One of the nice things about receiving the Skoshbox is that it's given me the chance to try Japanese snacks I've seen but never tried before. If I'm shopping at a store or online, I'll go for the KitKats and Tirol chocolates every time, so it's fun to try things that someone else has picked!
As discussed in my previous post, Skoshbox is a new subscription box for Japanese candy, snacks, and trinkets. I received a promotional box and have been covering the items within, but I'm not affiliated with Skoshbox and did not (nor will I) receive any compensation for the reviews or for anyone who subscribes. Skoshbox $12 a month including shipping, and if you do decide to sign up, you can use the code SNACKLUV04 by July 15th to receive a free mystery snack with your first box! Currently, Skoshbox only ships within the US.
Umaibo is the perfect example of something I've seen in stores many times but never got around to trying. It's a cylindrical puffed corn snack that comes in tons of different flavors, and the mascot looks awfully similar to a certain ear-less cat... The promotional box included Mentai and Cheese flavors. I tried the Mentai first because it sounded more interesting. Mentaiko is marinated fish roe, and the stick did smell just a tad fishy (in a good way).
I don't remember ever eating mentaiko, but the Umaibo certainly tasted like Japanese food. It had the flavors of soy sauce, fish, and onion, with a hint of pepper heat. The coating was quite salty, but still tasty. It was very similar to Cheetos in terms of crunch. I will probably let my husband have the cheese flavor, but I'm curious to see how closely it resembles American cheese puffs.
The Skoshbox also included 2 individually wrapped Morinaga Hi-Chew candies in grape and apple. Hi-Chew does a great job with authentic, juicy fruit flavors, and these were no exception. The product guide included in the box explains that Hi-Chew was designed to be an edible chewing gum, which explains the bouncy, almost rubbery texture and long-lasting chew. Hi-Chew is slowly becoming available in stores in the US, but it's still mostly confined to the East and West coasts.
One of the long-standing candy rivalries (at least in my head) is between M&Ms and Smarties. Preference seems to depend upon home country, and being partial to M&Ms, I'm no exception. Meiji Marble is a similar type of candy, but I'm not sure it's quite in the same league. The texture of the Marble pieces reminded me of Reese's Pieces - thin, crispy shell, and smooth, almost airy chocolate inside. The chocolate wasn't very rich or solid, but it did have a nice, mild cocoa flavor. I loved that a couple pieces had character faces, and it was fun to see a different variety of colors from other similar candies.
Lotte Koala's March is a classic Japanese snack that was available in the US as Koala Yummies when I was a kid in the 1980s. It's a simple chocolate cream filled cookie, and it tastes the same as ever (which is to say it's pretty yummy). The filling is sweet, but the crunchy cookie shell isn't, so it's got a good balance. The only issue I have with Koala's March is that it contains some trans fat, so I keep my consumption to infrequent, small servings like this.
Since I'm probably not going back to Japan in the near future, I'm very tempted to subscribe to Skoshbox for July. I'll finish up the rest of the snacks within the next couple days and keep you posted on my decision! Is anyone else thinking about signing up?