We’ve done quite a few reviews for subscription based services catering to those looking to have Japanese candy delivered right to their doorstep. But there are still more out there and I have made it my mission to review all of the things. This time, I decided to look into reviewing Candy Japan which offers bi-monthly deliveries for the price of $25/month. The biggest question, however, is whether or not it’s worth it, so let’s take a look.
First off, we have the box and the contents because the box is an important part of presentation. There’s not a lot to look at here, but you don’t subscribe to a service for the box — you do it for the goods! There are only a few, but this is only half of the shipment. It comes directly from Japan, which seems to have become pretty common in recent subscription services.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a list of what the items are inside the box like most do. Instead, the directions and item descriptions are sent via e-mail, which in my experience only arrives after you’ve already consumed the snacks. That’s okay though, because the candy in this particular shipment was pretty straight forward aside from one thing which I’ll be describing my experience with shortly.
Now there are a few things I usually take into account with these reviews. The price of the box, the price of the components, and whether or not I actually enjoyed eating them. I’ll start with the taste testing since that’s how it usually goes.
The first item on the list was the DIY Meiji chocolate mushroom kit and that’s the only thing in the shipment that was particularly difficult to understand. I ended up just putting the chocolate into the mold and then refrigerating it, but what I discovered afterwards was that there are actually some pretty simple instructions displayed on the packaging. What you’re supposed to do is boil the chocolate first, though it turned out fine for me even though I opted not to. When it was all said and done, the mushrooms tasted like how you’d expect them to and it was a pretty fun experience.
Since I was going for the sweet things first this time around, I decided to go for the fish next. I wasn’t entirely sure what it was but I was familiar with the concept. I learned from the e-mail that it was supposed to be taiyaki. I’ve never had actual taiyaki, so I can’t compare the two, but the taiyaki in the shipment tasted a bit like a wafer with strawberry cream inside. It wasn’t really anything special but I did enjoy it. They don’t have anything like that where I live.
Finally, with one item left I turned to what I thought was Umaibo but actually ended up being ramen noodle bites. They were okay but there might have been too much salt. It almost reminded me of being in elementary school and eating dry ramen noodles with the flavor packet sprinkled around like chips. Again, nothing special, and probably my least favorite item but it’s not really something you see, so that’s always a plus.
So the taste test is a pass but how about everything else? What would these three items cost if you were to buy them individually, say through Amazon? Well, I couldn’t find any of these on Amazon, which is actually probably a good thing. I did find them on other websites, however, and the items added up to be around $10 without shipping. Since this is only half of the shipment, that seems about right. It’s hard to say definitively whether or not Candy Japan is worth your money since I didn’t get the first shipment, but it seems like a good bet.
Unfortunately, though, I also ran into some problems. Since it’s bi-monthly, that means you get two packages a month for the price, which is pretty atypical for this kind of thing. That’s exactly what excited me the most when I learned about Candy Japan, because unlike most subscription services out there you don’t have to wait a whole month to get more candy. Instead, they break it up between two shipments. Unfortunately, in my case, I didn’t get the first half of my subscription. This means that I effectively missed half of the value right off the bat but that’s not necessarily the fault of Candy Japan. If you’ve ever bought anything on the internet, you’re probably aware that The United States Postal Service is notoriously risky.
Now, before I get onto the next point, it’s important that I mention I didn’t pay for my subscription to Candy Japan — it was sent to me for review. It’s entirely possible that since I didn’t get the first half, that might have been intentional — like most companies, the way their review program works is they allocate leftover boxes to journalists like myself. So if there were any shipments leftover for the month of May, they might decide to ship those out for people to review.
I figured that maybe they just didn’t have any leftovers from the first half of the shipment that I was sent, but I did get the e-mail letting me know that it was on the way, so that seems pretty unlikely. I did send a few e-mails to confirm whether or not that was intentional, but my e-mails went repeatedly unanswered for weeks on end. It’s to be expected since Candy Japan is the work of one man from what I can tell. Though if they can’t answer journalists, I have a hard time believing that they’d be able to answer paying customers.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t subscribe to Candy Japan though. It still seems to provide a sufficient value for the price, which is probably the most important thing. They also send you snacks that you can’t find on Amazon, which isn’t the case with a lot of other places. Because of my experience with their customer service, I can’t give it an absolute recommendation. But if you’re looking for yet another Japanese snack fix, you’ll probably find it here.
If it sounds like something you’d be interested in, head over to their website and have a look.
Disclaimer: A box was provided by Candy Japan to BentoByte for the purpose of review.Tweet