Heading to Tokyo soon? Japan produces some of the most amazing snacks, all wonderfully packaged and mouthwateringly tasty.
Some of my favourites include the Ishiya Shiroi Koibito White Chocolate Biscuits, and Potato Farm Calbee Jaga Pokkuru.
Tip: Most popular specialty goodies can be bought from the Narita Airport or Tokyo Station – my new favourite place to get snacks.
However, if you come across artisanal shops, and the products entice you enough – GET THEM. Also note the expiry dates as many Japanese snacks are freshly produced, don’t use preservatives, and therefore have short expiry dates.
Top 10 Japanese Snacks To Get From Tokyo – Tokyo Banana, Jaga Pokkuru, Shiroi Koibito!
EVERYBODY loves Tokyo Bananas. Half of my friends who go to Tokyo will come with some kind of Tokyo Banana. (My friend Jeanie bought a luggage to contain her boxes, which shows how much it is loved.)
Shaped like a banana, soft-sponged, with a fragrant inner cream. The secret is its rather ‘natural’ banana flavour as the soft banana cream within is made from strained banana puree.
If you are lucky, there are other varieties such as the giraffe-spotted banana caramel custard cream, leopard-print chocolate banana custard, or even Castella Cakes!
Calbee Jaga Pokkuru
These Potato Farm fries are easily my favourite snacks from Hokkaido, and I would always lug back boxes whenever I come back from Japan. This is my watch-TV, feeling-stressed snack.
The Calbee Jaga Pokkuru fries-like chips are made using choice Hokkaido potatoes which are cut without peeling to retain the flavour of the skin, then added with roasted salt produced at Lake Saroma. VERY addictive, crispy and light. You can almost taste those real potato flavours. Comes in convenient packs of 10.
Note: Sometimes they are so popular, the airport gets wiped out of stock. Truly.
Shiroi Koibito 白い恋人
These white chocolate European style cookies are better known as “White Lover” or 白い恋人, one of Hokkaido’s best known and hottest selling snacks since 1976.
If you have yet to try them, it is light Hokkaido butter biscuits with premium white chocolate sandwiched in between, tasting elegantly delicious. There are imitation brands around, but none are as good as this.
Oooooo… this is rich (and best to go with tea). Tri-layer chocolate cookie sandwich, baked crispy, made using high quality cocoa and cacao from France.
The surface is patterned into waves so that the flavour can spread into mouth, and the langue de chat is layered using special made chocolate pillars.
Kamakura Hangetu (Half Moon)
The outer layer taste reminds me of love-letters. This contains a thin wheat layered cracker with a motif of a rabbit in a moon, cream sandwiched in between.
There are flavours of the original bean cream, maccha cream and saesame cream. (I would put them in the fridge before consumption so that the light cream tastes cold.)
Hiyoko, Hiyoko… This adorable chick-shaped snack which was originally created in Kyushu in 1912 got really popular, because it was not often you get a three-dimensional snack shaped like a cute animal.
The pastry shell wraps sweet lima bean paste with a consistency similar to egg yolks. Not my favourite, as I thought the pastry could be softer. Reminds me of eating moon-cakes.
This is the best shrimp cracker ever. Yukari which means “ties and relationships” has the symbolism “linking people, meeting others”.
Each Yukari cracker contains 7 shrimp and is baked thoroughly using the original double-baking method developed during the Edo Era. BUT, I don’t see them at the airport often enough. Takashimaya (both Tokyo and Singapore’s) should carry them, usually at the basement food kiosks.
The Kaminarimon gate of Asakusa temple is one of my favourite photo taking spot in Tokyo for its giant red lanterns set against the blue skies. As you walk along the food streets of Asakusa, you should notice Ningyoyaki being sold, small cakes made from cooking batter of flour, eggs and sugar in an iron mould, filled with sweet red bean paste.
The cakes come in the form of fish, shichifukujin which symbolise good luck, or the lanterns of Kaminarimon gates.
“Baumkuchen” is actually a German word which means “Tree cake” as the characteristic rings that appear when sliced resemble tree rings.
There are many varieties available, or you can get the Tokyo Banana Kuchen Moist – three layered cake of banana, chocolate banana and chocolate flavours. 9 pieces in a box. It is called “moist” for a reason.
Kit Kat in Japan has hundreds of unusual and innovative special edition, tasting different from anywhere in the world, because the Japanese are experimental.
You may find even flavours like Purple Potato, Cinnamon Cookie, European Cheese, Bean Cake and Wasabi, though the common ones at the airport include Uji Matcha (green tea), Waichigo (strawberry), Sakura Matcha (cherry blossom green tea), Hokkaido Azuki (azuki bean) and Rum Raisin Kit Kat.