My busy work schedule doesn’t allow me to take long vacations, but I try to plan a two-week overseas trip every year and Japan is one of the countries that is always on my consideration list.
With the pandemic in 2020, travelling has become practically impossible and you bet that the burning wanderlust is unbearable for travel enthusiasts like me – and probably you.
And then I learnt about Bokksu, a snack subscription box that supports small family-run businesses in Japan. This allows you to buy Japanese snacks online, have them ship directly to Singapore from Japan, and enjoy them without having to travel.
Buy authentic Japanese snacks online? How does it work?
Bokksu is a subscription plan that allows you to receive a box of authentic Japanese snacks, candies, and teas every month. These goodies are sourced directly from family makers, some as old as 100+ years, and reach you directly from Japan.
Each box is filled with 20 to 25 snacks, candies, and tea pairing, complete with a guide that shares with you more about each snack and the area it comes from.
All first-time subscribers receive the “Seasons of Japan” box that gives you a taste of premium Japanese snacks across all four seasons. This theme allows you to “eat” around different regions in Japan, taking a gastronomical journey to different parts of Japan and through an entire “year” of flavours.
And all you need to do is to cart it out – you don’t even have to spend time picking out what you want because the experts at Bokksu have done all that curation for you. This makes buying Japanese snacks online an absolute breeze and allows you to try out snacks you may not usually go for!
Bokksu review: How are all the Japanese snacks packaged?
My first box – the “Seasons of Japan” box – surprised me when it came. I was surprised at how huge the eye-catching orange box was and how it was beautifully packaged. I opened up the box and was surprised again that the snacks filled up the entire box – it’s definitely generous.
I like that there’s a good variety of sweet and savoury treats, and the inclusion of tea was a very nice touch.
Having everything packed nicely in a box makes it easy for me to reach out for it when I feel peckish. As I am working from home at the moment, I left the box in my study and reach out for it during my break – and this has made break-time sweeter, both figuratively and literally.
Which Bokksu Japanese snacks are worth trying?
For spring-themed items, the Koikeya Minit’s Stick Potato: Suppa Mucho Plum stood out to me. This is like that Jagabee potato stick snack that we can find easily in Singapore but with a twist – it carries the floral notes of plum blossoms, sourness of umeboshi (picked plum), and the refreshing taste of shiso (perilla leaves), to carry you away from here to under the blossoms of the ume tree in Japan’s spring. This is absolutely addictive and once you start, you’d find that it’s hard to stop reaching for it.
Those who have a sweet-tooth may enjoy the Tottori 20th Century Pear Fromage Biscuit. This fragrant snack contains a delectable blend of lush pear, rich cheese, and white chocolate. While the ingredient list suggests that this may be a saccharine treat, it turns out to be quite balanced and goes very well with the aromatic soft butter cookie.
For the summer-themed items, the Seaweed Tempura: Setouchi Sadachi Citrus Flavour is the one to look out for. Upon first look, it seems like the typical seaweed snack that you can find anywhere, but what makes it interesting is the sudachi fruit used to flavour the snack. The sudachi fruit is most famously used in ponzu sauce and it gives the snack an additive tang.
The Mini Shiruko Sando Red Bean Crackers in the fall-themed items stood out to me. According to the maker, this buttery biscuit was created in 1966 as a sign of unity; the biscuit represents the West and the anko filling represents Nagoya.
Finally, the winter-themed items included the Funwari Mejin Mochi Puffs, which is hands down my favourite snack in the entire box. This confection has a cloud-like, airy texture that melts in your mouth. I love how delicately sweet it was and I swear I was very upset when I finished the packet. (And I’m intending to repurchase this.)
Bokksu review: Is it worthwhile buying authentic Japanese snacks online?
The subscription doesn’t sound cheap when you first look at it; it ranges from US$44.99 per month to US$36.99 per month, depending on the number of months you commit to.
However, upon further calculation and consideration, I find that it’s actually pretty reasonable.
Given that there are around 20 to 25 Japanese snacks in the box, the most expensive permutation (US$44.99 for 20 items) will work out to just US$2.25 per snack, while the cheapest permutation (US$36.99 for 25 items) is just US$1.48. Those who have travelled to Japan and bought Japanese snacks home would know that high quality Japanese snacks don’t come cheap, and considering that shipping is free regardless of where you are, I find the price reasonable.
What’s more, think about how the curation allows you to buy Japanese snacks online, so you can try Japanese snacks, candies, and teas that are sourced directly from the makers from all over Japan, it actually makes the price tag even more palatable – especially when we can’t travel now.
I like that every box that we purchase supports the family-run businesses – some are as old as 100+ years and may not have a strong online presence – to make sure they’re able to sustain and keep their traditions alive.
One point to note, though: while shipping is free, it can take a while from the time you place your order for your box to reach you. Mine took approximately two weeks.
Nonetheless, I will recommend Bokksu for those who love Japanese culture or food, those who are looking to buy delicious and authentic Japanese snacks online, and those who are looking to support businesses that pour their hearts into their craft.
If you’re interested in any of the food items that I’ve highlighted, instead of committing to a subscription box, you can also try it by purchasing the individual items in the Bokksu market. Prices of these snacks start from US$1.
You can check out Bokksu at their website. Prices start from US$36.99.