Eat or Retreat, Product Reviews, Traveling

February 2017 Japanese Snack Haul from Sapporo [Vol. 3]

Treats Cover - February 2017 Japanese Snack Haul from Sapporo [Vol. 3]

Another trip, another snack haul! In case you didn’t know, getting to haul packaged foods like these from Japan and South Korea is one of the things that excites me the most about traveling there. Asian snacks are THE BEST! From the lovely packaging alone you already feel the anticipation to tear it open and dig in!

After visits to Japan in particular, I seem to always come home with an inordinate amount of sweets. I love going to Don Quijote’s food section to hoard Japanese snacks like Pocky in all sorts of flavours. Souvenir shops in different tourist locations also tend to offer unique or special edition snacks you can’t find anywhere else. Today I’m going to review the Japanese snacks from Sapporo that I managed to haul, so let’s start with the few savouries I got:

1. Daihachi Pistachio Crunch
Price & Packaging: ¥1,180 for a big bag of 280 grams
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo

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My family loves these Pistachio Crunch snacks (on the left). I had been careless when I grabbed these from the shelf, meaning to get the wasabi variant but ending up with the original ones instead.

The green crunchy shells of these are a little on the sweet side, and while they are pretty good, my brothers and I prefer the wasabi flavour. Still a great option for those who dislike wasabi (like my Dad) or anything spicy in general. You can’t stop snacking at just one pack I tell ya!

2. Denroku Taste of Hokkaido Mixed Japanese Rice Cracker Snacks
Price & Packaging: ¥598 for a pack of 14
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo

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One of my favourite Japanese snacks of life! This 14-pack contains two types of mixed snacks: the red one primarily containing various types of rice crackers, while the black one also has some dried anchovies and spicy nuts in them.

Personally I really like the black one more just because of the variety of its contents, but both are yummy. If you don’t know what to get your family and friends who don’t like sweets, this one is sure to please. But maybe you’ll end up hoarding them for yourself like I do. Shhhh…

3. Secoma Wasabi Rice Cracker Chips
Price & Packaging: ¥100 per pack
Where I got it: Seicomart Convenience Store (only in Hokkaido!)

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Okay, I have no idea what this is actually called, but I’ll just name it like this. 😉 This brand can only be found in the convenience stores in Hokkaido called Seicomart, and it was by pure accident that I discovered this.

These super light and crunchy rice crackers in longish finger-like shapes will likely be enjoyed by wasabi-lovers only. If you stuff several pieces into your mouth at the same time, you will definitely get that wasabi-spice sensation that’s reminiscent of a brain-freeze. As far as wasabi flavoured snacks go, this is legit.

4. Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory Sandwich Cookies
Price & Packaging: ¥850 for Porcini & Gouda flavour; ¥700 for Salt & Camambert Flavour; ¥850 for Honey Gorgonzola Flavour
Where I got them: TIAT Tokyo Souvenir Shop in Haneda Airport

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When I spotted these at the airport, I had a little moment: In my imagination, there was an angelic light shining upon the display of these cookies while the church choir sang lol! 😆 See, these cookies are selling in Manila for an outrageous price and I just could not get myself to buy into them. I had been hoping that I would spot them at the airport in Japan, and voila! *happy dance*

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These are hands-down the best version of the langue de chat cookie sandwich I’ve ever eaten. The filling tastes very authentically of the expensive cheeses indicated on the box, and the best part is they are as thick as the cookies themselves! These cookies are available in three flavours: Salt & Camembert, Honey & Gorgonzola, and my personal fave, Porcini & Gouda. I may play favourites, but all of them– and I mean ALL– are pretty awesome.

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My second favourite version of the filled langue de chat is the LeTao brand but that one is a lot sweeter even though it also has a strong cheese taste when it comes to the filling. This version isn’t overly sweet when it comes to both cookie and filling, allowing the cheeses to shine.

