Japanese Snacks! This month’s theme is… “Snow Covered Rural Japan: Featuring Snacks from Gifu & Nagano”
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. Shipping is free for both USA and International customers and this ships directly from Japan.
- 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 pink cloth with fan design . 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”
Since the info card is hard to read, I will repeat the descriptions here.
Stay Warm With These Wintery Snacks: Winter is one of the best times to visit Japan. It can be a bit chilly, but it’s also one of the most beautiful and exciting times to experience Japanese culture. This month, we feature snacks from two snowy rural areas of Japan where you can really experience traditional Japan at its best: Gifu & Nagano.
Nagano prefecture (長野県) is a snowy, landlocked prefecture in the middle of Japan. It’s surrounded by Japan’s tallest mountains, earning it the nickname “Roof of Japan”. The capital city of Nagano was historically a small temple town centered around the magnificent Zenko-ji temple. In the 12th century, the region became home to many ninja schools after a prominent warrior established the Togakure ninja school (you can still visit the school today, in fact). More recently, Nagano was the host of the 1998 Winter Olympics and is a popular getaway for those who enjoy nature, hiking, skiing, and relaxing at a hot spring. Jigokudani Park in Nagano is the only place in the world where you can see wild monkeys bathing in onsens.
Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県) is located in the center of Japan and has long played an important part as the crossroads of Japan, connecting the east and west side of the country. During warring periods, it was commonly known amongst warlords that, “control Gifu and you control Japan”. Because of its long history, Gifu is home to some of the oldest villages in Japan. The village of Shirakara-go is the only place where you can see centuries old, thatched roof farm houses. The city of Takayama in Gifu, is considered one of Japan’s best preserved old towns. Gifu is also one of the snowiest regions and has some of the best natural onsen hotsprings in Japan!
Salad Hope Lightly salted, crispy rice crackers made with rice from Niigata prefecture. Contains: rice, vegetable oil, salt, bonito extract powder, protein hydrolysate, soy based seasoning My Verdict: These are cute crackers in the shape of a pea pod (imho) that are light, crispy and have a great salted taste. These have bonito flavoring so the taste is more intense than your normal rice crackers. I really like these!
Alfort Simple yet delicious chocolate-covered Japanese-style English biscuit. Contains: chocolate, flour, sugar, whole milk, shortening, cocoa butter, vegetable oil, salt, caramel powder My Verdict: There are two types of these chocolate covered Japanese-style English biscuits – one with a light milk chocolate topping and the other with a darker chocolate topping – I would not say it is dark chocolate as it still tastes pretty milky to me. These are excellent biscuits to have with a cup of coffee!
Apple Sable Cookies Delicately baked cookies made with the famous Shinshu apples from Nagano Contains: eggs, milk, wheat, apple, sugar My Verdict: These don’t look like much, like a biscuit. But once I bit into them, the delicate sweet taste of apples just flooded into my mouth. These are really good and I wish the western world would make an apple cookie like this. It tastes so REAL, not artificial. It was a good thing there were 3 of these in my box ~ I ate them quickly ~ these would be excellent paired with a delicate tea.
Snow Rabbit Manju Adorable Nagano snow rabbit manju infused with Shinshu apple juice and filled with white bean paste. Contains: eggs, milk, wheat, apple juice, bean paste, sugar. My Verdict: These have a very similar taste to the Apple Sable Cookie, but it has a moist white bean filling, surrounded by a soft biscuit. Very light sweet apple flavor – it is light, but at the same time, very tasty. It is also REALLY cute looking ~ with its 2 ears lying flat on its back with a little cottonball tail.
Kinako Candy A popular candy made with Kinako roasted soybean flour and brown sugar. Contains: brown sugar, soy flour, rice oil. My Verdict: I thought these would be hard candies, but they actually aren’t. I mean, they are hard, but they crumble once you put them in your mouth. The taste is wonderful – a burnt sugar, full of caramel. They remind me of the crunchy inners of a Butterfinger, only not as sweet and 110% times better!
Miso Wheat & Miso Ginger Crackers Delicious crackers made with premium Koji rice and homemade miso, then glazed with artisanal soy sauce and either a sugar or ginger topping. These crackers have been made by a small snack maker in the rural Hida region in Gifu for nearly 100 years! Contains: noodle flour, sugar, eggs, miso, wheat starch, ginger My Verdict: Miso Wheat: The taste of these are very light – a crispy wheat cracker with plain sugar icing on top . I really love these rice crackers so much that I purchased a HUGE set of them on Snakku’s site! Miso Ginger: This tastes like a very crispy gingersnap with a light ginger–sugar icing on top ~ there are even little chunks of preserved ginger on the top of the cracker. Very thin, very crispy and very yummy and I like these a lot.
Shrimp Senbei Rice crackers infused with dried shrimp and sea salt from the Sea of Japan. Contains: rice, egg white, starch, shortening, flour, cashew, sugar, shrimp powder, salt, pepper, natural coloring. My Verdict: I am normally not a fan of fishy tasting snacks for some reason, as they just smell like cat food to me. However, these little crispy rice crackers are AMAZING. The shrimp taste is so wonderful – it is like grilled shrimp and no fishy sent to the cracker. I want more of these.
White Birch ChocoCrunch A delicious snack from the snowy city of Nagano. This snack represents the birch forest of Nagano and is made with crumbled, chocolate dipped, gaufre wafers then coated with white chocolate. Contains: flour, sugar, vegetable oil, milk, eggs, whole milk powder, cocoa, cocoa butter, starch, butter. My Verdict: This was one of our spoilers ~ it has a crumbly rich chocolate center ~ a bit moist, a bit crumbly at the same time and is surrounded by a thin layer of white chocolate , to resemble a birch log. This is so pretty and reminds me of chocolate yule logs
Natto Soybean Okaki Popped rice cracker mixed with fermented natto, wrapped in seaweed. Contains: rice, natto, seaweed, vegetable protein, vegetable oil, soy sauce powder, green onions, sugar. My Verdict: First of all, the presentation is so adorable! It is like a mini sushi roll. Very well done ~ this has fermented natto (soybeans) which I do use on my face a lot (haha) but I have never tasted it. this also has popped rice crackers, onion, and soy sauce wrapped in dry seaweed. It actually is not hard, but has a moistness to it which I assume is due to the natto. There is crunch to it, because of the rice crackers. The taste is one of fermented veggie and it is a bit spicy, but not too much. It isn’t a bad taste and I think it is a great seasoning ingredient. I am not sure I could eat it all by itself without rice, veggies and so on, but I do like it in this little treat.
Midori Nobunaga A mini green tea castella cake made by a 60-year-old snack shop, using locally grown premium Mino green tea from the rural Gifu region. Oda Nobunaga (a famous Daimyo warlord in the 15th century) loved green tea and Portuguese castella cakes and helped popularize both throughout Japan. this cake is made to commemorate his two favorite foods! Contains: sugar, margarine, flour, eggs, green tea. My Verdict: It’s Soylent Green!! Hahaha ~ it does look like those cubes, however. This is a matcha tea cake ~ it has a nice chewy texture and I can really taste the green tea ~ this is good with a very sweet and milky tea drink as it isn’t a sweet cake.
Every one of the snacks this month were delicious! The delicate taste of apples in the cookies was outstanding, love the Miso crackers SO much and the savory Shrimp Senbei, Salad Hope and Natto Soybean Okaki were just wonderful. The biggest surprise for me was how much I enjoyed the Kinako candy ~ very tasty. 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!!