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Lotte Strawberry Toppo: Toppo is another staple convenience store (kobini) snack in Japan. I read somewhere that they're like inverted Pocky sticks, but they're not so much inverted as redistributed: the snack consists of long straws with a neutral biscuit exterior filled with flavored hardened icing such as chocolate and strawberry. The strawberry flavor has a good balance of sweet and tart, reminding me of the Koala's March snacks but less sweet as there is a more balanced biscuit to icing ratio. Like many Jap... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 toppo lotte inegaya strawberry japanese
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Wanpo Tea Shop Oolong milk tea with boba: I've had bubble tea in Japan at a handful of shops, and most have been very disappointing, with watered-down powdered tea and overly soft boba. When I saw that there was a Taiwanese chain of bubble tea shops near Ueno station whose wall is lined with loose-leaf tea canisters, I thought they might be different. Luckily, my suspicions were confirmed, and I was actually able to communicate with the shop in Mandarin, a big win for me as I normally feel pretty useless with the little Japanese I... (read more) 4.0/5.0

4.0 boba tea milk oolong wanpoteashop japan bubbletea recommended
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Sanritsu Genji Pie: Genji Pies are heart-shaped Palmier cookies that come in individually wrapped packages containing two cookies each. The flaky pastry is surrounded by a ring of sugar, and while the cookies are sweet, they aren't as sweet as most American versions and come in a more snackable size. Feeling happy to have easy access to an affordable cookie that reminds me of home. 3.5/5.0

cookies 3.5 pie genji sanritsu japanese recommended
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Kurkure Chilli Chatka: I was kindly sent a package of Indian snacks to review and started with this bag of familiar fried corn crunchies (like Cheetos) with an unfamiliar flavor or Chilli Chatka, containing a powdered coating combining a range of spices like garlic and chili powder, cumin, and fenugreek. The one item on the ingredient list that was new to me was ajwain powder, which I learned is commonly used in Indian cuisine and has flavor profile similar to anise and oregano. Definitely more spiced than spicy... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 chatka chilli kurkure indian
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Calpis Taste Calpis Melon Drink: Melon is a very popular flavor in Japan not just for candies but also for drinks like fruit sodas. This drink is the melon-version of the popular beverage calpis, a milky yogurt-flavored drink common enough to find in most Asian supermarkets in the US. This line of products is part of their low-calorie offerings, and it contains the artificial sweetener aspartame. It tastes like a slightly milder version of liquid candy, definitely with an aftertaste I'm familiar with from drinking diet so... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 drink melon taste calpis maretsu japanese drinks
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Lotte Chocolate Caramel Choco Pie in Ginza : The iconic snack Choco Pie from Korean brand Lotte is available in most places shops in Japan. This particular Ginza chocolate caramel cake flavor is part of a special edition "around the world" series which takes iconic desserts from various cities around the world. For example, it previously featured the NYC cheesecake. I've never actually heard of a Tokyo-specific chocolate caramel cake (and a quick Google Search comes up empty). This is a very decadent Choco Pie, with chocolate cake i... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 ginza in pie choco caramel chocolate lotte inegaya desserts japanese