Showing posts with label Azuki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Azuki. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Meiji Matcha Azuki Chocolate 明治抹茶小豆チョコレート


When I saw these at napaJapan I knew I had to buy them. Two of my most Favourite Japanese flavours! How could I resist? 

The box is quite small, but it is attractive. A black background with pink and green and images of chocolate covered azuki. 

The chocolates are contained in a small foil bag which keeps them fresh. There were around 20 small beans, they reminded me of peas. 

(Please note: discoloration is from the chocolate melting in transit)

My 4 year old son loves matcha but not so much azuki, so I was surprised when he ate 3 of them and came back for more. My husband and I both loved them too. It was the perfect pairing. Just the right amount of chocolate to bean, and a traditional pairing, so how could anything go wrong.

This felt like dessert and satisfied a craving for Japanese sweets. I know that I will go back to buy more of these!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Skoshbox Review

I was delighted recently to find an email in my inbox asking me if I would like to receive a box of Japanese goodies from a new subscription service in the US called Skoshbox.

Skoshbox is a company founded by two close friends from childhood who have lived in both Japan and the US throughout their lives. Raised by Japanese mothers and brought up on Japanese snacks, video games, and comfort food, they noticed a severe lack of variety and accessibility to affordable Japanese items in the US. Out of this they created Skoshbox - a monthly subscription service that will deliver a variety of new and quircky snacks to your doorstep.

They hand pick every item that goes into the box, because it is important to them that each item reflects the Japan they know and love so much.

The subscription service is priced at $12 which includes shipping. At the moment it is available within the US only, but according to their Facebook page, they are working on bringing Skoshbox to the international community as well.

For my readers who live in the US I have a special promo code that you can use at checkout which will entitle you to a FREE mystery snack included in your box. Just type the code TASTYJP05.
The code is valid until July 15th 2013 which is the cut-off date for ordering the first box. (Unfortunately because I live in Australia, my parcel took quite a while to arrive so my readers will have less time to use the code.)

I've looked for information on the website and Facebook page as to why Skoshbox is named that. Where did the name come from? I can't find any info but I can only assume it comes from the Japanese word "sukoshi" - meaning "a little bit" because the parcel that came in the mail was filled with lots of little bits and pieces.

When I opened the box, I noticed that it was very professionally packed. There was a postcard that greeted me, which had all the snacks listed on the other side in English. The white tissue paper wrapped around the snacks was a nice touch and it made it feel like I was getting a gift.

Even though the parcel was quite small, it was filled to the brim with a variety of snacks which gave me the feeling of receiving a lot. I knew all the snacks in the box, they are my husband's childhood favourites.

The one thing I observed though is that if you can't read Japanese, then you wouldn't know what snack is which, just by reading the postcard alone. In my opinion, the postcard needs an image of the snack next to each listing. Otherwise, customers will have to find out purely by a process of elimination. 

There was a total of 14 items in the box. 13 of which were edible. When my Japanese husband saw what was in the box he exclaimed "natsukashii" (nostalgic) because these are the snacks he grew up eating, and some of them he still eats now, even though we are in Australia.

My husband and 2 year old son joined me for this review, purely because we all love Japanese snacks and they were hanging around watching me so I had to invite them to join. ;)

We started off with the Senbei (rice cracker) which was soy sauce flavour. There were two crackers in the pack and they are supposed to be "soft" senbei (easy to bite into), but they were quite hard. I thought maybe they were a bit stale. The soy sauce flavour was hard to detect, my husband and I first thought that it was salt or salad flavour because we could only smell the soy sauce. The cracker itself was quite salty. None of us were very big fans of this senbei sadly.

Kaki no Tane
There were two small packs of Kakipi, and my husband and I had one pack each since my son has a nut allergy. We both felt there were too many peanuts in the pack. Usually (and this is just personal preference) we like to eat 2 or 3 hot crackers with one peanut, but each pack seemed to have a high ratio of peanuts to crackers, meaning when we had finished the crackers there were still peanuts left. If we ate the crackers and peanuts together, then the spiciness of the crackers was mellowed out by the peanuts.

Marble Chocolate
The packaging was very cute and my son made a grab for it straight away. We all liked the crispy shell and the chocolate inside had a very strong cocoa flavour. Some of the chocolates had a picture of a cow on the outside so we felt lucky, because they are rare.


Koala's March
The outside of this packet is also very cute and shows pictures of Koala's that may show up in your pack indicating you are "lucky". Unfortunately I got no such characters, or if I did, I couldn't tell because the insides were broken. This happens sometimes and because it came such a long way, it can't be helped. We found that the shell was very crunchy and nice but the chocolate had an odd flavour, like it was old. My son made a swipe for this packet too!

Umaibo Cheese
Umaibo is a long tubular corn snack, similar to what Aussies would know of as a "Cheezel" but sweeter. This was broken into 4 pieces inside the pack but I have found them to be somewhat fragile in the past, so it's no wonder. It's probably not a good snack to send internationally because it is easy to break. The flavour was quite cheesy but it also had a sweetness that Western savoury snacks don't have. We all enjoyed this one!


