We tried Bokksu, a monthly subscription box service that sends delicious Japanese snacks you won't find easily in the US
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- One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to understand the food culture of any country is through its snacks.
- Bokksu, a monthly subscription box, delivers the gourmet flavors of Japan straight from centuries-old Japanese snack companies and makers to food lovers all over the world.
- You won't find these curated treats at your local supermarket. By buying from Bokksu, you're not only indulging your craving and curiosity for creative snacks, but also supporting traditional family businesses in Japan.
There are a few types of travelers in this world, differentiated by what they bring back home in their suitcases from the trip.The first prefers not to stuff their bag with material things, instead returning with storage capacity-pushing cameras and phones filled with photos. The second stocks up on knick-knacks and clothes from the local markets and shops. The third is usually the favorite of the bunch, the one you want to be friends with - they bring back all the unique and delicious treats that you can't find in the "International" section of your grocery store.
Danny Taing is that friend. After living in Japan for many years, where he fell in love with the food and the community that formed around it, he returned to the US and was disappointed that he could no longer enjoy his favorite Japanese snacks.
His company, Bokksu, curates monthly boxes of gourmet Japanese snacks sourced directly from artisan makers in Japan. These boxes, which revolve around a different theme each month, have resonated with curious and adventurous palates all over the world. In its first two years of business, Bokksu has sold half a million snacks to customers in over 75 countries.
Taing thinks the popularity of Japanese snacks in particular has to do with the high level of craftsmanship and creative use of ingredients:
Japanese artisans are exceptional at specializing and perfecting their craft, whether it be kimonos, sushi, or snacks.
From traditional wagashi (Japanese desserts) like red bean mochi and black sesame senbei to modern confections like white chocolate butter cookies and castella cakes, Japanese snacks are made using high-quality ingredients that result in rich flavors that can't be found anywhere else. This astounding diversity of sweet, savory, and umami tastes always leaves people wanting more.
People are realizing that disruption inherently destructs traditional industries and real workers' livelihoods. Instead of replacing family businesses that have been perfecting their craft for generations, we intentionally partner with them to elevate their artisanal snacks and teas to the world stage in order to sustain their culture and business.
Over time, Bokksu has created proprietary relationships with more than 55 artisanal Japanese snack makers, some of whom have been making traditional snacks and candy for hundreds of years. And for many of these makers, working with Bokksu meant it was the first time their products had ever been shipped overseas.
If you love food and trying new foods, you'll love Bokksu. I received its July "Citrus Refresh" box (pictured above) to review and it was fun to sample and share each of the citrus-centric snacks. The assortment of crunchy crackers, hard candy, soft cakes, and other treats featured familiar flavors of orange and lemon, the increasingly popular flavor of Yuzu, and relatively unknown flavors of Hyuaganatsu and Shiquasa, two fruits native to Japan. The box was the perfect way to explore familiar and new flavors through the lens of Japanese tastes and textures.
Bokksu offers two types of subscriptions, which both ship for free:
Classic: Contains 20 to 25 Japanese snacks and a tea pairing, and a Tasting Guide detailing each product's story and flavors. It costs $33 to $39 per box depending on which payment plan you choose.
Tasting: Contains 10 to 14 Japanese snacks and a tea pairing and a Tasting Guide detailing each product's story and flavors. It costs $22 to $25 per box depending on which payment plan you choose.
You can also shop a la carte items at the Bokksu Market and stock up on the favorites you can't get enough of.After trying just one Bokksu box, you'll appreciate that Japan takes its snacks seriously. When you can't personally travel to Japan, let the experts at Bokksu fulfill your love for trying delicious, gourmet snacks.
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