Bokksu “Fireworks Festival” Review + Coupon – August 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 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
All boxes are curated around a monthly cultural theme.
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.
The Products: 20-25 Japanese snacks & tea pairing around a monthly cultural theme
Ships to: Worldwide for free + free tracking to over 40 countries
Bokksu August 2019 Fireworks Festival Review
Bokksu always starts out with a quick letter of introduction from their founder, Danny Taing.
This month, Bokksu’s bringing us a fireworks festival, or hanabi taikai. While most of us won’t be able to experience the magical lights, we can enjoy the bright and explosive food stall flavors such as grilled corn, fried ginger, and fresh green tea!
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.
We also have a checklist to see what products we can enjoy!
Each snack is described in detail, such as the flavors, manufacturers and dates, as well as common allergens which are always helpful to know.
A map is always included in the booklet, so we see the prefecture origins of the flavors.
We have some phrases to learn, and a feature of Kagoshima Seicha, a Kagoshima company renowned for its quality teas. Besides partnering with local tea farmers, Seicha’s motto is seijitsu houshi, or sincere service! The booklet ends with a culture page: for this month, it’s a packing list for visiting the matsuris, or summer festivals in Japan!
The booklet’s last page is for the subscriber community, showing a member spotlight and the giveaway winner, as well as Bokksu‘s social media handles.
Shall we enter the fireworks festival?
Black Syrup Kinako Warabimochi – Buy 12 bags for $20.00
Upon opening this DIY snack, you may be surprised by the jiggly texture of the mochi. That’s because warabimochi is a jelly-like confection made from bracken starch and covered with kinako (roasted soybean powder). You were probably expecting the sticky, soft mochi made from glutinous rice! Warabimochi is popular in the summertime—the contrast of the cold, jelly texture and warm roasted kinako is such a refreshing treat!
To sweeten our warabimochi, a pouch of kuromitsu (black sugar syrup) was provided, which I drizzled for a touch of deep caramel flavor.
Dora Choco – Buy 40 pieces for $20.00
The original of this cute snack is the doryaki, a popular street food. Sold hot off the griddle, doryaki is a Japanese treat made with two pancake-shaped castella cakes with a traditional red bean paste. These delicious goodies also come in custard, green tea custard, and ube filling these days! The little sandwiches are actually filled with a chocolate center.
The beautiful trick to this snack is the darkness of the flavor. The slight burnt top of the castella cake sandwich pancakes, and the black sugar chocolate ganache give a delicious, dark flavor. The ganache center was a sticky filling, and rather than a heavy cream chocolate mixture, it was more of a whipped syrup that paired so well with the soft, pillowy panckaes. Definitely a box favorite!
Bokksu Exclusive Handmade Ramune Candy – Retail Value $3.00
Ah, my favorite item in any Bokksu curation! These Bokksu exclusive hard candies are handmade by the Daimonji craftsmen. One of the most iconic flavors of Japan, the ramune drink is a type of carbonated soda. Its unique marble packaging makes it a favorite of all ages with over 37 flavors! Along with a refreshing soda taste, the candy has a light, bubbly fizz that made it so fun to savor ✨
Kaki-no-tane are small crescent-shaped fragments of senbei (soy-sauce flavored rice crackers) and peanuts. They are popular as beer snacks for their crunch and touch of saltiness. These fried kaki-no-tane have a unique flavor—beni shoga, or pickled ginger! The vivid red color of pickled ginger, a common side dish in Japan, comes from the umezu, or brine that results when making umeboshi (pickled plums). The sour note, from the pickled flavors, and the warm bite of ginger make this snack a flurry of flavors that are a joy to pop in your mouth. Just like fireworks, these salty pieces of goodness have bright colors and a punch!
Mala Fried Rice Cracker – Retail Value $2.00
This… is not a cracker. It is a senbei pie! The flavor of this riced cracker was, quite literally, fireworks. The burst of flavor, a perfect balance between spiciness and soy sauce senbei flavor, was an explosion I enjoyed. While mala is known for its numb-spicy taste, the spice was gentle to give the flavor but also have the spice tingle on the tongue.
The texture had a light, but firm crunch, and I enjoyed the non-greasiness of the fried snack. Look at the contrast, the pure white senbei inside, with the fire-like outer crust!
Sauce Uma Sen – Retail Value $1.00
This senbei was a meal. The sauce, similar to Worcestershire sauce, is an iconic flavor of Japan, appearing in hot street food stalls, such as takoyaki (balls of pancake batter filled with octopus bits and tempura scraps) or okonomiyaki (savory pancake, usually includes flour, grated yam, eggs, shredded cabbage, green onion, and meat). The crunch of this savory senbei and the sweet and sour tang of the sauce transports me to a blanket on a field of grass, watching the fireworks burst in the sky!
