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/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: Worldwide for free + free tracking to over 40 countries
Bokksu July 2019 Citrus Summer Review
Bokksu always starts out with a quick letter of introduction from their founder, Danny Taing.
This month, Bokksu shows a refreshing curation featuring Japan’s 25 citrus varieties and their endless snacking possibilities! 6 Japanese citrus flavors are included, including yuzu, mikan, Okinawan orange, Setouchi lemon, Sudachi fruit, and Iyokan citrus.
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 snacks that best acquaint us with the world of Japanese citrus flavors.
Each snack is described in detail, such as the history behind the making, manufacturers and dates, as well as common allergens which are always helpful to know.
A checklist is provided in the booklet to see what snacks are available per the three subscription options.
We have some phrases to learn, as well as a feature on the maker of my favorite candies! Daimonji Ame Honpo, one of Bokksu’s oldest partners, has been a favorite magical candy maker, transforming any flavor into delicious marbles, from persimmon, to ramune, to various citruses.
Shall we discover Bokksu’s traditional flavors?
Bokksu Exclusive Handmade Yuzu Sake Candy – Retail Value $3.00
Yuzu (called 유자 [yuja] in Korean) fruits have thick, fragrant skins with sour and tart insides. The fresh and aromatic kind of the fruit makes it distinct from any other citrus fruit, and both the fruit juice and rind are used in cooking. In Japan, yuzu is combined with alcoholic drinks or used with salt and pepper flavors to create yuzu vinegar, commonly used for cooking savory foods. In Korea, there is a yuja honey that is a popular cold-reliever, soothing tea, made with honey, yuja fruit, and the fragrant rinds—this tea is one of my favorite guilty pleasures, as the sweetness of the honey and the fragrant skins are a beautiful combination to drink and eat.
If you’ve read my past reviews, you probably know how much I love the Bokksu handmade candies. Citrus flavors, such as last December’s Mikan candy, are brought out so well in these little marble pieces. This candy is, simply put, heaven. The sweet, citrusy, and refreshing combination of yuzu and sake is lovely. Yuzu has a soft, mellow sweetness with a fresh tang of sour—paired with the perfumed sake, the candy is infused with a floral fragrance. Delightful.
Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Setouchi Lemon – Buy 6 packs for $12.00
Another common Bokksu snack favorite are the Funwari Meijin mochi puffs. We’ve seen these kinako black syrup mochi puffs last month and Hokkaido cheese puffs back in May! Setouchi lemons, the new flavor, are grown in the Seto Island Sea region of Japan, an area renowned for citrus production. These puffs are airy and melt on the tongue into an incredible light syrup of sweet lemon, a tang of sour, and a pinch of salt. The dense coating is of Setouchi rinds, a remarkable contrast to the fluffy, cloud-like inside of spun mochi rice. These can only be described as magical, delicate pillows.
Candied Iyokan Peel – Retail Value $2.00
Iyokan is a Japanese citrus fruit, similar to the mandarin orange, found in the Yamaguchi Prefecture. Once peeled, the fruit has a strong scent, with a flesh slightly sourer and more biting than an orange. To preserve the natural flavor, iyokan fruit peels are candied by being boiled in sugar syrup, then being laid out to dry. The sugar counters the bitterness of the rinds to allow the tart, fresh flavors of the iyokan to shine through. The citrus sweetness of these candied peels, along with the sugar syrup, is complemented by a touch of sourness. Eating these little bits was like eating pieces of sunshine, fresh and bright ☀️
Yuzu Peanut Brittle – Buy 8 pieces for $12.00
Brittle is a type of confection made of hard sugar, such as toffee or browned sugar syrup, embedded with nuts, such as pecans, almonds, and peanuts. Many Asian countries use sesame seeds and peanuts in their brittle. This yuzu peanut brittle uses molten sugar syrup to enclose crunchy peanuts and yuzu rinds—a disk of perfection! I never thought citrus would go with peanut brittle well, but there’s something about the nutty, earthy peanut flavor that complements the gentle, aromatic yuzu flavor beautifully. And the texture… the soft crunch of peanuts with the melting sugar!
Okinawan Orange and Black Tea Cookie – Buy 18 pieces for $9.00
This cute cookie is called a chinsuko, a traditional cookie from Okinawa similar to shortbread. The crumbly texture and rich flavor make the cookie a popular souvenir from the area! The flavors of this chinsuko are honeyed orange peel and black tea for a fruity floral summer flavor. There is an unmistakable fragrance of sweet florals from the black tea infused with the subtle citrus scent—all joined together with the creamy, buttery cookie base. If only I had more!
Pom PonJuice Mikan Orange Mochi – Buy 8 pieces for $8.00
I have been seeing these little filled mochi here and there, but this mikan orange flavor beats all! Mikan orange, or citrus unshiu, is a seedless and easily-peeled citrus variety of Chinese origin. Mikan is one of the sweetest varieties, with a tender and delicate inside. This mochi, soft as a pillow, is filled with a sweet orange jam hugged by a marshmallow cloud. In the single bite, the snack delivers the iconic Japanese mikan juice flavor from Ponjuice with a gentle citrus sweetness!
