Japanese Snacks! This month’s theme is… “Matcha & Azuki: Japan’s Peanut Butter & Jelly” What did the green tea say to azuki red bean? We’re a perfect matcha! What is Snakku?
Snakku is the only Japanese snack subscription box that gets its snacks directly from local snack makers in Japan. We work directly with the Japanese snack makers, some of whom have been around for 100+ years! Explore Japan through snacks that you can’t get anywhere else. Each box is uniquely themed to showcase seasons of Japan, specific types of snacks, a local snack shop, or regions of Japan. (source)
They have two sizes that you can choose from (link here)
- The Signature Snakku snack box, which contains nearly 2 pounds of snacks ~ 3 times the amount of the Tasting Box. Each box is wrapped in a traditional Japanese Furoshiki wrapping cloth. $38.95/month. If you sign up for a longer subscription, you will save some money. If you are in the USA, it is free shipping. This box does ship international
- Tasting Snakku box, which contains 5-7 expertly curated Japanese snacks, for $15.75, free shipping, USA only.
It comes wrapped in the Furoshiki cloth, which is made from reusable high-grade Japanese washi paper ~ this month is a lavender cloth with what looks like white lily or lotus pads. Snakku sends you a pdf with instructions on how to wrap items with your cloth. To learn more uses for your Furoshiki, Snakku has a blog post on “Unwrapping the Secret Behind The Art of Gift Giving in Japan”
This month’s theme is around three popular fall foods in Japan. Since the info card is hard to read, I will repeat the descriptions here.
This month, we’re featuring the two of the most important ingredients used for thousands of years in Japanese snack-making: matcha green tea and azuki bean paste. We can trace matcha’s origin back to the 800’s, when Buddhist monks first planted tea leaves around the Uji, Kyoto region. Today, that same region of Uji, Kyoto is considered to produce some of the best green tea in the world. Matcha used to only be consumed for special occasions and was made from tea bushes that were over 100 years old. It’s produced by stone grinding Tencha tea leaves grown in the shade. A unique feature of Matcha is that it’s the only tea where the whole tea leaf is consumed rather than just being steeped. It’s quite difficult to get genuine matcha that is made from Japanese green tea leaves, since green tea from Japan only accounts for 7% of the global green tea supply. Of all the tea that is produced in Japan, 95% of that is consumed domestically within Japan and only 5% is exported to other countries.
Azuki or Japanese red bean has been cultivated in Japan since 4000 BCE (even before rice). When Azuki beans are turned into sweet paste, it’s known as “Anko”, “An” or “Ogura”. There are a few different kinds of Anko: Tsubu-an is chunky with whole beans, Koshi-an is a smooth paste and Shiro-an is made using white bean paste and has a milder flavor. Anko is not only delicious but has some health benefits to, as it’s fat free and high in fiber, vitamins and other minerals like potassium
Azuki Sandwich KitKat Azuki toast is a snack from the Chukyo area (around Nagoya) and is a bean paste placed on top of toast and eaten as a sandwich. The sandwich became popular around 1912 and is now available in many cafes around the Tokai region. This is an exclusive KitKat from that region . My verdict: This is better than last month’s KitKat offering ~ I can taste the earthy azuki bean paste and it isn’t that sweet. Even with the milk chocolate layers, this KitKat is not as sweet as I would have expected.
Tea Ogura Manju Manju buns made with the finest green tea leaves from tea coops in Shizuoka prefecture. The manju is filled with sweet red bean paste and tea leaves are hand kneaded into the bun. This snack is only available in Shizuoka My verdict: A bright green matcha tea cake with LOTS of azuki bean paste. This is really full of the paste and the cake is just an afterthought! I love red bean paste – if they sold it in a can, like they do with poppy seed paste, I would just eat it straight out of the can! These buns are one of my favorites this month
Fukkura Okoge Rice grain senbei glazed lightly with soy sauce then baked in a clay kiln My verdict: I love rice crackers and this one has a has a soy -salty taste, maybe fishy? Very crispy and savory and I like these a lot!
Calbee Sapporo Potato Baked crispy snacks made with vegetables from Sapporo in Hokkaido My verdict: I was confused by the description (potato, but then veggies ~ must be more than just potatoes then..) so I looked it up. These potato sticks also contain 9 vegetables ~ Spinach, Carrot, Onion, Tomato, Pumpkin, Molokhia (Nalta Jute), Red Bell Pepper, Red Beet & Parsley. These have a light but crunchy texture ~ think of Cheeto Puffs ~ and their taste is very delicate, not a lot of salt.
Blueberry Candy This candy is made with real blueberries from Japan and is high in β-carotene My verdict: Very sweet, juicy blueberry candies ~ has a soft chewy center under that hard candy coating.
Matcha Azuki Cake Roll A deliciously soft cake made from hand-picked tea leaves from Uji Kyoto, filled with chunky Tsubu-an Azuki beans from Hokkaido. The perfect afternoon snack! My verdict: These cakes come double protected!! Not only with the plastic wrapping in different shades of green, but the cake is wrapped in tin foil ~ this cake roll reminds me of sponge cake ~ a bright green sponge, filled with a reddish-purple bean paste. This is very moist and tasty. Two thumbs up!
Matcha Koala no March A very popular snack in Japan. These koala shaped cookies are filled with delicious matcha chocolate My verdict: I’ve had these before and it has a solid cookie base, like an animal cracker, filled with a dense matcha-chocolate cream filling. Very crunchy and tasty
Kinenishiki Azuki Wafer A very popular snack from the rural prefecture of Tochigi. The sand ground premium rice biscuits are filled with a mildly sweet Azuki bean paste and then baked in a 100 year old clay oven My verdict: These are biscuits with a thick paste – slightly sweet. The texture reminds me of a fig newton, with a chewy cookie and a thick jam-like paste. I really enjoyed these a lot!
Yokan This traditional Japanese snack is a thick, jellied dessert made of red bean paste. Chill it in the fridge, slice in thinner pieces when about to eat it, and enjoy with a cup of warm tea My verdict: YEAH! Just gimmie red bean paste to eat! I did chill this and slice it and yes, it is VERY sweet, but so good. I recommend eating them with an UNSWEETENED cup of black tea.
Matcha Roll Crepe This all natural, organic walnut roll cookie is filled with premium matcha from Kyoto. Make yourself a nice cup of tea to complement this delicious treat My verdict: This is a fairly thin roll – crispy delicate wafer filled with semi-sweet matcha creme filling. This is another winner to my taste buds and this type of cookie reminds me Pepperidge Farms Pirouette roll cookies with hazelnut filling
Every one of the snacks this month were delicious! I still love my rice crackers with soy glaze and the matcha buns and rolls with the fillings of azuki bean paste were so delicious, I wish I had more. As I stated before, Snakku is more expensive than most snack boxes, in fact there are a lot of Japanese snack boxes out there. However, Snakku is superior in my opinion ~ They curate their boxes with a theme, they take pride in selecting local snack makers, their informational cards are chock full of … well.. information! Not to mention the beautiful presentation of the boxes. Whether you get the full size or the Tasting box, you will be very happy with Snakku. I know I am! What did you think of this month’s box?
If you want to subscribe to Snakku, I have an exclusive promo code that will save you 5% off your first box with them ~ use code SNAKKU4ME. Snakku has a shop as well, where you can purchase some of the snacks that they have included in their boxes. But be forewarned, they sell out quickly!!