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根津のたいやき Taiyaki: One thing I will sincerely miss when I leave Japan is the little mom & pop stands selling traditional Japanese treats like imagawayaki and taiyaki. This little stand in Nezu always seems to have a line, even in COVID times, and serves anko (red bean) filled fish-shaped pancakes. They cost just about $2 USD and they take care to snip off the burnt edges with scissors before placing your pancake in a to-go pouch, meant to be eaten quickly after it comes from the grill. Their red bean paste ... (read more) 4.5/5.0

exceptional japan nezu anko redbean tokyo taiyaki 4.5
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Toms Heksehyl Haxvral Danish Salty Licorice: This was another Danish snack that I received as a participant for a virtual conference. It comes in rope form and features a cylindrical piece of black licorice filled with salmiak salt (which is essential ammonia). I've heard that licorice is popular in Nordic countries, and I think this must be an acquired taste that I do not have. It had a surprisingly sharp bitter and salty flavor (mostly from the filling) that my taste buds had an immediate visceral reaction to, and not in a pleasan... (read more) 2.0/5.0

avoid danish tomsheksehylhaxvral salty licorice 2.0
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Toms Giant Chocolate Turtle: This chocolate turtle was sent to me from Denmark as part of a conference "goody bag." Its shape is much more realistic than the pecan-caramel chocolate turtles I've had in the states and features a hexagonal shell pattern, paws for its legs, and two extrusions for the turtle head and tail (but with no discernible face). The chocolate shell is pretty thick and about 50% dark chocolate, and inside is a caramel and rum creme that's fairly molten and viscous in texture. I'm not really one fo... (read more) 2.5/5.0

chocolate danish toms giant turtle 2.5
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福どら Matcha Doriyaki: I know doriyaki from Dorameon because the Japanese pancake-sandwich is a favorite of the beloved Japanese cartoon character. There's a little Japanese confectionary shop close to me that sells many different flavors of doriyaki, from traditional anko red bean to strawberry cream. I purchased their matcha creme flavor that has a whipped matcha filling and a piece of chewy mochi, all between two soft pancakes. The creme was pleasantly bitter and not too sweet, with a fluffy texture that cont... (read more) 4.0/5.0

recommended japanese hongo matcha doriyaki 4.0
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YBC Noir Cocoa Cookies: These are the Japanese equivalent of Oreo cookies, which I tend to have about once a year at the MIT Mystery Hunt competition. Since Mystery Hunt was completely remote this year, I wasn't able to partake in the normal consumption of college-dorm junk food normally shared in person to fuel late-night puzzling, but I still wanted to capture the spirit, which led me to purchase this snack. The YBC snack packs are ubiquitous and can be found at basically all convenience and grocery stores. Ov... (read more) 3.5/5.0

recommended cookies japanese coop ybc noir cocoa 3.5
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Calbee 大人の ポテリッチ カマンベールベーコン味 Camembert Bacon Flavor Potato Chips: According to the press release for this limited edition flavor, Calbee introduced a line of ポテリッチ "Potato Rich" chips for adults in October 2020 partially in response to the trend of increased drinking at home due to the pandemic – these chips are meant to pair well with alcohol. The combination of meat with cheese was surprising to me, and as far as I know is not actually something that's done here in Japan. The actual flavor is a combination of bacon and camembert, and you can definitely... (read more) 3.0/5.0

chips japanese camembert bacon lawson calbee 大人の ポテリッチ カマンベールベーコン味 flavor potato 3.0