Sakuraco April Box Review
Posted on April 20, 2021 Posted by Athena Scalzi 20 Comments
First off, I’d like to say thank you to everyone that commented on my last post about my reviews. You all said such nice and reassuring things! So I decided to go ahead and write up that review over the latest Japanese snack box I got. Without further ado, let’s jump into Sakuraco’s April box!
In case you missed the last post (which you can find here), Sakuraco is a subscription box company that strives to bring you authentic Japanese snacks and goods that are not really found anywhere outside of Japan. Each box comes with 20 Japanese tea time goods. So while most of the items in the box are snacks, (though some are duplicates, for example, March’s box actually had 16 different snacks but 20 total) there is also one home good, like a tea cup or chopsticks.
April’s box had 13 different snacks in total (six of them having duplicates) with one home good. March’s theme was Sakura, and April’s was Matcha. Both are super interesting because we don’t really have either of those flavors here in the US, so it was great to try out such different flavor palettes!
I actually tried this box out with my friend, whom I shall be calling J throughout the post, and letting you know their thoughts as well as mine on each snack.
First up, we tried the Plum Yokan:
This little yokan was filled with tart plum jelly, which both of us thought had a really great flavor. The jelly was a nice texture, too, however the outside part was not so pleasant. I assume it was supposed to be crispy and flaky, but it just felt like biting into Styrofoam. Maybe it was originally crispy and had become stale in transit from Japan? I’m not sure, but it totally ruined the snack for me. Despite liking the jelly flavor, I gave this a 3/10, while J gave it a 7/10.
Up next was the Matcha Mochi Monaka:
While almost all the snacks in this box are matcha flavored, some of them, including this one, also have red bean in them! Which happens to be one of my favorite flavors. So, the flavor of the matcha and azuki paste inside the monaka wafers was super yummy, but again the outside layer of the snack was not as good. Monaka is supposed to be crispy wafers, but these were a little Styrofoam-y as well. However, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the previous snack, so I gave it a 7.5/10 because I really enjoyed the slightly jelly-like paste on the inside. J even said it had a cranberry sauce-like consistency. J gave it a 6/10, so overall pretty good score!
For the third snack, we took a break from the matcha flavored snacks and tried the Sakura Sugar Candy:
Oh em GEE, these bite-sized treats were totally amazing! Not only do I totally love the sakura flavor, but the texture was awesome. That being said, the flavor was also pretty subtle, so this candy wasn’t overpowering in terms of sweetness or anything. They were chewy, and almost jelly-like (I know, the past three snacks have all been jelly-like, but stick with me here). Plus, I think they have such a cute, eye-catching color. I would totally buy a whole package of these, they were so good! Both of us gave it an 8.5/10.
Next was something totally different, Matcha Senbei:
These crackers were so perfectly thin and crispy! Their subtle sweetness was in perfect balance with the mild matcha flavor. This snack actually came in a package of eight crackers, and they were so addicting. I could honestly eat a whole bag of these, they were so delicious and perfectly textured. Both of us gave them a 9/10, and they were J’s favorite item in the box (probably mine, too, but it’s hard to pick a favorite).
Fifthly, we tried the Matcha Yokan Roll Cake:
These little cakes were a very nice bite size, but as you can probably tell from the picture, there wasn’t nearly enough cream. While the flavor was good, especially because of the red bean paste inside, it was definitely a little on the dry side, which I’m sure could be remedied with more cream. Overall, it was pretty tasty, though, and I gave it a 7/10, while J gave it a 7.5/10.
Going away again from the matcha flavored snacks, we tried this Soft Milk & Strawberry Baumkuchen:
The first thing I noticed about this round cake (besides its cute design) was how amazing it smelled! Straight out of the package, I was like, I must consume. It was super moist and tasted really great, earning it an 8/10 from both of us. I mentioned that I felt like you could really taste the milk flavor, but J looked at me like I was crazy because apparently milk isn’t a flavor. IF IT’S NOT A FLAVOR THEN WHY IS IT CALLED MILK & STRAWBERRY HUH?
Moving on, next we tried the Matcha Kintsuba:
This thing kind of has an odd appearance in my opinion, but it’s basically just red bean paste covered in matcha batter. It’s described as being “refreshingly bitter”, and while that’s not how I would describe it, I can see what they mean, I think. It tasted… quite odd. I think it was mostly the batter that had a hand in this, but it tasted kind of like grass (or rather, what I imagine grass would taste like? I haven’t eaten grass, but it gave off total grass vibes, y’know?). I ended up eating just the red bean part by itself after a couple bites, and that wasn’t so bad, but overall definitely not a tasty treat. We didn’t finish it, and I gave it a 2/10, while J gave it a 3.5/10.
