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The Laughing Cow Belcube Ham, Tomato, and Green Peppercorn Cheese: I used to get these Laughing Cow cheeses from supermarkets in Taiwan, but also very shortly in the US before they stopped selling them in the American market (in favor of those red-wax cheese wheels), so I was glad to see that they sell the cubes in Japan. This pack came with 15 cubes, 5 of 3 different flavors: ham, tomatoes a la provencale, and green peppercorns. Each cube is wrapped in foil and has a convenient system that peels off the central sides of the cube to make them easy to open... (read more) 4.0/5.0

4.0 peppercorn green tomato ham belcube thelaughingcow cheese recommended
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Sun Fruits Apple Juice: In the basement of the swanky Tokyo Midtown department store is a speciality fruit shop called Sun Fruits, the type of shop where sumo oranges (dekopan) are individually wrapped in a form-fitting web of styrofoam and boxes of pale white strawberries go for 8,000¥ ($73 USD). The one item I felt I could afford, and also I was most interested in trying, was a bottle of what I presumed to be a barely-pink fruit soda, which cost $3.50. It turns out that it was a bottle of apple juice, with frui... (read more) 4.0/5.0

4.0 juice apple sunfruits japan tokyo applejuice drinks exceptional
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Naniwaya Taiyaki: Wandering aimlessly around the Roppongi Hill neighborhood of Japan, I stumbled upon a small sweets shop with a sizable line and a pleasantly sweet aroma. The man in the front asked if I had a reservation – I replied that I did not and he asked me to kindly sit in a designated waiting area while their speciality taiyaki, a fish-shaped Japanese pastry filled with red bean, was made to order. After just a few minutes, and passing over 180¥ in coin (about $1.65 in USD), I was handed a taiyaki ... (read more) 4.0/5.0

4.0 taiyaki naniwaya redbean tokyo recommended
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Eat Me Golden Chai Ice Cream: Another solid pint of coconut-milk-based dairy-free ice cream from Rochester-based Eat Me Ice Cream. This one has a swirl of orange and yellow ice cream flavored with turmeric, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. As far as chai ice creams go, this is definitely one of the better ones I've had. I'm a little worried about the nutrition facts, since it's coconut-based, but the label is conveniently missing the label, so I could just enjoy it for the flavor! Purchased at the Park Slope Food Coop. 3.5/5.0

3.5 cream ice chai golden eatme dessert coconut parkslopefoodcoop icecream recommended
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Heaven & Earth Taro Chips: Kind of like Terra blue chips, these taro chips eat like they're one-level up from normal potato chips but really are just appealing to those who love potato chips but feel too guilty to eat Lay's. They consist of jus a few ingredients: taro, palm oil, and salt, and taste mostly of oil and salt; the chips are sliced impressively thin and have a crispy texture. Overall, tasty but a bit expected. 3.0/5.0

3.0 taro heavenearth parkslopefoodcoop chips
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Summerdown Mint Chocolate Peppermint Creams: I bought these chocolates from the English-focused Chelsea Market shop Chelsea Market Baskets as a holiday present. They're kind of like peppermint patties on steroids, with a very satisfying, thick dark chocolate shell and potent mint filling, slightly chewy and somewhat viscous. It's made using English Black Mitcham peppermint, and you can taste the quality. It cost a little over $10 for a box of 16 pieces, easily enough to share. 4.0/5.0

4.0 creams peppermint chocolate summerdownmint mint darkchocolate british chelseamarketbaskets chocolates