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Bokksu is a monthly subscription box of Japanese snacks. They include 13-15 more traditional snacks paired with a tea. They focus on curating snacks that are more unique, and the box includes a tasting guide. Shipping is free to the US, and folks in Canada pay $5. They do have plans to expand shipping to other countries. The box ships on the 10th of each month, and you are billed on the 20th for the upcoming month.
Everything arrived nicely packaged and unbroken. I also love the aesthetic of Bokksu, as it’s very clean and striking. The theme this month is “kuro” which means “black.” The info card imagery is gorgeous, by the way. The info card states:
“Due to its geographically isolated history and unique cultural influence, Japan developed color associations that are very different from the West’s. Though “kuro” (black) generally has a negative connotation (i.e., death, evil) in the West, Japanese people have traditionally viewed black in a more positive light. For example, before frock coats were introduced by Europeans in the late 19th century, Japanese people in mourning wore white instead of black. Furthermore, the consider black to be a warming color and thus, believe foods containing black sugar to be healthier than those containing white sugar. This month’s snacks and tea are all deeply associated with “kuro,” whether they be made with black sesame or are black in visual aesthetic.”
The history and connotations regarding color in different cultures is fascinating. There is a great article here about the history of color in Japan. I love this month’s theme! It’s simple, but unique (which is a good way to describe Bokksu too).
Bokksu takes the time to explain the thought behind each box, and the info card also acts as a tasting guide. They walk you through making the tea and the recommendations on how to eat each snack. I also appreciate that Bokksu doesn’t shy away from using Japanese and incorporating cultural/historical information when talking about the theme and included food.
Kuro Warabimochi, by Nakajima Taishodo: This is a treat with a jelly texture made from braken starch. Even though it has “mochi” in it’s name, it has nothing to do with the pounded rice “mochi.” The card recommends eating this chilled, which I did. You sprinkle the included packet of kinako, roasted soybean flour, on top. The smooth, slightly sweet jelly contrasts nicely with the toasty, nutty taste of the kinako. Plus, this treat gets extra points for the beautiful packaging.
Kurohachi Karinto, by Tokyo Karinto: According to the info card, karinto dates back to the early 19th century. It’s basically deep fried pieces of dough, and there’s an extra sweetness from the added black sugar and honey. It’s super crispy and easy to munch on, and I think these would actually go well with a dark roast coffee.
Amanatto, by Tanba No Kurotaro: I got nervous when I saw natto in the name, but these have nothing to do with the fermented natto you may have heard of! These are black beans “stewed in water, simmered in sugar, and dried.” They have the texture of a cooked kidney bean, with just a hint of sweetness. These weren’t my favorite, but my husband really liked them!
Goma Senbei, by Kingodo: This glazed rice cracker features black sesame seeds, called “goma.” My husband and I adore everything black sesame, so these were right up our ally. Super crunchy, these have a nice salty, savory flavor with a bit of toasty-ness from the sesame.
Bake Chocolate, by Morinaga Seika: So. These are amazing. As in, one of my favorite chocolates I’ve tried from Japanese snack boxes. I’ve had other Bake chocolates before, but this particular type is so good! You don’t expect such a rich, dark chocolate flavor and perfect crumbly melt-in-your-mouth texture from a mass produced snack. I hope these aren’t limited edition, because I’m hunting them down next time I’m in Japan! It almost tastes like a combination of a rich brownie and delicate truffle.
Mamena Kuromamecha, by Taerao Seifun: Lastly, we have the tea. It’s made from roasted black beans that are then ground. The instructions were to steep the tea bag for 2 minutes in hot water. (I would not recommend using a glass cup–you could burn yourself. I just did so you can see the tea better in the photo!) This tea smells exactly like a black sesame seed bun I had in Kyoto, and that smell took me right back to that amazing night! I’m not sure why it smelled like that to me, but no complaints here! The tea itself is a dark tan color, and has toasty and slightly bitter notes. I really enjoyed this tea, and it would go well with all of the included snacks. It is particularly good with the sweeter items, like the chocolates and karinto.
Overall, this month had a good balance of flavors and textured centered around the strong “kuro” theme. It was especially fun to try the black bean items. I’m used to black beans being used in salads, Mexican cooking, etc, so it was fun to see them used in a sweet and in a tea. This is one of the more expensive snack boxes, but the uniqueness and quality of the food makes it worth it. These are items that are very difficult to find outside of Japan or to order online.
This month’s box was visually successful as well—the packing and colors were all striking and beautiful. There was a solid variety of sweet and savory treats, as well as a range of flavors. I also really like that Bokksu includes multiples of every snack. I enjoy sharing my subscription boxes, so I appreciate having extras.
You can purchase your box here for $39 per month, with free shipping to the US and $5 shipping to Canada. Use the coupon code “BEEJU” for 10% of your first box!
PR sample. All opinions are my own, and no compensation was received for this review. No affiliate links are in this post.