There are a plethora of subscription services out there nowadays, and as it turns out, there are several devoted entirely to sending Japanese snacks directly to your doorstep for a small fee. Skoshbox is one such box.
Previously in November I gave a look at Japan Crate, another box that also offers up Japanese snacks for a flat monthly fee and I thought to myself, why stop there? So I’ve made it my mission to compile a list of subscription services that you, our humble readers would enjoy.
Skoshbox is the next item on our list, and while they didn’t have any of their latest and largest box called the Dekabox to send over, they made sure to send over their original, small-sized Skoshbox. I have to hand it to Skoshbox, because I only sent them the e-mail last weekend and I already received it, a mere two to three days after receiving confirmation.
This isn’t typical though, and in fact the January box won’t ship for most people until next week on December 30, but it shows just how well managed the PR department over at Skoshbox is, and for that I have to give them major credit — especially considering that it’s a holiday season.
Onto the actual box itself, which you can tell had a lot of work put into it. When you open the box, there’s one thing that instantly sticks out — it’s beautifully packaged and even comes with a Skoshbox seal which comes in the form of a neat little sticker. It’s a nice little touch, and something that I think sets them apart from the competition.
Once you get inside the box, you find several items — all of which are predetermined, but not revealed until the box ships. It’s pretty typical fare for this sort of thing, but it’s about what’s inside the box that counts and considering I received the smaller box which is on offer for around $12 a month, there was actually quite a bit more than I originally anticipated.
I had thought that the smaller box would consist of smaller treats, and indeed it does — but these aren’t little candies, these are fun-sized bags of chips, bubble gum and an assortment of other interesting items.
In my box, which is the first box of 2015 for the month of January, I received a total of eight items which seems to be typical based upon their previous boxes. Not bad when you consider you’re getting eight items for $12 and that includes shipping, making each item just slightly over a dollar each if you break it down.
I don’t have much experience with Japanese snacks, but I’m fairly certain that you would be paying more if you were to buy the items individually on Amazon, something that I will go into later as part of determining whether or not the Skoshbox is actually worth the $12/month investment.
As for what items were in this month’s crate, there was Strawberry Pocky, Star Kirby Bubble Gum, Nameko Biscuits, SakuSaku Panda Cookies, Green Tea Kit Kats, a Shrimp Mayo Umaibo, a Bakauke Fried Sesame, and Potato Chip Sticks. Not a bad spread! If you’re curious as to what they look like and what’s in them, you can check out an image of the card below.
Now obviously as part of a review for something like this, I have to go into detail and talk about the quality of the snacks provided as well as what I thought of the taste, so I’m going to run through and describe all of the items I received in the January box.
I started with the sweet and went into the savory, and the first item that I tried were the SakuSaku Panda Cookies — one which I’ve never had before. I’ve read good things about these cookies, but never got around to trying them so I was really excited to see just how they taste and let me tell you, they are excellent. You can taste the quality of the chocolate, making them one of my favorite things from this box. Oh yeah, and they’re shaped like pandas, which is a neat touch.
Next up was the Strawberry Pocky, something which is pretty well known here in the United States and long established as a staple of otaku around the globe. This particular flavor isn’t something that you can’t get here, which is slightly disappointing — but it’s still a great addition if only because of how addicting they are. If you’ve had Pocky before, you know what to expect with these.
After the Pocky I tried the Nameko Biscuits, which I thought would be more buttery than they were because they’re described as butter biscuits, but really they’re more like a lighter version of animal crackers with a slight butter and salt flavor. They weren’t my favorite thing, but they weren’t what I was expecting.
Next up was the Green Tea Kit Kats, and you know I love these since Kit Kats are my favorite candy bar. Again, they’re pretty typical — but always a welcome addition. Very sweet with a hint of matcha.
Then I tried the Kirby bubble gum, which is described as soda bubble gum but tasted like fruit with an aftertaste of mint to me. I’m not sure what the soda was, perhaps some sort of flavor. All I know is that it was fruity and minty and unlike American gum, very soft. It also came with a coloring card and some stickers which is pretty fun.
Finally I got to the savory stuff, and I tried the Shrimp Mayo Umaibo which to put it eloquently is like a giant puffy Cheeto — seriously. If you’ve had Cheetos before, then you know what kind of texture you can expect out of this thing. The flavor though, well, it was sweet and spicy at the same time and the mayo was very noticeable though I can’t say the same of the shrimp. I didn’t know what to expect originally, but the Shrimp Mayo Umaibo was delicious. I wouldn’t mind buying miniature versions of these by the bag.
With only two things left, I opted to try the potato chip sticks and boy were they delicious. One thing I love about Japanese potato chips is that unlike the chips here, you can actually taste the potato. These chips were apparently Nori and Salt flavor, but I found both flavors to be on the slight side. Still, they make for a great snack and I loved that you could actually taste the potato and not just the crunch with a bit of spice.
Finally I had the Bakauke Fried Sesame, and it was pretty good. I knew what to expect since Japanese trail mix is a favorite snack of mine and I love the sesame rice crackers in particular, but it was still pretty damn good. It’s essentially a fried chunk of rice flour with some sweet flavoring and a great crunch. I enjoyed it a lot.
So that’s all eight items, and yes, they were delicious — but how about the price? At $12/month, are you getting a good value? Let’s look to Amazon to find out. Now the chances are if you have a Japanese or Asian market near you, you can find these items for much cheaper — but living in a small area, things like that are a bit harder to find here which is what makes these services so great. So, how much would it cost you to order these eight items individually via Amazon?
Well, I looked around a bit, and most of these items aren’t even available there, though the two that are alone add up to $7. But there’s good news, because Skoshbox has a store where you can buy these items individually which means you don’t have to look to Amazon. So what would it cost there?
A lot more than $12, but when you purchase the items through their store you’re not buying one or two of them, you’re buying them in packs — so if you find something you like, then maybe Skoshbox is the place to pick it up. In that way Skoshbox serves as an excellent gateway into Japanese snack foods, and let’s be honest, it’s a lot more fun opening up a box and not knowing what to expect.
If you want to receive January’s box then you better hurry though, because the cutoff for January is Tuesday, December 30. They’ve still got the original Skoshbox for $12/month as well as the better and bigger DEKAbox for $24/month.
Disclaimer: A box was provided by Skoshbox to BentoByte for the purpose of review.Tweet