Orange Stick Cake – Buy 12 pieces for $24.00
Ah, another favorite item—the bread! This fluffy and light cake is delicately airy and moist, infused with oranges with a fresh zing, and dried orange slices baked on top for a chewy texture and flavor contrast! The cake is moist to the point of juicy, and the presentation looks exquisite with the candied slices adorning it. In cakes, citrus can be a faint flavor, but the bitter rinds of the slices helped enhance the deep, rich, and sweet orange flavor.
Seaweed Tempura with Sudachi – Retail Value $3.00
One of the best discoveries I made while visiting Japan was finding these tempura seaweed snacks in convenience stores. They are so addicting, from the crunch, to the slight saltiness of the fried batter, to the savory taste of seaweed. And now, to taste it with sudachi salt flavor?! Sudachi is a small green citrus native to Japan frequently used to give foods a lemon-lime tang. Paired with salt, it is a commonly used in ponzu sauce. These little sheets of seaweed are battered, fried, and infused with ponzu to give a fresh sour taste of sudachi and a touch of saltiness. I love the airy crunch of the snack that gives a little shock of salty citrus, then the subtle briney taste that lingers goes well together—so addicting!
Yuzu Kosho and Shrimp Senbei
Another savory side of citrus fruits is the yuzu pepper combination. This light senbei may overwhelm you with its fishy, shrimp smell, but please, charge through! You must experience the delicious harmony of shrimp, yuzu, salt, and pepper. The first taste will be the strong shrimp, or shirobei, followed soon after by the yuzu kosho flavors. Yuzu kosho is a fermented paste made of chili peppers, yuzu peel, and salt, a popular condiment for sashimi and chicken dishes. The combination of the peppery citrus and refreshing seafood gives the senbei a wonderful, savory taste.
Okaki Lemon and Salt Rice Crackers – Retail Value $3.00 (currently sold out)
Since we’ve experienced yuzu and pepper, how about some lemon and salt? Strangely, these little rice crackers disappeared so quickly as I popped them in my mouth… The glutinous rice that is used to create mochi was used to create these crackers, giving a texture that’s almost sticky after melting! The zesty, salty crunch is such a new sensation and flavor I enjoyed. It’s definitely a new taste bud experience but believe me when I say the taste grows on you!
Arare Lemon and Vinegar Rice Crackers – Buy 23 pieces for $8.00
These little balls of savory and sour sunshine were a joy to eat. Arare, named after their snow pellet-like shape, are Japanese rice crackers made from glutinous rice and often seasoned with soy sauce. Similar to the previous snack, senbei made from glutinous rice gives an extra chewy texture along with the light crunch. As soon as I opened the tiny bag, a waft of fresh, citrusy lemon flavor and the sharp vinegar gave a spoiler of the savory punch of the snack—a lingering tartness is left after the puffy rice melts away, the best to satisfy a salty crunch craving!
Kakitane Yuzu Kosho Flavor – Retail Value $3.00
Kakitane are two-part Japanese snacks; small crescent-shaped fragments of senbei and peanuts. The snack is often a bar snack for beers, featuring various flavors such as wasabi, pepper, and yuzu kosho. The chili peppers used to create the kosho sauce give the senbei pieces a vital spice kick, followed by a short punch of the complex, layered with yuzu and salt, making the snack yet another companion for savory cravings.
Organic Genmaicha Tea – Retail Value $2.00 per bag
Genmaicha is a splendid blend of sencha leaves and roasted brown rice. Sencha is a type of Japanese green tea prepared by infusing whole tea leaves in hot water (whereas matcha is powdered tea). Originally, genmaicha was the “people’s tea,” as the rice served as a filler and reduced the price of the tea. Now, it is a widely popular tea, favored for its comforting taste. The combination of the aroma of roasted rice and fresh grassy flavor of sencha gives a rich, nutty sweetness perfect to drink at any time of day. It’s one of my favorite teas, and it paired beautifully with this month’s curation. The mellow flavors cut down the acidity of the citrus, creating a well-balanced harmony of the different featured tastes.
Verdict: I look forward to the citrus month among the various Bokksu curations, as I’ve always enjoyed citrus (especially yuzu) flavors. This curation was a beautiful experience of the different citrus flavors, from sour to salty to sweet. As usual, the handmade candies are at the top of my favorites—the simple, mellow flavor and distinct fragrance of yuzu is lovely, enhanced with the slight floral taste of sake. The salty and savory rice crackers, another favorite, showed me the opposite world of citrus from the sour-sweet I was accustomed to, with a loud crunch and pucker! Oh, and the delicious, comforting genmaicha ✧･ﾟ
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. I calculated a retail value of $35.04 (excluding the senbei crackers), which is a little less than the original value. I believe Bokksu’s curation and attention to snacking experience is a large part of the value, but this is just my personal opinion ♡
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What do you think of Bokksu’s collection of traditional flavors? What was your favorite flavor?