 Umaibo Mentaiko (Fish Roe)
I have to admit, I am not a fan of seafood, but my husband loves mentaiko. I was not looking forward to trying it but was pleasantly surprised. There wasn't too much seafood smell or flavour and to me this could have been bbq for all I knew. We all liked it but preferred the cheese. My son chomped the last half of the stick all by himself!

Haichu Strawberry
How to split this candy three ways was our difficulty, however we managed and liked it. It was very mini indeed, I would have liked a couple of each flavour in the box. The strawberry flavour was very light. The candy was very chewy and stuck to my teeth.


Haichu Melon
This was green and white in colour and tasted like rock melon. The flavour was very strong and reminded us what we love about Japan. All three of us wanted more of melon Haichu. It was a very pleasant candy to eat.


Look Chocolate Matcha Azuki
We all like the combination of Matcha (green tea) and Azuki (red bean) so we expected great things from this chocolate. The matcha flavour was strong, rich and quite sweet, but we couldn't taste any azuki which is a real shame. I preferred this chocolate out of the two flavours.

Look Chocolate Matcha Milk
The "milk" inside this chocolate was clear and stringy, unlike the image on the box of a white creamy liquid. However, I could taste a creaminess which I imagined was the milk. The matcha in this chocolate was not as strong as with the azuki which I didn't like but my husband loved. My son devoured both chocolates and seemed to love them both equally...he would have had another box of them if he could!! ;)


Besides Tirol, Chocoball is my husbands favourite snack ever. He loves the combination of peanuts and chocolate. I expected him to love this as it's the original version of chocoball. However he told me that the flavour of this mini pack was different to the normal box of original Chocoball and he thinks that the layer of chocolate is thinner. I liked the crunchiness of the toffee and coating inside, and the flavour of the dark chocolate on the outside, but I too noticed something different but I couldn't work out what it was. The only thing I could say is that these small snacks seem like they come from a share-pack so they could have been modified a little bit for that purpose.


Orange Bubble Gum
Bubble gum is not something I eat a lot of, so I have no real expertise in this area. I am familiar with this gum mainly because I see it for sale at oriental supermarkets in my city. This was my first time trying it, and sadly will be my last. The orange flavour was strong and it burned my tongue. Both sides of my tongue were on fire while eating this and afterwards I had acid indigestion. I can only assume that whatever chemical used in this gum just doesn't agree with me. It is a cheap and nasty addition to Skoshbox and I would recommend they leave it out in future.

Milk Hardcandy
There was only one of these candies so I got to have it to myself. I was glad I did because it was so creamy and tasted very milky. It was really hard so it lasted a long time. I wished there were more of these candies in the box!!

Air-in Eraser
I thought it was kind of strange to put an eraser in a box of candy from Japan. I know that Japan is popular with geeks and they must like using mechanical pens and erasers. But for the rest of us who aren't students, what will we do with an eraser? If it has to be an eraser, I would prefer something more "Japanese" such as one of those cute erasers that look like a bowl of ramen or a sushi roll. Otherwise I would have liked to see a cultural item such as some chocolate in the shape of 5 yen coins or a phone strap, or maybe even a sushi keyring.

I really like the idea of Skoshbox but I thought the contents were somewhat hit and miss. I guess being a seasoned snack reviewer and regular consumer of Japanese snacks, the contents of the box feel a bit "meh" to me, but to someone who is just getting to know Japan, this would be a great introduction.

It's also really good for those who like getting parcels every month, it feels a bit like getting a gift in the mail, especially because it is packaged so beautifully. Skoshbox is the kind of thing I would have liked when I was in high school and just starting to learn Japanese. I feel that it is marketed towards Japanophiles who have an avid interest in everything Japan. My husband said that if he was missing Japanese snacks and he couldn't buy them in his area then he would buy a Skoshbox every month. I guess for Japanese people away from home, this could even help cure homesickness.

On the Skoshbox website you can see what is in each month's box before it is delivered to you. I will be interested to see what comes out each month, and even more so when Skoshbox go international. Who knows? I might even buy one myself. :)

How you can find Skoshbox
- Website:
- Facebook:

Here are some other reviews of Skoshbox










**The Skoshbox reviewed here was shipped to me for free by Skoshbox and reviewed honestly and fairly. At the time of writing Skoshbox do not ship internationally but it seems like this might change in future.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Imuraya Azuki Bar 井村屋あずきバー


It's quite warm tonight so for dessert I'm having this Azuki Bar by a company called Imuraya.

I picked it up at the Japanese supermarket for 99 cents on sale.

I thought it was going to be an icecream bar containing Azuki (read bean) but its not. Basically it's Azuki purée and bits of beans stuck on a pop stick. It does taste yum and very authentic, but I'm not so sure about the texture as red bean blended has a strange texture and then there are lumps of beans poking out too.