5. Ishiya White Chocolate Yuzu and Matcha Millefeuille
Price & Packaging: ¥761 for a box of 6 (sold separately)
Where I got it: Shiroi Koibito Park Gift Shop

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Normally, people buy the Shiroi Koibito Langue de Chat Cookies when they come to the Shiroi Koibito Park, but since I am not a fan of its white chocolate sweetness, I opted for something different. These Ishiya Millefeuille are cookies with flaky, lightly buttery layers– basically puff pastry baked to a crisp, coated all around with just a thin layer of chocolate.

These are great cold from the fridge when the chocolate is at its hardest, or at room temp when the chocolate is just barely melty. In both situations, the puff pastry layers are still very crunchy.

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I quite like this actually. Both the matcha AND white chocolate flavours are not that sweet, and instead they bring forward the taste that they promise. The matcha is just the right amount so as to mask the sweetness of the white chocolate it is mixed with; and it still allows the buttery taste of the millefeuille cookie layers to shine through. Yum!

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I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked the white chocolate yuzu flavour. The citrus taste is just delightful! It does a great job of subduing the white chocolate flavour, which I can tell from just one bite is of really good quality.

The ratio of chocolate to cookie is perfect in these millefeuille, making this a pleasure to munch on instead of something alarmingly sweet. That’s typically my issue with anything white chocolate anyway. Although the Yuzu one is admittedly sweeter than the matcha one by just a little, it was still so good. Definitely a must buy!

6. Glico Giant Yubari Melon Pocky
Price & Packaging: ¥800 for a box of 15 giant individually wrapped Pocky
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo
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These giant Pocky have become so popular you can now buy even the regional editions in the Tokyo airports. The Yubari melon variant has a coating that is made with 15% real melon juice, and it smells incredible right out of the package. (I didn’t get to take pics of it unpacked because my brothers had eaten it all before I could! 😬)

These are not as sweet as I was expecting and they taste very pleasantly of a mixture of real and artificial melon. I’m just glad they didn’t push the artificial flavouring too much because it would’ve ruined this. Not as good as the real Yubari melon obviously, but not bad and also quite novel!

7. Glico Midi Matcha & Midi Strawberry Fromage Pocky
Price & Packaging: ¥168 per box, contains 12 sticks sealed by 4’s (sold separately)
Where I got them: Don Quijote Sapporo

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These mini versions of Pocky may be short but they’re a lot chunkier than any of the normal Pocky products, and that’s because they are double coated. The matcha version comes with a thick matcha whipped cream underneath a layer of matcha white chocolate. The strawberry fromage one has a whipped strawberry cream underneath a coating with strawberry bits.

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I would describe these as sort of a luxurious version of the normal Pocky. There’s this certain creamy mouthfeel every time you bite into them because the coating is soooo thick. The strawberry one even has a pleasant hit of cheese!

8. Glico Tomocky
Price & Packaging: ¥158 per box, contains 20 thin sticks sealed by 10’s
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo

Part of Pocky’s special line that can be gifted to particular people in your life. Tomocky is a play on the words tomodachi and Pocky. Since tomodachi means friend, this particular version is something that the Japanese youth gift to their close friends. The message under that flap says ‘kore kara mo, tomodachi’ which I take to mean, ‘Let’s always be friends’. Cute concept, right?

Now there are two reasons why I actually bought this, and one is because of its heart-shaped kawaii factor. Secondly, I’m just really a sucker for strawberry treats. This had a sweet-sour strawberry taste thanks to the dried strawberry bits (important!!!) in the coating and the filling of the Pocky sticks. So good! Even though I couldn’t really see that heart-shaped middle, I couldn’t care less.

9. Hori Corn Chocolate
Price & Packaging: ¥720 for a box of 16 pieces
Where I got it: New Chitose Airport

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There’s a very simple explanation as to why I decided to buy this, and that would be curiosity. What on earth is a corn chocolate, and would it be enjoyed by a corn-lover such as myself? This was me trying to soothe my aching heart after forgetting to try some actual Hokkaido corn during the trip.

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These little critters are composed of extra crunchy puffed rice crispies. They look exactly like the picture, and have a subdued but unmistakable sweet corn taste amidst the white chocolate coating. It’s not too sweet thankfully.