Baby Star Yakisoba – Buy 30 bags for $30.00
Yakisoba, with a literal translation of fried buckwheat, is a Japanese stir-fry noodle dish. These noodles, typically made of wheat flour, are flavored with the above sauce, and often paired with a meat and finely chopped vegetables like cabbage, onions, and carrots. The dish is accompanied by garnishes such as pickled ginger or green seaweed powder. One of my favorite dishes of savory noodles, yakisoba is perfectly captured with these noodle flakes. Bite-sized, the little snack pouch was the best crunchy afternoon wake-up snack!
Hana Kokeshi – Buy 20 pieces for $8.00
I wish I had more of these little dolls! These are so cute and would be such adorable gift bag stuffers! Hana kokeshi means flower dolls, referencing the adorable doll design on the packaging. These traditional Japanese wooden dolls are usually carved from a single piece of wood, with hand-painted hair, face, and clothes. The head is a peanut, and the body is a soy-sauce flavored senbei. The snack is so simple, but the idea has been executed so well, it’s as delicious as the other fancy snacks included.
Kongari Corn Rice Cracker – Buy 23 pieces for $8.00
Now, corn is a must-have golden treasure for any festival. I love steamed corn on the cob (rather than grilled) because I can enjoy the sugar-sweet corn flavor, plain and simple 😊 In Japan, rather than steaming or grilling the corn, a sweet soy-sauce glaze gives a beautiful smoky flavor for a perfect appetizer of the festival foods. This rice cracker has the intense corn flavor, with a slight darkness of soy-sauce flavors. I believe the senbei is the best way to deliver flavors such as corn or curry, and be able to hint at the garnishes, such as a glaze—a job well done by this little cracker!
Bokksu Exclusive White Chocolate Infused Strawberry
Indeed, a subscriber and curation favorite, the white chocolate infused strawberry is a magical treat that appeared in March and last December! Made from organic strawberries harvested from a local farm, Nagano chocolatiers freeze dry the strawberries and infuse them with white chocolate. They are then cooled to give a smooth yet crunchy texture.
This combination of creamy white chocolate and tart strawberry is something so unlike any other snack I have tried. I’ve tried so many snacks over the past months, and none can compare with the absolute perfection of this strawberry. The vanilla flavors of white chocolate often overpower lighter, fruity flavors, but this delicacy captures the smooth, creamy chocolate which complements the essence of strawberry. And the texture! With the beautiful snap of a freeze-dried fruit and the dense chocolate that melts in your mouth… heaven.
Puku Puku Tai in Strawberry – Buy 10 pieces for $20.00
Meito Sangyo’s Puku Puku Tai Fish snacks have been quite popular these days in Japanese snack subscription boxes. We’ve tasted the chocolate edition last February and now it is time for the strawberry flavor! Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped cake, sold hot in street stalls. Made of a castella-pancake batter, the cake is cooked on a griddle and filled with sweetened azuki bean paste, custard, green tea custard, or sweet potato paste. It’s delicious! While I would take the taiyaki over any Puku Puku, this snack is a magical treat itself, with moussey strawberry chocolate (similar to Aero bubble chocolate!) that evaporates in your mouth, and a crispy, ice-cream cone wafer outside.
Satsumarche Mizudashicha Tea – Retail Value $1.00 each
Mizudashi, or cold brew green tea, is the perfect thirst quencher this summer. The translation means “infusing with cold water,” a method of tea-making recommended for this blend of sencha and matcha. Sencha is green tea grown in the full sun, typically brewed with full leaves with a strong grass-like aftertaste. Matcha is green tea grown in the shade, typically in powder form, and has a creamier taste that makes it a favorite for lattes.
Many higher quality green teas are best brewed at lower temperatures, but this blend is best to infuse with icy cold water! A refreshing beauty, mizudashi tea is another favorite to add to my green tea list!
Verdict: Another stunning curation from Bokksu this month, with a lovely experience of walking along the stalls for the fireworks festival. I enjoyed all the flavors, especially snacks like the ramune candy and firey red senbei that reminded me of fireworks booming in the sky, except with flavor explosions! I have always enjoyed this subscription, of course for the tasty snacks, but also the experience of true Japanese culture. While it won’t substitute for a real stroll among the sakura blossoms or at night to visit the street food stalls for takoyaki, we can enjoy the iconic and delicious flavors here at home 😊 I estimated a retail value of $22.16 (excluding the strawberry chocolates), a little less than previous retail values of this subscription; however, I consider a large part of the value the experience provided, from the booklet to the selection of snacks (this is just my personal opinion!)
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 October curation. Check out additional spoilers here!
Value Breakdown: This box costs $39.00 + free shipping; with 22 items, each item is approximately $1.77.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of Bokksu’s collection of traditional flavors? What was your favorite flavor?