Japanese snacks! I love them because they are always so interesting and so high-quality, but I also hate them because I can’t stop myself from, well, snacking. I know, it’s such a dilemma lol. Whenever I go on trips to Japan, I always go home with a suitcase twice as heavy, filled with snacks and food items. Literally half my suitcase would be empty when I leave, and they’d be close to popping when I come home. It’s insane, but I love it lol. Eye-catching packaging aside, they manage to come up with these interesting concepts and flavors that I never see anywhere else. Stuff like that are always a foodie’s weakness.
And I’m not just talking about the sweet Japanese snacks like Kit-Kat and Pocky. There’s coffee and chocolates as well. Even cereal! I simply cannot stop myself from feeling curious about Japanese food products. I honestly have no idea if you guys enjoy these kinds of posts, but I figured since I am already on Volume 5 and nobody has ever commented negatively on these posts, I’ll just keep on making them for as long as there are snacks to try!
Nama Chocolates from New Chitose Airport
Royce gets a category all on its own! This is the one thing I never leave Japan without because these Nama Chocolate Truffles are so legit! Though available in all major airports in Japan, the home-base of Royce is in Hokkaido, which is why you will see quite a lot of limited edition Nama Chocolates here.
At the New Chitose Airport, where you’re likely to make your arrival, make your way to the Royce Chocolate World to see the complete lineup of Royce Chocolate products. If you’re a Royce fan, it will blow your mind. They even have a Royce Bakery here.
As a superfan of Nama Chocolates, my attention was completely capture by these unique chocolates in their refrigerated display case. It was so hard for me to not go overboard picking the limited edition chocolates because I wanted to try them all, but one of my major considerations was the fact that I mostly only enjoy chocolates containing 60% and above cacao. I ended up buying a bunch of their liquor-infused dark chocolate, and then some of the white chocolate-based special flavors as well.
Thankfully, because Royce Nama Chocolates are great quality, the white chocolate they use for their truffles isn’t the cloyingly sweet kind. It slides down the throat nicely. I got the passionfruit, orange & mango, and Hokkaido sweet corn flavors for the white chocolate truffles. They were sweet, but some of the flavors were subtler than others. The sweet corn in particular would’ve benefitted more from additional corn flavor. I did enjoy the fruit-based ones though. Still, the liquor-infused chocolates are where it’s at!
Funny story about these truffles: During the blackout following the earthquake, I was so worried these wouldn’t survive for long. And I had bought a lot lol. My cousins and I were all worried that we had wasted a lot of money buying these chocolate, but somehow our hauls managed to make it until the electricity was restored!
Supermarket & Hokkaido Limited
If you’re thinking of buying Japanese snacks, the supermarket and Don Quijote are the two places you NEED to visit. The supermarket will probably have more variety of the staples, such as cereals and coffee, but Don Quijote will have more of the Hokkaido limited products. Souvenir shops along the Tanukikoji Shopping Street are also your best bet if you want to exclusively buy Hokkaido-limited food products.
These biscuits were hauled from Don Quijote, and I just really want to put the spotlight on Pocky for a little bit here. It seems that each and every time I go to Japan, Pocky comes up with a flavor I have never seen before. And like a fool I am compelled to buy it lol. This Pocky W flavor is like a premium Pocky, where the cookies are raspberry flavored and the chocolate coating is a higher grade of chocolate. OH MY GOSH IT WAS SO GOOD.
Also, I’ve never cared for Meiji Apollo before. The normal ones are too sweet for me. But ever since tasting the RICH Strawberry Apollo, I became convinced that the other versions are worth a buy. I normally would ignore anything white chocolate, but the Hokkaido-Limited label beckoned. My verdict? The strawberry center is the best part about this chocolate, but the RICH Strawberry Apollo is still tastier. Buy that one if you can. (The Half Cut Strawberry Chocolate is good though.)
Here are two other special Sapporo chocolates you can buy. I think the Hori Corn Chocolate is now available in major Japanese airports, but the Sapporo Classic Beer Jelly Chocolate you can only purchase in the Sapporo Beer Garden. I got it out of curiosity, but it was rather underwhelming for me. The chocolate coating was too sweet and the beer flavor got lost in all that. As for the Corn Chocolate, the HORI brand is the best I have tried so far, but you will probably only appreciate it if you like the sweet corn flavor. I was totally into how prominent the sweet corn taste was in these.
There are a bunch of other things you can buy, like various rice cracker snacks and candies. I personally super love sour candies so I am always buying these Fettuccine Gummies, but the Nobel Super Lemon Candy was a surprise. The candy starts out SUPER sour and salty at the same time, like a punch in the face, and then it mellows down in to a pleasant lemon flavor. It’s definitely not for everyone lol.