Eighthly, we tried this Matcha Mochi:
My first thought was that this looked like Laffy Taffy. My second thought was that this thing was a total pain to unwrap. I felt incompetent as I tried to peel away that white layer shown in the picture, because it just was not separating. Eventually, I looked at the picture and decided that if it’s shown like that, maybe you’re actually supposed to eat it like that. So we did, and realized we had just been making things harder than they had to be. This mochi bar thingy was extremely chewy, and tasted very strongly of green tea. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite or anything. I gave it a 5/10, and J went with a 7/10.
Back at it again with the monaka snacks, we tried the Yamecha Monaka:
I honestly don’t have a lot to say about this one because it was largely unremarkable. It was very similar to the Matcha Monaka earlier on the list, but the wafer was not as stale, though it was still dry as all hell. The flavor of the Yamecha paste inside was pretty good, though, so I gave it a 6.5/10 and J gave it a 6/10. Pretty standard snack all around.
Our last non-matcha snack of the day is the Sakura Karinto:
Okay, full disclosure, these things are totally the bomb dot com. These are like extra crunchy crackers that are also coated in some sort of sweet flavor dust? They remind me a lot of cinnamon twists from Taco Bell, but crunchier. They came in a pretty sizeable bag, which I totally plowed through because they were so addicting. They earned an 8/10 from both of us! Very yummy.
Back to the matcha, we have the Matcha Azuki Waffle:
Another treat with red beans! Hooray! I was enthralled to eat something that looked like a waffle, but was sorely disappointed when they were dry and tasted weirdly bitter. The bitterness reminded me faintly of like, alcohol smell? They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t great either. I only gave them a 5.5/10, while J gave them a 7.5/10. I love the waffle look, though. More treats should be waffle shaped.
For our last snack, we tried this Matcha Pudding:
Boy howdy, this thing was a wild ride. I couldn’t eat more than one bite. I felt like I was eating slime, not only because of the color but because of the slippery, gross texture. I totally despised it, mostly for consistency purposes. J ended up eating the rest of it and said it was good. According to J it “melts in your mouth” and tastes just like green tea. I’ve mentioned this before, but usually I’m not someone who is sensitive to textures, and I generally like a lot of weird textures, like shredded coconut or Jell-O or flan, but this was just awful. I settled on a 2/10 while J proclaimed it was deserving of an 8/10. To each their own, I suppose.
The other item that came in the April box was this cute cup that totally matches the plate from the previous box:
It would’ve been perfect to pair with the Golden Plum Tea that was also in the box, but I don’t like tea so I didn’t bother trying it because I don’t want to give an unfair review. You can’t eat something you know you hate and then blame it for being bad. But here’s a picture of it if you’re curious:
Honestly, I thought the packaging was nice. Maybe I should’ve tried it and just not given it a review. Hmm.. there’s always next month, I guess.
Anyways, that was everything in Sakuraco’s April box! I really enjoyed this box, but I think I liked March better, though I figure that’s purely because I prefer Sakura flavored things over Matcha. But if you’re someone who loves green tea, I’m sure you would’ve really liked this box!
I’m very excited for next month’s box, and while it was scheduled to be my last box since I only got a three month subscription, I’ll more than likely continue my subscription to Sakuraco! Though continuing the subscription means another hefty $150 (for three months including shipping), it’s a price I’m willing to pay for such fun and unique snacks.
Oh, I also wanted to mention that someone in the comments of my review post mentioned they enjoyed my Japanese snack box review specifically, so I hope that person (and the rest of you) enjoyed this post! Thanks for all your continued support, I hope y’all have a great day!
When I lived in Japan, Baumkuchen was among my most favorite things to buy in every big train station, everywhere. Which I kind of felt bad about – because isn’t it technically German? But I’ve never been to Germany, so Japan was my source to get hooked. I still order boxes of it. From Japan.
“Oh, I also wanted to mention that someone in the comments of my review post mentioned they enjoyed my Japanese snack box review specifically, so I hope that person (and the rest of you) enjoyed this post!”
