Monday, May 27, 2013

Kabaya Hello Kitty Pretzel Chocolate カバヤ ハローキティー プレッツェル 『チョコ味』


I once was a huge Hello Kitty fan. Well that is an understatement, I was obsessed. The first time I went to Japan in 2004 I spent probably a thousand dollars or more at Sanrioland in Tokyo buying Hello Kitty character goods. In fact I shipped 17 parcels of Hello Kitty stuff home! Can you believe it? I still have most of those parcels sitting in our shed, the contents in pristine condition. My kitchen cupboards are mostly full of Hello Kitty cups, saucers, plates, bowls and glasses which I hardly ever use but can't bear to part with. My husband has learned not to say anything...he after all comes from the land of Otaku!

So when I opened the box from Oyatsu Cafe and found this box of Hello Kitty Pretzel in there, I immediately felt a fondness for the product, even though as a reviewer, it is my job to be unbiased. This is a stick snack, similar to Pocky, made out of a long thin biscuit with a milk chocolate coating.

It's obviously marketed towards Hello Kitty fans and fans of "kawaii" (cute) with all the hearts and cupcakes on the pack.

Inside the box contains one clear pack of chocolate sticks. They are about a third smaller than the size of a Pocky. The stick smelled like chocolate and strawberry surprisingly, and when I bit into it there was an audible crunch and the biscuit itself had a faint taste of strawberries. I thought I must be dreaming so I asked my husband to taste it too. He confirmed that yes, the pretzel stick tastes like strawberries. The chocolate coating on the outside is so thin as to be non-existent. It really doesn't add much to the flavour unless you eat the whole pack at once and even then it's vague at best.


I wondered why they called this pretzel snack "chocolate flavour" when in fact the dominant flavour is strawberry, and the fact that the pretzel stick tastes like strawberry is not mentioned anywhere on the pack so I'm wondering if it's meant to be a surprise, or just some wacky aspect of the snack.

The chocolate coating on the pretzel was a disappointment, it was too thin to even taste it properly. I really wanted to like this snack because Hello Kitty is on the front but it just didn't live up to what I expect from a pretzel stick. In saying that though, I think these would be ok for kids, especially if you want to limit how much chocolate they are having and the size of the snack.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Meito Puku Puku Tai 名糖ぷくぷくたい『チョコ』



In the previous post I blogged about monaka for the first time. Thanks to Oyatsu Cafe I have another monaka to review, this time in the form of taiyaki which is a traditional Japanese fish-shaped cake usually filled with anko (red bean) or custard.

This is an unusual snack made by Meito which consists of a monaka wafer on the outside and air-in chocolate on the inside. I was lucky enough to have the real deal on my latest trip to Japan but I can imagine that if you are craving taiyaki and you don't live in a place that has them readily available, then this snack would suffice.

Just like the previously posted about monaka, this taiyaki had a satisfying crunch when bitten into. The chocolate inside was like a soft fluffy mousse and had a strong chocolate flavour. The crunchy outer wafer and the soft inside was a very pleasant contrast in the mouth.

My husband breaking it open

My husband and I both enjoyed eating this but like Sakupan Monaka it was over too soon. Probably this is a snack that you just shouldn't share... However Oyatsu Cafe sell these taiyaki snacks in their store for $1.99 so buying more than one at a time is totally feasible and won't damage your hip pocket!

Puku Puku Tai also comes in Strawberry and Cheesecake flavour which both sound delicious. I definitely recommend this snack for it's wacky factor alone, but it also tastes great and it's not expensive, so in my opinion it's a winner!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sakupan Choco Monaka カバヤ さくぱんチョコモナカ 『いちごミルク』

*My apologies to Oyatsu Cafe in getting this review up. Their parcel of goodies arrived just before I left for a 3 week holiday to Japan. Now that I'm back the reviews will start to flow again.

This is the first edition of a series of reviews I will do on snacks sent to me by Oyatsu Cafe (as previously blogged about). The first item that I really wanted to try was this chocolate monaka made by Kabaya. This monaka seems to be based on the same premise as the Saku Saku Panda biscuits, because they use the same character but the whole head makes up the shape of the monaka.

For those of you unfamiliar with monaka it's basically a wafer cookie on the outside and a type of sweet like red bean or custard in the middle, and resembles a kind of sandwich but is a sweet. It's quite popular in Japan to have a red bean (anko) monaka or icecream monaka. (Google monaka in "images" to see some examples).

This monaka however is one-sided. The wafer is on the bottom and the air-in chocolate (very similar to a mousse) is on the top. Unfortunately my monaka melted on the way to me so the face of the panda was distorted.


The flavour written on the wrapper of this product is "strawberry milk" however the air-in chocolate was milk chocolate and strawberry flavours, represented by the brown and pink areas.

The wafer part of this monaka made a satisfying crunch when bitten into and the chocolate was soft and fluffy. The flavour was very strong on both the chocolate and strawberry. My husband also had a couple of bites of this and unfortunately it was over too soon. We would have liked more!

It's a delightful treat, and very cute too. It's easy to eat and comes on a tray inside the package so you can eat it over the top of the tray without making a mess.

I think this snack would appeal to people of all ages from children to adults. Even if you aren't into "cute", the flavours are there and it's a snack that's quite different to anything we can get in Australia.

The Kabaya website states they have two more flavours of this monaka - Chocolate and Strawberry. In all I was very pleased with this snack and would definitely like to try the other two flavours.

Thank you to Oyatsu Cafe for providing this product for review. You can buy this chocolate monaka at their store for $1.99 by following this link.