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Daybird Strawberry Lemonade: This strawberry lemonade is exceptional on its own but even more so as a companion to spicy foods. I had it alongside the fried chicken sandwich at Daybird (which is definitely worth seeking out), and as amazing as the sandwich was, I was actually left most impressed with the freshness of this drink, which captures perfectly the tart and sweet flavor of fresh strawberries. You can see the quality just in the color of the drink itself, with it's striking red-orange hue. I can't think of any w... (read more) 5.0/5.0

exceptional drinks losangeles daybird strawberry lemonade 5.0
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Hop Shu-Kuri-Mu Matcha and red bean bread: There is a small bakery in the heart of Azabu-Juban in Tokyo that has the most delicious cream puffs – they also sell a variety of other baked goods, including fresh loaves of bread with visually striking swirls of flavor baked in, similar to what you might see for flavored milk bread loaves at Asian bakeries more generally. Their loaves tend to be about half the size of what you might see in the US. I really enjoyed the spongy, stretchy texture and faint sweetness of this loaf. If you ev... (read more) 3.5/5.0

recommended azabujuban japanese tokyo hopshukurimu matcha red bean bread 3.5
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Seijo Ishii Butter Chicken Curry Rice Crackers: Seijo Ishii is a 24-hour supermarket I lived closed to in my early stay in Tokyo which stocked a variety of international goods and flavors. One of the most intriguing and memorable series of snacks I had there were their curry rice crackers, featuring classic southeast asian dishes like green curry and butter chicken. The non-resealable bag contains several servings of large crispy rice crackers coated with a powdered seasoning – this happened to capture the taste of creamy butter chicken... (read more) 4.0/5.0

recommended japanese seijoishii butter chicken curry rice crackers 4.0
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Meiji Horn whipped chocolate snacks: Tall chocolate treats with milk chocolate on either end, an aerated chocolate coating over the middle, and a chocolate biscuit-like interior. Some ingenuity here is in the shape itself, as the snack is meant to be paired with coffee - it's tall enough to dip into a hot beverage and get the combination of crunchy milk chocolate with a whipped chocolate center that melts in your mouth. For me, this was a theoretical exercise as I don't drink coffee and ate these individualky-wrapped snacks on... (read more) 3.0/5.0

japanese meiji horn whipped chocolate snacks 3.0 familymart
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Calbee Jagariko Salad Potato Sticks: These cylindrical potato sticks are a staple in convenient stores in Japan, typically packaged in small bucket-shaped containers for single serving snacking, but they are also available in multiple-servings pouches from supermarkets. The salad flavor incorporates flecks of orange and green, potentially to signal that carrots, celery, and other seemingly heathier things have been added, but the main taste is of fried potato and oil. They have a satisfying, substantial crunch yet hold their s... (read more) 3.5/5.0

recommended japanese coop calbee jagariko salad potato sticks 3.5
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Hebesu Drink Citrus Beverage: I got introduced to a lot of new citrus fruits while living in Japan. Hebesu, a round lime-like fruit, comes from Miyazaki prefecture. This uncarbonated drink was pleasantly tart and sweet, kind of like kalamansi in flavor profile, though accordingly the package, it only contains 10% juice. Purchased at Coop grocery store. 3.0/5.0

drinks citrus japanese hebesudrink beverage 3.0