This month’s theme is Tropical Okinawa! Made up of 100 islands and 130 beaches, Okinawa prefecture is a popular vacation destination in Japan. With everyone else out on summer break while I’m hiding away in lab, I’m excited to enjoy a little tropical vibe myself!
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Bokksu’s packaging always impresses me. The outer cardboard box fits snugly against their signature orange box so there is less chance of damage during shipping, and there is a white satin ribbon to help you lift it out – no dumping required!
And of course, the beautiful and sturdy box! I have quite a collection of these, and I’ve been using them to store makeup and skincare samples from other boxes. They’re very durable and look nice enough to display.
Okinawa! Because of its location in southern Japan, Okinawa has beautiful beaches and an ideal climate for exotic fruits. Two of their top exports, kokuto and pineapple, are featured heavily in this box. There is even a pineapple park in Okinawa where you can go to see them grow! I feel like I need to plan a trip there soon – I love all things pineapple.
Bokksu recently changed their info card format to a tri fold, with more space for interesting facts about the theme. The little guy in the picture is a shisa, a lion dog who guards Okinawa and is represented prominently in Okinawan mythology.
The majority of the tri fold is devoted to factoids about the featured snacks, with important allergy information included.
Beni Imo Milk Manju
Manju are a classic Japanese snack that has a cake-like exterior and is stuffed with a sweet paste. Instead of the traditional red bean, these manju are filled with a paste made from beni imo, a purple yam native to Okinawa. They certainly have that yam-like taste that I’m familiar with – a little nutty and starchy. They’re less sweet than red bean manju, and the outside wasn’t dry at all. Sidenote: I’m always impressed by the quality of these snacks. Even though they’re coming from overseas and Bokksu includes a lot of pastries, they’re never dry or stale!
Yessss, pineapple! These cookies are filled with sweet Okinawan pineapple paste, and I’m loving them. They’re a little chewy, kind of like a really soft Fig Newton, with a shortbread-like exterior. They have the perfect amount of sweetness from the pineapple and butteryness from the cookie. These are delicious, and remind me of Taiwanese pineapple cakes.
Pineapple Stick Cake
These reminded me of the cheesecake sticks Bokksu sent in their April Box, and I got so excited for a minute. They are a little similar in appearance and sweetness. These are only available from June to August, so definitely fresh and authentic! The cake tasted like fresh sweet pineapple, but a little more dessert-like rather than the juicy sweetness of the batake. I wish it was a little more moist (look at how it sticks to the wrapper – I thought it would be juice-soaked!), but it was by no means dry.
Anly’s Chira Wich (Brown Sugar and Rum Raisin)
Okay, so based on my google research, kokuto is a brown sugar produced by Okinawa that is healthier than regular brown sugar. It’s full of potassium and iron and calcium (from the sea), and has a variety of health benefits. So don’t feel bad about eating these amazing cookies, because they’re made with healthy ingredients! (I’m kidding, obviously sugar should be enjoyed in moderation, but at least this sugar is less harmful.) These cookies have a buttery-caramel crumbly exterior, and the inside has a creamy brown sugar filling with real rum raisins mixed in. I tried to get a picture of the inside, but the cookie was so crispy that the minute I cut into it I got crumbs everywhere (including into the creamy filling so you couldn’t see it) and it became super messy.
Brown Sugar Okinawa Chinsuko
I was a little delirious from hunger when I unwrapped this box after work one day, and I could not stop laughing at this mascot. Is it a cow? He’s so happy!
Anyway, inside of this little guy are a series of kokuto cookies. These chinsuko cookies are famous in Okinawa – visitors usually bring them back as souvenirs (omiyage) after their trips! They’re kind of like a crumbly shortbread with a rich brown sugar flavor. They are delicious! Somehow the brown sugar makes it sweet without being overly sugary-sweet, if that makes sense. It’s like a deep sweetness that isn’t cloying and doesn’t leave your mouth feeling sickly.
Brown Sugar Karinto Doughnuts
I love all things doughnut, even when they look like… this. But never judge a book by its cover, because these deep-fried dough sticks are delicious. They have a crispy crunchy outside from the frying, but they’re soft and moist on the inside. They’re flavored with kokuto and even have a layer of brown sugar coating. To be honest, I thought it was chocolate flavored at first, that’s how rich the sweetness is. But it might be (dare I say it) better than chocolate!
Okinawa Soba (on the right)
These are little deep-fried soba pieces that have been tossed in red pepper. And oh my god, they are addicting. They’re like little crispy noodles (sort of like how people snack on uncooked ramen noodles) with a kick of heat from the pepper and the perfect amount of salt. I forced myself to slow down on these because I almost ate the whole package in one go. Soba noodles are not my favorite (although I will never say no to them), but this definitely bumped them up in my noodle rankings.
Okinawa Salt Cheese Cookie (on the left)
Wait hold up. I tried one of these before I read the information card, and after seeing that they were “salt and cheese,” I had to go back and eat another one because that is not what I would have guessed at first.
Again, these have a beautiful buttery shortbread texture, and if you didn’t tell me it was salt and cheese I would have thought it was just a delicious sweet cookie. But now that I’m looking for it, I don’t know how I missed the delicate cheesiness. It’s not a straight up cheddar-cheese flavor, more like the sweet hint of cheese you get from a cheesecake. The salt really brings it out and balances it nicely. I’m so fascinated by how they made a sweet cookie from savory ingredients!
Mugicha Barley Tea
I’m so glad Bokksu included a cold-brew tea for these hot summer months! I’m not a big tea drinker, but I love iced tea. This traditional tea has a nutty flavor from the barley, but it’s still refreshing. I’m used to pairing it with spicy food at Korean restaurants, but it balances nicely with the sweet snacks in this box as well. I like my tea stronger, so I let this steep for longer than the recommended one hour, and it developed a deeper roasted flavor that I really liked. Plus it’s caffeine-free, so it’s great to enjoy at sunset on the deck!
Overall, I think Bokksu knocked it out of the park again. I could have done with more pineapple snacks, but I can’t think of anything I would have liked to replace, so I guess I just wanted more and that means Bokksu succeeded, right? I love that I also got to try kokuto; at first I thought brown sugar snacks might be too cloying for the summer months when I usually want something refreshing, but I was definitely wrong. My favorite this month is a four way tie between the fried soba noodles (so addicting!), the salt and cheese cookies, the rum raisin cookies, and the pineapple manju. I couldn’t pick!
PR sample. All opinions are my own. No compensation was received for this review. This post contains affiliate links.