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. All boxes are curated around a monthly cultural theme. Bokksu usually comes in a bright orange box, but this shipment is packed in a limited edition pink Sakura box in celebration of cherry blossom season.
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!)
The Subscription Box: Bokksu
The Cost: $49.95/mo + free shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
ACTIVE DEAL: Limited Time Only! Use code MSA10 for $10 off 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
Bokksu "Seasons of Japan" Review
Bokksu always starts out with a quick letter of introduction from their founder, Danny Taing.
This month, Bokksu’s celebrating the "Seasons of Japan." All of the snacks represent the "culturally rich regions and seasons of Japan."
Included in the box is a Culture Guide that provides oodles of great information: detailed descriptions of the snacks (including allergen info), introductions to the makers, a map showcasing where the snacks come from, and a spotlight on the theme.
Okay, before I dive into the taste test for all of these snacks, I have to share with you JUST HOW EXCITED I am about this box. My brother lives in Southeast Asia, and his preferred travel route when he visits the US is via Japan. He's started a tradition where he always picks up a haul of Japanese snacks at the airport when he changes planes (that he's kind enough to share with me!), so getting a box of treats from Bokksu has just put a big old smile on my face and smacked me with a wave of happy memories.
Ready to discover some Japanese goodies? Let's see what's inside my Bokksu!
Koikeya Minit's Stick Potato: Suppa Mucho Plum– Buy 6 bags for $18.00
One of my favorite things about sampling Japanese snacks is that the flavors are often surprising (frequently unfamiliar to my American palate), incredibly complex, and layered to perfection. You won't find a lot of one-note flavors, that's for sure. These crispy potato sticks are a great example. Visually and texturally, they remind me of the crunchy Pik-Nik shoestring potatoes that come in a can, but the flavor of these puppies is on another level. They're inspired by plums (plum blossoms and pickled plums) and flavored with shiso, an herb with a strong, bright flavor. Imagine salt and vinegar chips, add a burst of fruit, toss in a smidgen of floral flavor, and you'll have an idea what these taste like. The flavor is elaborate and totally addictive.
Seaweed Tempura: Setouchi Sudachi Citrus Flavor – Buy 1 bag for $3.00
These deep-fried seaweed snacks are crunchy, rich, and flavored with sudachi, a small green citrus fruit that's often compared to lemon or lime. Have you ever been to a sushi restaurant that gets super creative with their roll creations? This snack tasted to me like lime and seaweed, and it's what I imagine a deep-fried Mexican/Japanese fusion roll might taste like.
20th Century Pear Langue de Chat Cookie – Buy 12 pieces for $24.00
You know how I was talking about how Japanese snacks layer flavors like woah? This cookie is a great example. It pairs crisp, buttery cookies with pear, white chocolate, and cheese. I'm not gonna lie, I was a little apprehensive about how these flavors would work together in cookie form, but I was pleasantly surprised. The cookie is weird (to my Western tastebuds, anyway), but definitely good weird. There's a nice balance of sweet and savory, and I happily ate the whole thing.
Organic Genmaicha Tea – Buy 1 bag for $2.00
I've tried genmaicha before, but I never really knew what it was. Thanks to Bokksu, I now know the fascinating backstory:
A combination of sencha leaves and roasted brown rice, this tea is filling and just a little bit different from most teas. The roasted brown rice was originally mixed with tea as a filler to help extend a smaller amount of expensive sencha across many cups. From its humble origins as a prudent economic measure, genmaicha has remained popular in Japan for its refreshing and comforting taste.
I like green tea, and this is a good one. (It was also nice to have a warm cup of tea to accompany my snacking!)
Aomori Apple Caramel Yakkoi Sable – Buy 8 pieces for $16.00
This soft and chewy cookie is flavored with sweet apple caramel butter, and it has a far more subtle flavor than the other snacks so far. The taste, while delicate, is divine. It reminds me of apple butter slathered on toasted brioche, and I'm seriously tempted to order more from the Bokksu shop. (Though, I fear I would end up eating them all in one gluttonous sitting.)
Black Sesame Taiko: Kumamon Design – Buy 10 pieces for $30.00
When I first pulled this out of the box, I can't say I was super excited. It kinda looks like birdseed, no? But, boy oh boy, was I wrong. First of all, let me tell you what you're looking at. This is a crispy snack made with black sesame seeds and roasted almonds that are held together with a dried sugary substance called mizuame. When you bite into it, you get a hit of the sweetness right away, and then the nuttiness from the almonds and sesame seeds kicks in. It's really delicious and very satisfying.
Puku Puku Tai in Chocolate – Buy 10 pieces for $20.00
I've had this treat once or twice before, and I'm a big fan. The outer shell is a mochi wafter that reminds me flavor-wise and texturally of a classic ice cream cone. Inside, there's an aerated chocolate filling. My favorite part, though, has to be the shape. It's just so darn cute!
Edamame Senbei – Buy 1 piece for $1.00
This cracker is made with real bits of edamame, and it's dusted with kinako, a roasted soybean powder. This snack is classified as "savory," but the kinako is fairly sweet and tickled my tastebuds in the same way kettle corn does. I'm a fan.
