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Bandai Sumikkogurashi Taberareru Mascot: I stumbled upon these extraordinarily cute treats at my local Family Mart convenience store and couldn't resist getting this special Halloween offering. It came in the refrigerated aisle and features Sanrio characters from a series I'm unfamiliar with called Sumikkogurashi. Each character has a bean paste filling (according to the website, these two characters were milk and maple flavored) and the exterior is a slightly firmer but also generally soft marzipan-like coating. I've had this t... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 mascot taberareru sumikkogurashi bandai japanese familymart
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Tou Lan Tea Strawberry Latte with Boba: I had some bad experiences with several bubble tea shops when I first came to Japan (ones I didn't bother to review), but there was a highly rated spot not too far from the university that I decided to check out. They feature a handful of classic herbal teas along with a wider menu of fruit teas, smoothies, as well as a whole section of banana lattes (I'm not sure why!). The strawberry latte was excellent, like a milder and less sweet version of strawberry ice cream (I had it at their "les... (read more) 4.0/5.0

4.0 boba latte strawberry toulantea tokyo drinks recommended
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Akai Bonshi Coconut Choco Sand Cookies: When I first came to Japan, I was surprised to always see the word "Sand" on cookie products but realized that "sand cookies" are a basic type of thin cookie somewhere between shortbread and sugar. This bag contained three varieties of sandwich cookies: pineapple, mango, and banana, which have different creme fillings. They're all pleasantly tropical and are equally sweet and rich, with a toasted coconut coating. Purchased at Queens Isetan grocery store in Tokyo. 3.5/5.0

queensisetan japanese 3.5 cookies sand choco coconut akaibonshi recommended
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Trader Joe's Oven-Baked Cheese Bites: This small 2-serving packet of imported Italian cheese bites consists of baked rounds of "aged cheese" (not specifically identified in the ingredients list) as well as grana padano cheese. That's pretty much it - the ingredient list is literally two items. The bites are crispy, but because of the high fat content, they dissolve in your mouth quickly, leaving a bit of an oily aftertaste. The cheese is tangy and a little funky, definitely not your typical cheddar snack. I didn't really car... (read more) 2.0/5.0

2.0 bites cheese oven-baked traderjoes
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Trader Joe's PB&J Sack Duo Packs: This is another hand-picked snack selected by my sister and sent to Japan for me to review. It's a welcome reimagining of the classic sticks + dip combo but with novel components: cylindrical peanut butter wafer sticks similar to Pirouline paired with a raspberry jam dip. I really like the peanut butter wafers, which I would buy on their own – they have a definite peanut butter flavor, but not enough peanut butter texture to stick to your mouth, and it's also not so saturated in peanut but... (read more) 4.0/5.0

4.0 packs duo sack pb&j traderjoes recommended
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Trader Joe's Mango Jalapeño Apple Fruit Snacks: These strawberry shaped dummies are shaped as if they've been stamped rather than molded, a straight extrusion of a 2d profile. They have a dense rather than chewy texture similar to a thick piece of fruit leather. Its flavor combines several concentrates, including apple, mango, and lemon, and it's finished with jalapeño pepper powder. You can definitely taste all of those individual ingredients – there's a pleasantly spicy aftertaste and the lemon juice helps balance out the sweetness of... (read more) 3.5/5.0

3.5 snacks fruit apple jalapeño mango traderjoes recommended