It feels a little like we’re working our way through every Japanese snack box in existence, but we want to help you choose the best boxes. This latest box is from Japan Centre, an amazing Japanese food shop in London where I often pick up treats on visits or online. They recently launched this Pop Culture Snack Box and I was excited to see what was inside.
I received the July Premium box, which was enormous! I forgot to take a photo of everything laid out but you can just about see it all. There’s Teshioya dashi salt rice crackers, Mame Kazoku mixed snacks, Norimaki senbei, peach gummies, Koala’s March strawberry biscuits, strawberry cheesecake KitKats, Quattro matcha chocolate biscuits, Kinoko no Yama dark chocolate biscuits, Kakiage tempura soba noodles, Kracie DIY grape candy kit and Hachimitsu lemon honey drink, plus a free toy.
Unlike most boxes we review, this is definitely a family or group box as all the items are large sizes any many have individually wrapped pieces for easy sharing. Most exciting was this big Fuji shaped pack of strawberry cheesecake KitKats. With 9 in the box, you can share them with your friends and family and still have plenty for yourself. It’s a good popular flavour too whereas you might not want so many in one of the weirder flavours available.
I also made a beeline for these biscuits. The Quattro look just like the picture and have layers of matcha flavourited biscuit, dark chocolate, matcha cream and matcha chocolate. It’s a sophisticated little snack and you won’t demolish the box too quickly.
Unlike these mushroom biscuits which I wouldn’t have wanted to share! I’ve had the milk chocolate version before – and mango in Japan – but I do prefer dark chocolate. These were really good and I would definitely buy them again.
The rest of the sweet stuff. The peach gummies are all individually wrapped for handy sharing and have a very realistic peach taste and a soft texture. Everyone loves Koala’s March, though I’m more fond of the chocolate flavour. And candy kits are always fun with friends – I’ve reviewed a similar one before.
The savoury snacks are a bit more traditional. The rice crackers are plain and salty with a little bit of dashi (fish stock) and the savoury mixed snacks are your usual mix of rice crackers, peanuts and more, but also with tiny dried fish. The other set of rice crackers come wrapped in nori seaweed and were my favourite – nicely sticky and crunchy. They’re all familiar Japanese flavours for me and would be great with a beer or green tea but maybe not for everyone.
The largest box also comes with a bowl of instant noodles! I haven’t had a chance to make this yet, but it’s shrimp tempura flavour and looks pretty good.
Honey lemon drinks were a big trend when I was in Japan but I decided it sounded too much like cough mixture…and that’s why I love reviewing these boxes – I have to try things I would have ignored otherwise! I made it into a slushie (with my Zoku), which helped it feel more summery, but it was still impossible not to think about Lemsip.
Since some of these items will be unfamiliar, they’re all helpfully labeled in English with ingredients, allergy advice and storage instructions. Japan Centre also sell all the items individually in store and online so you can buy more of your favourites.
The premium box also includes a surprise toy and mine was a set of cute Iwako erasers! You really can’t go wrong with these – they’re so fun and quite realistic.
Overall, this is a great option for anyone who has visited Japan a few times or wants to try more authentic snacks. You do need to be a bit more adventurous in what you’ll try but you’ll hopefully be won over and find some new favourites. There’s very little crossover between the three box sizes and the smaller ones have a higher percentage of sweet treats. The premium box would be best for a family or group of Japan fans as there’s lots to share.
The premium box costs £40 per month with smaller boxes at £15 and £25. There’s free delivery within the UK with extra costs for Europe. It’s not available outside Europe. Visit the Japan Centre site to find out more, order a box or just browse their huge range of Japanese food, drinks, candy and more!
Not sure which subscription box is best for you? Check out our guide!
(Box was provided for review by Japan Centre but this is my honest review and the photos are my own, except for the last one)