Japan is known for a lot of things, but while manga and video games may receive varying degrees of affection depending on who you ask, there is nothing more universally appreciated than good food. And Japan has A LOT of good food.
Whether it’s ramen, sushi or donburi, Japanese cuisine has doubtlessly captivated foodies worldwide.
But how much do you know about Japanese treats? Here are ten delectable Japanese snacks that are guaranteed to make your mouth water.
Mochiis a rice cake dessert made from a special type of Japanese sticky rice called mochigome. Soft, gelatinous and chewy, mochi is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki and eaten around the time of Japanese New Year. The sweet treat comes in a range of shapes, sizes and fillings, with mochi ice cream being a particularly common modern variation.
Through a specially patented process, Japanese confectionery company Echigo Seika has figured out a way to turn the traditionally soft snack into one that’s crispy and puffy. These fluffy balls of mochi are then finished off with a layer of kinako, a powder made by roasting soybeans, giving it a sweet, nutty flavor and an airy texture.
For anyone looking for a snack that tastes great without it being too filling, Kinako Mochi is absolutely the best way to go.
You already know strawberries dipped in chocolate is a magical combination, but leave it to Japanese innovation to take it to the next level: introducing the world’s first chocolate-infused strawberries.
How does it taste, you ask? It literally tastes like someone took a strawberry, took all the water out, and replaced it with chocolate. Which coincidentally, is exactly how these snacks are made. They take fresh organic strawberries, freeze-dries them to remove the water, and then injects them with white chocolate, resulting in a perfect blend of creamy sweetness and fruity tartness. One bite and you’ll be instantly hooked on these white strawberries!
These cute little snacks — named for the Japanese red seabream (or tai) that it’s modeled after — is a variation of a popular Japanese food called taiyaki, a fish-shaped waffle batter cake jammed with red bean paste.
This bite-sized version comes with a lighter wafer coating, and is stuffed instead with a delicious chocolate mousse filling. However, make sure you eat with a plate or a small tray as it’s super easy for crumbs to fly everywhere as you’re eating it. Tai Chocolate pairs very well with tea.
Black Tea Donuts
Tea is one of the mostly widely consumed beverages worldwide, and is often drunk alongside an assortment of baked goods, whether it be a croissant or a bagel.
It’s no surprise, then, that the Japanese — being the masters of innovation (and tea-lovers!) that they are — were the ones to figure out how to make the process easier for everyone by simply putting the two together.
In this case, black tea leaves are infused in the batter, resulting in a tasty fluffy black tea donut with rich tea aromatics.
Takoyaki Corn Puffs
Takoyaki are balls of fried octopus (or tako) drizzled in sauce and peppered with seaweed, onions and bonito flakes (dried fish flakes).
First developed by a street vendor in Osaka, takoyaki has now spread to Japanese restaurants across the globe, and are available everywhere in Japan, from convenience stores to supermarkets to even specialty takoyaki restaurants.
But if that wasn’t enough, you can now carry them around in your bag everywhere you go with these corn puff recreations that perfectly capture their incredible umami flavor.
Suppa Mucho Plum Potato Sticks
STAFF FAVORITE! We had a REALLY hard time trying not to finish these in one go. They are so freak’n ADDICTING! Just imagine a crunchy thing french fry coated with the PERFECT amount of flavor and you’ve got the Suppa Mucho Plum Potato Sticks (try and say that 5 times in a row!).
If you’re looking for an explosive flavor experience, look no further than these plum-seasoned potato sticks, which offer sweet, sour and salty all in one handful of crunchy goodness.
Plums are very popular in Japan, and are often enjoyed dried or pickled, where they are known as umeboshi.
Fried Seaweed with Sudachi
SECOND STAFF FAVORITE! Similarly to the Suppa Mucho Plum Potato Sticks, these Fried Seaweed with Sudachi snacks also offers an explosion of umami in your mouth.
These snacks take the sour profile of sudachi (a citrus fruit native to Japan that’s similar to lemons and limes) and mashes it with the savory taste of fried seaweed, creating a crunchy, highly addictive substitute for potato chips.
Although you’ve probably never heard of sudachi, chances are you’ve actually tried it if you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, as it’s a key ingredient in ponzu sauce, a special Japanese soy sauce.
Goldfish Apple Yokan
Known as yokan, these adorably wrapped jelly snacks are traditionally made from sugar, agar and red bean paste, and sold in block form before being sliced and served. This variation replaces red bean paste with locally sourced apple juice from Aomori Prefecture in Japan, creating a delectably chewy dessert that goes well chilled and with tea.
The crafty goldfish-themed wrapping is a nod to the traditional Japanese festival game of Kingyo Sukui (goldfish scooping), where children use nets, bowls or bags to scoop as many goldfish as they can from a tank.
Matcha Chocolate Covered Azuki Beans
This is probably the closest thing there is to a real-life Senzu bean, and while it won’t heal any broken bones, its sweetness will definitely make you feel all good inside.
To make them, azuki beans are covered in refined sugar, creating a traditional Japanese snack called amanattō, before being dipped in white chocolate and then matcha powder.
Interestingly, the store run by the inventor of amanattō, which opened in 1857, still operates in Tokyo to this day.
Handmade Persimmon Candy
This might just be the perfect fall candy.
Not only does the gorgeous orange color match the changing leaves, it also reflects the fruit its based off of. The rich and subtle flavors of persimmon, a particularly popular fruit in Japan during autumn, are imbued in this delightful sweet.
What’s more, it’s been found that persimmons contain certain properties that help metabolize and remove acetaldehyde, the main chemical cause of hangovers. Although those properties probably aren’t preserved in these persimmon candies, it’s something to keep in mind with holiday season right around the corner.
Before you plan your next trip to Japan just to find these snacks, Bokksu has you covered. For as low as $22 a month, Bokksu will send you a variety of delicious snacks and teas from all over Japan. Use code NS5 to receive $5 off your first subscription!