If you like corn flavoured sweets, you could give a smaller pack of this a go. Honestly, I think you can skip this and just use the money to eat some real corn at the market. Hokkaido is well-known for its different types of corn after all! 😀

10. Lotte Toppo Double Cheese Chocolate-Filled Cookie Sticks
Price & Packaging: ¥218 per box, contains 12 sticks sealed by 2’s
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo

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One of my favourite cookie snacks from this haul! These naked pretzel sticks are filled with a savoury filling of Gouda and Cheddar. They’re thicker, bigger, and lots heavier than the normal naked Pocky sticks, although Lotte as a competitor probably did that on purpose. I super love these! The cheese flavour is just spot on and combines really well with the dark pretzel shell. I regret immensely getting only one box!

11. Lotte Sasha Matcha Chocolate
Price & Packaging: ¥198 for a box of 10 pieces
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo

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These chocolates are so incredibly classy, and are unique in the way that they are constructed. Weaving together matcha white chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and a small amount of white chocolate hidden in the middle, the appearance of these are quite artistic and dainty. The packaging has a high-end feel too, don’t you agree?

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These chocolates melt evenly in the mouth and are pretty creamy. The matcha taste manages to make its presence felt through the other chocolates, but in a controlled way. These are also not too sweet. Not my favourite matcha chocolate by far, but fitting enough for those who aren’t huge fans of matcha.

12. Hokkaido Limited Meiji Seika Apollo Chocolate in Melon
Price & Packaging: ¥598 for a pack of 3 mini boxes
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo

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In case you couldn’t tell, I really went for the Hokkaido-limited melon-flavoured treats when I shopped at Don Quijote Sapporo. I’m a fan of this whole regional, limited edition thing Japan’s got going on. I’ve mentioned before how much I love the bigger-sized Apollo Rich Strawberries as well as the Apollo Mt. Fuji edition, so I was hopeful about the Hokkaido melon flavour too.

With 6% melon juice, these are quite pleasant in the flavour department. They smell amazing every time I open the box, and I really like letting them melt in my mouth slowly. It’s good that the bottoms of the chocolate is milk chocolate instead of white because that would’ve made these like 10-times sweeter.

13. KitKat Sake
Price & Packaging: ¥398 per pack of 12 mini’s
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo
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Possibly my favourite flavour of KitKat to date is this 2016 release. They are wrapped in white chocolate and have actual sake in them, but at just 0.8% alcohol so no worries! I only ever like white chocolate when lots of matcha is involved, but now I know I like it with sake too.

The innate sweetness of the white chocolate brings out that sake aftertaste more fully, and I think it’s what makes this work so well. These bars are still on the sweet side, but let’s be honest, every KitKat apart from the dark variety and maybe the matcha one is on the sweet side. I will ALWAYS make an exception for these though. 😀

14. KitKat Sakura & Roasted Soybean
Price & Packaging: ¥398 per pack of 12 mini’s
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo

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White chocolate-covered wafers with a roasted soybean taste and a hint of cherry blossom. These smell so nice out of the package thanks to the sakura component but I was super impressed by the smoky roasted soybean taste. It was so unexpected!

The ending is always on a sweet note, but getting the hit of roasty soybean and the cherry blossom (which always reminds me of ube) before that was a pleasant distraction.

15. KitKat Kyoto HojiCha Roasted Tea
Price & Packaging: ¥800 per box of 12 mini’s
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo

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You can tell apart the limited edition KitKat’s right away– they are nicely packaged inside a sturdy gift box and their prices are double the KitKat’s sold in baggies. Hojicha is a type of Japanese green tea that is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal until they turn brown. This process originated from Kyoto and they were smart enough to adapt it into a “Kyoto-limited” KitKat flavour.

