Freedom Japanese Market is a family business that curates, packs, and ships original, made-in-Japan snacks to all corners of the globe. About a pound of handpicked Japanese candies and snacks sent straight to your front door!
They have three box sizes:
Puchi Pack – 5 to 8 full size and sample snacks $14.99 p/m (£11.58)
Original Pack – 12 to 16 full size and sample snacks including 1 DIY candy kit $24.99 p/m (£19.30)
Family Pack – 24 to 32 full size and sample snacks including 1 DIY candy kit $45.99 p/m (£35.52) Two of everything – double the snacks without double the price.
Longer subscriptions are lower price, and shipping is included.
I’m reviewing an Original Pack. While the box takes 10 – 20 days to arrive (which coming from Japan with no extra shipping costs is bloody good) it arrived in perfect shape.
The picture on the box is kawaii-style!
Right on top is their menu and newsletter. You can see a picture of the lovely family!
You can also see the handmade origami that is included with every box.
Isn’t that a cute little boat?
Sanae makes every single one of these herself, by hand. That’s serious dedication to your craft.
Here’s the list of goodies in this month’s box.
Look at all those bright colours! Japanese snack packaging is awesome.
Let’s have a look at everything.
These fried potato chips were right at the top of the box. They are exactly like french fries in crisp form. Crunchy and salty. Clearly in Japan they’re associated with the United States!
Here is a little grape gumball. Grape flavour is clearly pretty popular in Japan. I like having grape things, because it’s not a flavour you really get in the UK. It’s huge in America though.
Melon is another popular Japanese flavour you don’t get in the UK.
This Melon Soda Gum is the bonus item in the box. It’s an impressively long stick of gum, and will certainly keep you going for a while!
Umaibo is absolutely my favourite Japanese snack. Umaibo means ‘delicious stick’, which it certainly is. It’s a crunchy tube-shaped corn snack, and comes in a ton of different flavours. They truly are delicious.
This one is a seasonal Pumpkin Corn Pottage flavour. Corn pottage is a very common Japanese flavour, and the fall-themed pumpkin addition gives it a subtle but lovely sweetness.
Another Umaibo, but this time it’s Premium Cheese Umaibo. It’s a bit bigger than the regular Umaibo, and has a more intense flavour. This one tastes a little like a cross between camembert and mozzarella, and is incredibly tasty.
CHOCOLATE UMAIBO! How did I not know about these?
Crunchy balls with a chocolate filling. Now, I love savory Umaibo, but this is a whole new level of deliciousness. I am in Umaibo heaven. I would like a whole box filled with these, please.
This bright package is called DonDon Yaki. They are little bitesize Korean rice crackers. Unfortunately I can’t eat them because they’re flavoured with kimchi. It’s not that I don’t like sour fermented stuff (I do!) but kimchi frequently contains shellfish, and I’m allergic.
Of course it may be that these crackers don’t contain any actual shellfish, but as I can’t read the ingredients I can’t take the risk! But I’m pretty sure that they would be delicious.
These are called Don taro Udon , and are dried udon noodle snacks. It sounds odd to eat dried noodles, but they’re actually very tasty. As well as eating them dry you can add water to soften them up.
Neri Ume is a tart and salty Japanese plum paste, used as seasoning in many Japanese dishes. These little sweet/sour/salty gummy candies have the flavour of this traditional Japanese ingredient.
You can see the flavour combinations expressed on the little cartoon faces on the packaging!
Little C said they tasted kind of like barbecue sauce. I totally see what she means, as barbecue sauce is often fruity without being incredibly sweet. In fact, I bet neri ume would be a great addition to barbecue sauce.
This is a little package of Cream Rusk, which is sugar rusk with a little twist.
Sugar rusk is a traditional Japanese snack of bread with butter and sugar baked until dry and crispy.
This version has an addition creamy layer on top, rather like icing. It sort of reminded me of a custard creme biscuit, but with a much lighter biscuit.
This is a little Mini Fizzy Candy bottle. It doesn’t say so, but the bottle-shaped container suggests this is ramune (Japanese soda pop) candy. It’s rather like sherbert. It also has a very cute little picture on the package!
This is grape flavour Baby Gang. Baby Gang is popping candy or pop rocks.
Popping candy reminds me of childhood. Little C tried some, and I wish I had gotten a picture of her face! It tasted exactly as I would expect it to, and sent me right back to my schooldays and buying this stuff with my pocket money.
This is a nice big bag of Mike Popcorn in Soy Sauce Flavour. I adore savory popcorn (and dislike the sweet stuff) and this has a much greater depth of flavour than the regular salted version. It’s also a generous bag.
Such cute kawaii cookies! These are Koala’s March, little cookies with a yummy creamy strawberry filling. They also have adorable little pictures printed on each cookie! They are almost too cute to eat. Almost.
Okashi na Mizuame is this month’s DIY candy kit. It’s one of the simpler kits, and contains three different syrup candies. You can taste them individually, or mix them together to create a new colour and flavour.
This is another lovely selection box from Freedom Japanese Market. Fifteen items total this month, and six were savory. OK, I couldn’t eat one of them but never mind. I love savory snacks. The soy popcorn was lovely, and as for that chocolate Umaibo, OMG. I have to find a regular source for these things.
One of the great things about Freedom Japanese Market is that every single item is sourced direct from Japan, so is exactly what you would buy in stores there. You can buy Japanese snacks in the UK, but they are produced for the export market, so are generally different from the domestic versions. Also, the exported items spend months in the shipping process, so won’t be half as fresh.
Several of these snacks are traditional Japanese items, such as the sugar rusk and noodle bites. This is a great way to sample things outside of your usual comfort zone of flavours! It’s also nice to try more unusual flavours, such as the sour plum gummies.
I really like that this is a family company. I’m all for encouraging small businesses, and this one has a fantastic product. Their customer service (Ken) is incredibly good, and they clearly put a great deal of thought and consideration into their monthly selections. Plus Ken is clearly as awesome at packing boxes as Sanae is at making origami!
I think the value is pretty good for what you get. Sourcing all these things individually would be more or less impossible, and never for anything like as cheap as this. As always, smaller boxes (Puchi) aren’t such good value, so I think it’s definitely worth spending the extra eight quid and getting the Regular pack. Or if you want to treat your family, get the Family pack! Then you don’t have to share with anyone.
A different version of this review first appeared on allsubscriptionboxes.co.uk.