pairing
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review processes post to learn more about how we review boxes!)
This is a review of the Classic Bokksu option for $39.00/month.
The Subscription Box: Bokksu
The Cost: $39.00/mo + free shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
COUPON: Limited Time Only! Use code MSA10OFF to save 10% off on your first box!
The Products: 20-25 Japanese snacks & tea pairing around a monthly cultural theme
Ships to: Worldwide for free + free tracking to over 40 countries
Good to Know: Bokksu has a new option for vegetarians!
Bokksu June 2019 Traditional Flavors of Japan Review
Bokksu always starts out with a quick letter of introduction from their founder, Danny Taing. This month, we’re celebrating Bokksu’s third birthday!
This month, Bokksu’s introducing the most traditional flavors of Japan, such as black sesame, matcha, yuzu, and shoyu (soy sauce). These flavors have been passed down for generations, all included in this month’s curation to have the ultimate Japanese culinary pantheon!
Here’s the updated format of the Culture Guide that was expanded to give even more experience of Japanese culture to subscribers. The booklet is very informative, including the backgrounds of snacks, locations, and cultural explanations.
This month focuses on the most historical flavors of Japan, which are wasabi, yuzu, matcha, and azuki.
Each snack is described in detail, such as the flavors, manufacturers, and dates, as well as common allergens which are always helpful to know.
We have some phrases to learn, and a feature of the famous miso soup, the perfect salty and savory soup often served with your seafood in Japanese restaurants!
Shall we discover Bokksu’s traditional flavors?
Let’s start with a spicy kick! Shichimi togarashi, meaning “seven-flavored chili pepper,” is a fiery blend that commonly includes red chili pepper, sansho (Japanese pepper), orange peel, goma (black sesame), and poppy seed. Baked beans and bean chips have both the crunch factor and savoriness needed in a snack—the most beautiful crunch and blast of mouthwatering spiciness make these a favorite snack of mine. They’re the kind of spicy where even if your tongue is burning, you can’t stop eating them 🔥
If you’ve been a long time Bokksu fan, you might be familiar with Alfort’s bite-sized, elegant chocolate covered butter biscuits in a multitude of flavors. This month’s new flavor is black sesame. At first, you might react… huh? But you must believe me when I say this. Stuff. Is. Delicious.
The blend of creamy white chocolate and goma has this rich, nutty flavor that pairs so well with the buttery biscuit. Too easy to eat, but I managed to savor this pack for the longest time.
Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Black Syrup Kinako – Buy 6 bags for $12.00
Another long-time Bokksu curation favorite… mochi puffs! We’ve seen Hokkaido cheese and white chocolate flavors, and now say hello to kuromitsu kinako! Kinako is roasted soybean, a popular flavor topping in Korean shaved ice desserts, rice cakes, and Japanese snacks. Its nutty and slightly sweet flavor combined with the kuromitsu, or black sugar syrup, gives a lovely sweet aftertaste.
These puffs are airy and melt on the tongue into this incredible light syrup. Their dense coating of cocoa powder, kinako powder, and brown sugar syrup provide an amazingly satisfying sweetness. Through several Bokksu curations, those new to Japanese flavors will learn the true beauty behind the kinako powder, a phenomenal taste I recommend for those who enjoy darker, nutty flavors
One of the oldest forms of tea in Japan, matcha has been grown and produced in Japan for centuries. The culture has cultivated different blends, strengths, and flavors of green tea based on location, shade or sunlight growth, and what parts of the leaf are harvested. This simple biscuit allows the matcha flavor to shine, with a naturally sweet and earthy flavor. I loved how the white chocolate, a flavor that may overwhelm its partner flavor, allowed a tinge of bitterness, the signature of matcha, to be tasted.
Chocolate Azuki Beans: Uji Matcha – Buy 9 packs for $5.00
Like many countries, Japan has specific regions, or prefectures, that specialize in regional flavors. For example, Hokkaido Prefecture’s seafood products, Aomori Prefecture’s apples and ciders and Kanagawa’s Japanese curry. Red beans are sourced from Hokkaido and made into amanatto, or red beans soaked in sugar, using a traditional process. They are dipped in a creamy, rich layer of white chocolate, then dusted with Kyoto Prefecture’s famous Uji matcha powder.
These beans are a magical blend of earthy matcha, creamy chocolate and sweet red beans with the perfect balance of melt and chewiness. The sweetness of the snack comes from the amanatto itself, rather than the chocolate, a beautiful way to truly indulge in the flavors.
Candied Yuzu Peel – Retail Value $2.00
Rarely eaten peeled like its citrus cousins, yuzu is a common ingredient in Japanese and Korean cuisine, popular for its aromatic zest and fragrant juice. In Korea, a well-loved drink is 유자차, where hot water is mixed with yuzu infused honey for a sweet, calming drink. My favorite part of this tea is eating the leftover rinds in the tea for its fragrant, sweet taste and chewy texture (not bitter because the honey “absorbs” it). I recommend it especially during the winter!