Now let’s proceed to my number one favorite thing to buy in Japan: DRIP COFFEE. My favorite for sure is Key Coffee’s DRIP ON coffees. The premium label really comes through! The UCC one is also pretty good, though not as good as Key Coffee, in my opinion. I also never leave Japan without Key Coffee safely tucked in my luggage. Another thing I don’t go home without? Ito-en’s Matcha Breen Tea with Roasted Rice. BEST TEA EVER.
Here are the contents of the UCC Drip Coffee pack I bought. There are various kinds but I always go for the assorted packs because I like variety so I can drink a specific blend depending on my mood.
What I love about these drip coffee packs from UCC is how they don’t hang INSIDE the cup, but rather right above the rim of the cup. It allows the water to completely and properly drip down into the cup. Usually, the bag with the beans hangs inside the mug, and once you pour enough water to reach the halfway point, the bags will be sitting inside the water. You’d have to pick it up and let it drip completely while holding the bag. It’s a minor hassle, but it’s solved by UCC’s particular design. Just wanted to show my appreciation for it.
Even though Key Coffee doesn’t have the same genius bag design that UCC has, I love this coffee brand best of all. My favorite from this assorted bag are the TOARCO Coffees. They smell and taste so good! For the record, all the other blends are good, but the Toarco coffees just have these nuances that set them apart.
Key Coffee’s bags have these hard carton wings. You have to press down the folds to create these sturdy wings to hang your coffee bags with. Normal drip coffees just use these thin cardboard wings that sometimes break even before you’re done with the process of adding water. This design eliminates that risk. The bags do hang inside the cup though.
I bought these BLENDY Concentrated Instant Ice Coffee & Matcha Capsules out of curiosity. They are a thick syrup you mix in with milk. I think these will work better in kakigori shaved ice rather than an actual drink because I didn’t like the sweet and slightly syrupy aftertaste I got from these. That may just be the natural reaction of someone who likes to drink coffee black without anything added in.
Another of my favorite things to buy from Japan are Calbee fruit granolas. SO MANY FLAVORS. I think I’ve tried at least 8 already. Some flavors are sweeter than others, but my favorite flavor is that red one one the far left. Along with oats and puffed brown rice, it contains dried strawberries, papaya, raisins, and plenty of seeds and nuts as well. On the opposite side in white packaging is the 25% less sugar cereal, which is a less sweet version of the red one.
There are so many things to buy from the supermarket and Don Quijote, but I recommend these Calbee fruit granolas and the drip coffees most.
My Otaru haul consists mainly of Le Tao products. I was unfortunate that they were not in full production at the time we were there. Thanks to the earthquake once again! My Dad who went to Otaru a few months after me managed to buy a lot of Le Tao products that I did not even see when I was there. In any case, here are my recommendations. The Otaru Rue Ironai Fromage is similar to the Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory’s langue de chat cookies, but these ones are round, less sweet, but also with less nuances in the cheese filling.
For a good hit of cheese though, the Biscuit au Fromage is the way to go! The cheese indicated on the box is exactly what you can expect from these butter cookies. These are seasonal products though. A new favorite of mine from Le Tao however is The Noir. Basically also langue de chat but a chocolate version infused with Darjeeling tea. It’s not too sweet, and you can smell as well as sense the tea. SO GOOD.
One of the most delicious things you can buy from Le Tao is definitely their Double Fromage Cheesecake. Creamy and smooth and absolutely dreamy to eat! They occasionally have limited edition flavors like this melon one I got, but the classics are also excellent. The Matcha Cheesecake is great too. The good news is you can get these cheesecakes from major airports in Japan. Not just Otaru.
Another really cute and giftable product from Le Tao are these Petit Chocolat. On the right are Chocolate-Covered Almonds, and on the left are White Chocolate-Covered Freeze-Dried Strawberries. The tins contain just a few pieces of chocolate, but you can tell the ingredients used are topnotch. Not necessarily something I’m raring to repeatedly purchase though.
Another Otaru favorite are these Marusei Butter cookies, which is like a Japanese version of rum raisin cookies. Thick butter cookies sandwich a thick layer of filling made with white chocolate, butter made from 100% Hokkaido milk, and raisins. It has a unique aftertaste that’s sweet but also a little sour, and this strange sensation akin to liquor. That’s why I said it reminds me of rum raisin. I was surprised by how heavy this box was when I picked it up. I can’t seem to find my photo of the cookies out of the package, but you can check it out here.
And that’s it! Can’t believe I managed to make a post about Japanese snacks to be THIS long lol. I didn’t include prices for the products because they’ve probably gone up ever since Japan announced an increase in their consumption tax. I hope you guys find some interesting things from this list to buy on your future trip to Hokkaido. You can read my first Sapporo Snack Haul here.
Other posts from my Summer in Sapporo 2018 Series:
- Sapporo 2018 Earthquake Diary
- Food-hopping in Sapporo, Summer 2018 Edition
- Finding zen at the Hokkaido Shrine
- Sumio Goto Museum, Blue Pond, & Shikisai No Oka Tour with Chuo Bus
- 10 Fun Things To Do on a Day Trip to Otaru