It's a different dessert and one I'm sure an Azuki lover would quite enjoy, but for me I can't get past the odd texture and it made me really thirsty too.

I probably wouldn't buy it again but I'm happy to have at least tried it. For the record I do really like Azuki, I'm just not so in love with this bar.

Friday, August 7, 2009

栗入りどら焼き (Sweet red bean and chestnut filled pancakes)

I found these were half price at the local Japanese supermarket and snapped them up.

They are what the Japanese call "dorayaki", small round pancakes filled with red bean, soy bean or chestnut paste. There are 5 individally wrapped cakes in a plastic tray inside the bag.

These have red bean paste and little bits of crushed chestnuts poking through.

The pancake itself is dark brown and when broken in half is quite thick, but you can also see the air bubbles of where the cake has risen, so it's nice and fluffy. The filling is really generous too and is the right amount of paste to cake ratio.

The cake was dry enough but not too dry, so that with the bean together as a sandwich it became a nice moist texture without being too sloppy. The main taste of this dorayaki is red bean, and only by biting down on a piece of chestnut or actually picking out a piece and eating it, can I really taste it in there.

This was great for me as I'm not a huge chestnut fan but I love azuki, so it was nice to try something a little bit different for me while being within my comfort zone.

These were great served with a cup of tea, my husband and I really enjoyed them. It was a nice sweet without being overly sweet.

The maker - Marukyo - make other such dorayaki treats that I have also seen around, so maybe I will try another type from them next time.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hokkaido Azuki Apollo

This Hokkaido Azuki Apollo was a limited release, along with other flavours like Muscat, and Peach.

On one side of this box is a photo image of Clark, as in "boys be ambitious". The other side is a normal Apollo box with a square stamp on the top showing the product is from Hokkaido.

The Area of Tokachi in Hokkaido is well known for the tasty Azuki they produce. The fact that this Apollo is made from those Azuki is meant to make this all the more attractive to Azuki consumers.

The box is the regular size and holds 22 pieces inside. They are contained only in the box without other packaging, and because of that I think that the pieces look abit rustic. As in, they have rubbed together and been thrown around in the box, so they are somewhat dusty with bits of chocolate.

The colour is somewhat different than I expected. I thought it would be a dusky rose colour on top and brown on the bottom (though the box has a picture of a light pink on top, brown on the bottom). In actual fact, the chocolate is light brown on the top with flecks of darker brown, with a dark brown chocolate on the bottom.

The smell when I opened the box was similar to that of the Oshiruko Kit Kat. However, when I pop one into my mouth, the taste is a fully flavoured Azuki bean, and the texture is exactly the same as if I popped a spoonful of Azuki beans in my mouth. You know that crushed up texture of Azuki, it's very hard to describe. The chocolate at the bottom is very lightly there, and is a very good match for the Azuki that takes centre stage.

I loved this version of Apollo, it was fantastic and tasted great, and very true to Azuki. The chocolate was a very good combination, offering a slight bitterness at the end to offset the sweetness.

If you see these I recommend you pick up a pack, you won't regret it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oshiruko Kit Kat


I've read quite a few reviews on the internet about this Kit Kat and most of them said they hated the taste and smell.

I mainly bought this Kit Kat for Yasu as he is such a big fan of Azuki, and Oshiruko in general.

I am also a bit of a fan of Azuki flavoured snacks.

Oshiruko is a traditional Japanese red bean soup served in a bowl with rice cakes. It is truly yum.

The Oshiruko Kit Kat is milk chocolate on the outside, which is a nice change. I had expected it to be azuki colour.

From the milk chocolate you can smell the earthy scent of the beans. I have been to Azuki farms in Hokkaido, so I am familiar with that earthy scent, that some people mistake for an almost rotten smell. Some people just can't stand the smell, but I love it!

The chocolate is quite soft and melts easily. Underneath the earthy smell is a kind of roasted smell of the beans. The scent itself has depth, which is great.

The milk chocolate has a texture, just like the red bean soup. It's like red bean has been ground and added to the milk chocolate, then poured on the wafers. This is truly delicious.

There is red bean paste in between the wafers, just a small amount, but just enough to alight a deeper flavour of Oshiruko in my mouth.

The end note is a roasted bean flavour, followed by the sweetness of Azuki. Oh, this is heaven. I have really enjoyed this. The depth of the flavour reminds me of being in Tokachi, at the Azuki farm.

I am in love with this Kit Kat. It's probably my favourite of all time. Yasu also really enjoyed this one and said it was true to taste, and that it's also his favourite.

Maybe it takes diehard Azuki fans to appreciate this chocolate, and also I think If you have never been to an Azuki farm, you might not know what that smell is, and associate it with something awful, so that's why I think alot of tasters on the net, had trouble with this Kit Kat.

As of now I'm searching on eBay for more of these....