Mocchan Dango Mochi – Buy 24 pieces for $30.00
I LOVE mochi, but I've only ever had it in ice cream form. (I always stock up on mango mochi ice cream when I visit Trader Joe's. I'm more than a little obsessed.) This was my first time trying room temperature mochi, and I'm happy to report that I love it just as much as I thought I would. Mocchan Dango Mochi are soft and sticky with a subtle flavor and a crunchy dusting of sugar. Gummy candy is one of my favorite snacks, and these little mochi are like the distant, fancy cousins of classic gumdrops. 10/10 would recommend.
Dondon Yaki – Buy 15 packs for $12.00
Here's what Bokksu has to say about these crunchy little niblets:
Named after the sound of the beating taiko drums that are ubiquitous at festivals in Japan, these little savory senbei are bursting with flavor. They are fried and then marinated in tonkatsu sauce to give them a deep, complex savory flavor that is tangy, peppery, and a little sweet.
My husband helped me taste-test everything in this month's Bokksu, and this snack ended up being one of his favorites. The tonkatsu flavoring is reminiscent of Worcestershire sauce, and it gives these crunchy bites a savory kick that's totally satisfying.
Matcha Chocolate Stick Cake – Buy 1 piece for $3.00
This little slice of cake is flavored with chocolate and matcha. Despite the obvious green color, I didn't get a lot of matcha flavor, but the tiny chocolate chips baked into the cake crackle like little bits of crystallized sugar and pop with flavor. The cake itself is soft and spongy, and it was a great accompaniment to my cup of tea.
Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Kinako – Buy 6 packs for $12.00
I can safely say I have never eaten anything like these mochi puffs before in my life. They're made using a "secret process" that transforms them into a "cloud-like confection." The texture lands somewhere between styrofoam and cotton candy; it's mind-bending enough that I think these puffs would be right at home on the menu of some trendy restaurant specializing in molecular gastronomy. They're very Wonka-esque! The flavor is delicate, sweet, and a little nutty, but more than anything, these puffs are FUN to eat.
Handmade Yuzu Sake Candy – Buy 1 bag for $3.00
These candies were made exclusively for Bokksu, and I can't tell you how much I wish they were mainstream so I could buy more at my local grocery store. They're flavored with a combination of sake and yuzu, a Japanese citrus that tastes like a mix of lemon, lime, and grapefruit. (At .1%, they're a wee bit alcoholic!) They taste like a cocktail in candy form, and I am here for it.
Hokkaido Red Bean Doughnuts – Buy 2 pieces for $4.00
My fellow taste-tester and I were a little split when it came to these doughnuts. We agreed that the flavor is awesome. The red bean filling doesn't have an exceptionally strong taste, and it's sort of elusive. I'm having a really hard time trying to figure out how to describe it. It doesn't really taste like beans. It's not super sweet. It's just a mild, savory kind of yum. On the texture, however, we didn't really see eye to eye. I found the outer pastry a little greasy, and while I didn't think it was unpleasant, I didn't love it. My husband disagreed and said that if we bought them in bulk it wouldn't matter whether I liked them because he'd happily eat every last one.
Uni Rice Crackers – Buy 6 packs for $6.00
Fishy treats are popular across Asia, and like many American snackers, I approach them with a healthy dose of apprehension. (Sometimes, they're simply too fishy for me.) These uni rice crackers are flavored with sea urchin and soy sauce, so my first bite was a cautious one. My second bite was not. These. Are. Awesome. Instead of a strong fishy flavor, the uni gives these crackers a freshness that tastes like the sea. The soy sauce provides a rich, salty, backdrop, and I would happily crunch on these anytime.
White Strawberry – Buy 12 pieces for $36.00
These strawberries are made exclusively for Bokksu using a brand new technique. I'll let them explain:
This adorable sweet is actually the world’s first chocolate-infused strawberry produced by an innovative Nagano maker exclusively for Bokksu! First, only the freshest strawberries are harvested from a local farm. Next, each strawberry is freeze-dried to remove all the water and then infused with white chocolate. Finally, the strawberries are cooled, resulting in the perfect balance of smooth yet crunchy texture.
The taste is exactly what you'd expect: strawberry and white chocolate. It's the texture that's surprising. When you bite into the berry, it practically melts in your mouth. Delicious, and utterly unique.
Verdict: This box was a joy to explore. The curation was stunning, the selection was diverse, and— most of all— the snacks were delicious and fun. If I had to pick a few favorites, I think the yuzu sake candies, apple cookie, Black Sesame Taiko, and sugared mochi come out on top for me. This box cost $49.95, and I received a total of 20 items in this box; when I break that down, I get a per-item cost of $2.50. Can I get similarly sized snacks for less locally? Sure, but this is a premium snack subscription, and the curation and experience provided are top-notch. If like me, you love Japanese snacks and want to take an indulgent, monthly taste-tour around Japan, I can't recommend this box enough. It's a delight.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes! If you sign up for a new subscription today, you'll receive "Seasons of Japan" in a limited edition pink Sakura box.
ACTIVE DEAL: Limited Time Only! Use code MSA10 for $10 off your first box
Value Breakdown: This box costs $49.95 + free shipping; with 20 items, each item is approximately $2.50.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of this Bokksu? Which snacks were your favorite?