Now I’ve had my eye on this particular flavour for a while but didn’t see it during my last trips to Japan. Luckily, I am now able to hop into the fanclub of this Hojicha KitKat because these are just WOW. Imagine eating a KitKat with a coating that tastes like roasted milk tea! SO GOOD. The KitKat’s themselves look a little brownish, and they smell amazing. This is within my top 3 faves, but if they take away some of the sweet aftertaste to these maybe they’ll go up to 1 or 2.

[For more KitKat flavours I’ve tried, check out my previous Snack Haul!]

16. Kanro Premium Milk Matcha Hard Candy
Price & Packaging: ¥178 per pack of 70 grams
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo

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These hard candies are made from the premium fresh cream produced in Hokkaido– Japan’s dairy capital. If you like milky-tasting candies, you will probably find these among the top in terms of quality. You can feel a nice creamy sensation with these candies the whole time you have them in your mouth.

Also, if you’re not a super fan of matcha, don’t fret because the matcha taste isn’t that strong. I normally like my matcha a little stronger but I thought it worked better like this so that the milky-ness can be more pronounced.

17. Yubari Melon Half-Cut Chocolate
Price & Packaging: ¥298 per pack of 80 grams
Where I got it: Don Quijote Sapporo

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These are the cutest chocolates ever! Resembling half cut melons, it even has the marks of the melon skin on the green portion of the chocolate. The chocolate is made with Yubari melon juice to flavour, making it a very iconic Hokkaido treat indeed.

Consistent with what I’ve become used to when purchasing chocolates from Japan, the quality of this is superb despite the low price. There is none of that greasy feeling in the mouth you get from cheap chocolate, and the flavour of melon is quite distinct!

18. Royce Nama Chocolates
Price & Packaging: ranges from ¥777 to ¥1080
Where I got them: New Chitose Airport

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Ah the holy grail of Japanese snack hauls. Nama Chocolates from Royce are the one thing you CANNOT miss when you visit Japan, especially if you are a chocolate lover. Would you believe I actually brought my own thermal bag to keep these chocolates cold throughout my flights? You can buy a small baggie plus an ice bag from Royce counters, but because I was really planning to hoard these I had to bring a bigger bag. I still ended up forgetting to buy the Caramel flavour though. 😔

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Flavours from the regular line of Nama Chocolates all cost ¥777. (If you buy from the New Chitose Airport, it’ll be about ¥50 more expensive than in Haneda Airport even though the Royce factory is in Hokkaido. Weird!) In any case, I highly recommend the Matcha and Ghana Bitter Nama Chocolates, but my favourite from the regular line is the Champagne Nama Chocolate. Must-try!

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These two flavours I have never seen before. I assume they are special edition although I am not sure if they’re found only in New Chitose airport. I didn’t notice these at Haneda. The Ballantines Nama cost ¥896 while the Yamazaki Single Malt Whiskey Nama cost ¥1,080.

Despite being more expensive, I really think these are worth it. The Malt Whiskey one in particular has just dethroned my current favourite (Champagne) because it has a more subdued sweetness and a deeper whiskey flavour that goes so so well with the dark chocolate.

19. Royce Cognac Raisin Chocolate
Price & Packaging: ¥648
Where I got it: New Chitose Airport

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You might’ve noticed the trend of how much I like liquor with my chocolate. Previously I managed to try the Rum Raisin variety of this Royce bar and found it rather pleasant even if it was white chocolate, so seeing this, I wasn’t hesitant to pick this up.

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I had no idea what the inside of the package would look like, but I had an inkling that it was going to be milk or dark chocolate instead of white, just because cognac tastes better with those chocolates. As someone who always enjoys raisins that have been marinated and plumped up in liquor, I LOVED THIS CHOCOLATE BAR! Every bite fills the senses with the titillating flavour of sweet and fruity Cognac-infused raisin. I would like to buy another bar please!

This tastes best at room temperature by the way.

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And there you have it! I didn’t realize I hauled 19 snacks! Well 20, if we separate the two Midi Pocky flavours I got haha! I just really love doing these hauls. You can check out VOLUME ONE and VOLUME TWO of my Japanese Snack Hauls too for ideas on what to buy on your next trip to Japan! 🙂

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