Thursday, July 16, 2015

Universal Yums Global Snack Review (Japan), July 2015

Japan is the featured country for Universal Yums' July box.  Each month they send authentic snacks from the chosen country with a mix of flavors (salty, sweet, spicy, fruity, etc.)  I was very happy to see the focus on Japanese snacks since I was pretty sure that would mean the inclusion of two of my favorite foreign treats....Hello Panda and Pocky.  Sure enough, those two are in this month's box!  If you missed my initial Univeral Yums review with all the subscription details, you can check it out here.

The July box was absolutely bursting with snacks, not surprising, considering Japan's reputation for really tasty (or "Oishii" in Japanese) treats.  And, as Universal Yums pointed out on the information card, no snack trip to Japan would be complete without a few really strange combinations!  


Universal Yums may be the only snack subscription that provides such complete information on each of the treats in their boxes. The product card shows a color photo of each item and gives a lot of information, from the description, to their opinion to an ingredient list.  This card is essential for foreign snacks since there is often no English on the wrapper so you have no idea what's inside.


There is only one snack in this box that really turns me off so I'll get that one out of the way first.  Plenty of people like shrimp in all its forms and plenty of people like wasabi.  I'm not one of either group.  These are baked Shrimp Chips with Wasabi from Calbee.  The card says they don't taste fishy and the wasabi is very subtle. Doesn't matter to me; I'll be passing these along!



On to happier and more appealing snacks (to me, at least)!  There is a a lot of green in this box, starting with these baked Snow Pea Crisps from Saya.  I like snow pea crisps and pick up the American version at Whole Foods whenever I go there. It's amazing how light, airy, crispy and salty a baked pea can be!  


I was a bit suspicious of these Baum Rolls because of the bourbon flavor on the label.  But they are really delicious; they are a soft lemony rolled up cake.  They remind me of a lemon flavored angel food cake or lemon pound cake. Very, very good!


Thinking they might be licorice, my radar was on high alert when I saw these black wrapped candies.  But no need for alarm; they are brown sugar candies.  The card says these are one of Japan's oldest candies.  They taste like pure brown sugar with a hint of a smoky flavor. Not bad!


These two bite size candies are Nestle's Aero Matcha.  In case you aren't aware, matcha (or green tea) is one of Japan's most popular candy flavors.  These have a foam-like matcha center covered with chocolate.  The card says these are nearly impossible to find in the U.S.


And here are my beloved Pocky sticks!  If you've never experienced Pocky, you're missing out.  They are a stick shaped biscuit dipped in various flavorings.  The sticks in this box are covered in a cookies and cream dip.  I haven't tried this particular flavor but knowing Pocky, they'll be irresistible.  There are 31 pages of Pocky products on Amazon; what does that tell you?  (I'm not the only addict!)


These cute little boxes of Botan Rice Candy have appeared in other sub boxes.  To be honest, I haven't tried them.  But they are lemon-orange gummies wrapped in edible wrappers that have a faint taste of rice.  Supposedly, that makes them taste better.  We'll see.  I am always happy to see Hi-Chews in subscription boxes.  These are Mango flavor and will not last long around here.  Hi-Chews have become so ubiquitous; I'm surprised they aren't carried in every U.S. drug and grocery store by now!


Here's more green....a big bag of Corn Puff Snacks from Meiji, another well known Japanese snack company.  The card says the name of these is "Karl" which I guess is what the big white letters on the front say.  Although they look like Japanese Cheetos, the card says they are a lot better.  These come in cheese and curry flavor; really glad I got the cheese!


According to Universal Yums, these Kasugai Gummies "set the standard by which all other gummies should be judged"!  These round gummies have intense flavors; this box contained two each of melon, lychee, kiwifruit and ramune (a Japanese soda that tastes like lemonade).


Probably my favorite of all Japanese snacks are Meiji's tiny Hello Panda biscuit pillows with the adorable little panda pictures on the front. They come with all sorts of different fillings; this box contains the choco cream version. No Japanese treat box would be complete without something from Hello Panda.



Why don't we have pretty candy wrappers like these in the U.S.?  These beautiful little wrappers contain "Flower Kiss Candies" which taste nothing like flowers.  The one I tried was delicious; it tasted like peach and/or apricots.  Despite the different wrappers, these all contain the same kind of candy.  Another hit for me!  


I think Universal Yums did a phenomenal job of curating this box. They included products from the best known Japanese candy brands as well as some that are lesser known.  The mix of flavors and overall quantity included were just perfect.  

You can get the Yum Box containing 6 or more snacks for $15 per month or the Yum Yum box with 13 or more snacks for $29 per month.  Both sizes cost less per month ($13 or $25, respectively) with longer term subscriptions.

Universal Yums always teases us with a rhyming hint about next month's destination. The clue this time says:  "Bursting with exotic tastes, It's the cradle of the human race. There's hundreds of spices and 29 states.  But you'll never find a bite of steak."  I don't know; it has to be somewhere in Africa?  What do you think?

Thanks for reading!

Cheryl

Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post does not contain referral or affiliate links.