This bag of candied yuzu peels is exactly like the leftover tea I love to eat, sweet, chewy, and refreshing. The sugar brings out the yuzu’s natural sweetness but retains the natural tart fruit for a burst of zesty flavor!
Koikeya Minit’s Stick Potato: Nissin Chicken Ramen – Buy 6 bags for $18.00 (found here for $15.00)
Perhaps if you think of Japan, you’ll think of the iconic squiggly noodles… ramen! A taste of genuine Japanese ramen is brought to us in potato stick form. These crunchy sticks of goodness are delicious with a clear, distinct flavor of ramen, even if it’s just flavor powder. I was lucky to have a big bag—I was popping them in my mouth nonstop!
Wasabi no Kiwami Rice Crackers – Buy 17 pieces for $6.00
I really love getting a spicy kick sometimes. There was a satisfying, crunchy, almost sweet rice cracker taste and then KICK! The wasabi (or horseradish) kicked! The senbei is the perfect vehicle to deliver the classic Japanese wasabi flavor, which gives you a punch of spice different from a hot chili pepper. The heat from the spice will kick you in your nose, rather than making your tongue water, and it’s this unique heat that makes it a beloved staple flavor of Japan. It’s so fun to eat!!
Dondon Yaki – Buy 15 bags for $9.00
This snack is named after the taiko drums that are beat at Japanese festivals, bursting with flavor. These rice crackers are deep-fried and marinated in tonkatsu sauce to create a savory flavor of pepper and a touch of sweetness. Tonkatsu sauce is a popular condiment for many fried foods in Japanese cuisine. Its tart and sweet, yet savory taste make it a perfect dip for greasy fried foods. These little bites are filled with flavor, have the perfect crunch, and have a light flavor similar to Worcestershire sauce—they’re addictive!
Dashi Agesen Rice Crackers – Buy 6 packs for $9.00
Dashi is a broth used in Japanese cuisine to add umami, one of the five basic tastes responsible for giving the savory taste, such as cooked meats and broths. It’s a popular base for miso, a soybean paste soup with a beautiful, light taste, and a common broth for ramen. This rice cracker delivers the dashi taste using a fluffier crunchy texture. The blend of sweet and savory is perfect, and the soy blend is satisfying and pairs so well with the soft and crisp rice cracker.
One of my favorite snacks I’ve received throughout my Bokksu experience. I love mochi so much. Perhaps you’ve seen the Facebook video of three Japanese cooks pounding mochi? The pounding with the wooden hammer brings out the natural sweetness of the rice. With constant mashing, the cooked glutinous rice gives the iconic sticky, chewy texture of mochi.
Niigita Prefecture is the second largest producer of rice in Japan and specializes in the highest grade of Japanese rice koshihikari. These mochi use traditional Japanese flavors kuromitsu (black sugar syrup) and kinako (roasted soybean powder) with a chocolate ganache infused filling. I’m not sure how to describe this snack more than just… divine! The contrast of the soft mochi and dense sweet center (similar to peanut butter and brown sugar) is heavenly, the combination of flavors and the balance of fragrant black syrup mochi layer and light chocolate was the perfect addition to the tea… coming up next!
Hojicha Tea – Retail Value $1.00
Nagoya Prefecture’s featured in this toasty and rich hojicha tea. Hojicha is made by slow roasting green tea leaves, reducing the caffeine content and producing its iconic nutty and earthy flavor. The unique roasting methods give the tea give a reddish-brown chestnut color—with longer steeping, there’s a deeper, nuttier flavor. I love the smooth taste and the savory taste is pleasing!
Verdict: Is there ever a curation Bokksu doesn’t rock? This month’s curation was no different. The mix of flavors were stunning and opened a world of deeper traditional flavors for both inexperienced and experienced Japanese cuisine tasters. The inclusions of nutty, earthy flavors, a kick of spice, iconic rice crackers and mochi, and matcha created an astonishing variety of tastes that were so pleasing and exciting to explore.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Unfortunately, no. You must order by the 25th of the month to receive the following month’s box. Order today to receive the August curation. Check out additional spoilers here!
COUPON: Limited Time Only! Use code MSA10OFF to save 10% off on your first box!
Value Breakdown: This box costs $39.00 + free shipping; with 23 items, each item is approximately $1.70. I calculated a retail value of $28.33 (excluding the Mochi Kinako and Matcha Baton items). Though a little lower than previous month estimates, I believe this curation was one of the most valuable experiences to any subscriber. Its information, complete experience of Japan’s unique specialties and variety of flavors, makes it a memorable curation.
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What do you think of Bokksu’s collection of traditional flavors? What was your favorite flavor?