Woo! I got an Athena shout out. And yes I did enjoy this new Japanese snack box post. I have new treats to look for when I go to the international market next month. Also I’m totally with you on loving bean curd and I really want to learn how to make moon cakes for the next Chinese New Years. Maybe I’ll even blog about it.😆
I’d guess that many or most of these are meant to pair with the tea, so some of the ‘off’ flavors are better when accompanied by a sip.
And maybe you’d like the tea better when paired with these snacks? Worth a try.
Your product photo game is incredible! You could run a nice gig exchanging photos for goods until you get ’em hooked and go pro.
These snacks don’t normally tempt me, but you make them sound (and look) yummy!
Japan is one of the countries I’d most like to visit, but also one of the most potentially problematic due to celiac disease and wheat/barley/rye avoidance.
Even ordinary soy sauce and miso contain wheat, and it doesn’t help that celiac is a European DNA thang virtually unknown in Japan.
Mind you, if being forced to live with a chronic disease that starts with C is my destiny, I’ll take celiac any day. Just gets a bit tiresome being perceived as That picky, whiny guy.
Also I’d just like to say that when the whole pandemic thing has passed and we’re all vaccinated and back to what might pass for regular life, I hope you’ll still be posting on Whatever and doing the occasional product review. I enjoy your voice.
These snack box reviews make me so tempted to subscribe…! One of the last things I did before the pandemic was visit Japan and I could have tried new snacks forever. Milk is totally a flavour, by the way! Especially in Japan where it’s kind of “exotic.” There are some really delicious chewy milk candies that are just milk flavoured; maybe they’ll come in a future box!
Milk is totally a flavor in Japanese products! There is a Japanese milk candy that I love called Mikakuto Tokuno Milk Candy. It’s hard candy that tasted like condensed milk basically.
Nice reviews. Sounds like green tear flavor ruled the day, and you don’t love that? I think I would have to agree with you on the styrofoam consistency one, even without (whew!) having to try it myself. You did a good job this month giving a good idea of the texture, etc. I think I might be with your friend on the pudding one, because I don’t mind that consistency as a rule. Overall, it is not something I am likely to ever get (and yes, I am too cheap to spend this much on snacks I don’t know that I would love), but I enjoyed the rundown. You’re definitely getting better at this.
I am going to succumb to the temptation that I resisted when I read the first review of this box, which is namely to ask why you are so sure you don’t like tea?
Tea is a huge subject. There are really lots of kinds of tea, and the stuff you can find even at a well-regarded specialty shop in North America is likely to not be very good. As well as not being a very good sample of what exists. Also, while the basic method of preparing tea is simplicity itself (put some leaf in a brewing vessel, pour some hot water on it, wait a bit, and then drink) there seem to be a lot of people who have trouble with it. In short, I urge you to find an opportunity to taste some undeniably excellent tea expertly prepared. These Sakuraco boxes are just begging to have their contents washed down with a bit of real, better-than-commodity-grade Japanese tea, like for example.
I also find it kind of weird that you tasted multiple green tea flavored snacks but won’t try tea in tea form. But maybe it’s like people who don’t like coffee but will eat coffee flavored ice cream or have a frappucino?
Thanks for the review! I should have responded to your post about reviews instead of this one, but I love what you write. I actually bought $69 worth of honey lollipops because of you and they were delicious. So, thanks!
FYI, some of these snacks are meant to be dipped in or eaten with the paired tea. This you aren’t getting the right flavors and texture. Also, mochi is generally microwaved for a few seconds, to soften it slightly, then dipped in tea or sweetened soy sauce. Japanese would cut the bar into bite sized pieces, microwave, dip, and chew chew chew. Mochi is super chewy. :)
I missed commenting on your last post, so let me just say that I love your reviews! You are introducing me to products I never would have heard of otherwise, so please keep doing it! 🙂
And this particular review is hitting the spot – as a Japanese-American, I am all about the snacks, especially the mochi ones…an acquired taste, esp. texture-wise, but one I find really delicious. And sweet bean paste? Yum!
J is wrong, milk it definitely a flavour :-) Not just in Japan either, when I was a kid (in the UK) there were Milk Gums which I liked. And Indians have a whole range of sweets based on milk which are really good.
I like hearing about the things you buy, so carry on!
The matcha pudding sounds a fair bit like the matcha pudding I made as an experiment when I wanted to find out how tapioca starch behaves when it’s used to replace the cornstarch in a typical homemade chocolate or vanilla pudding. Answer: it’s slimy. Not mucus slimy or frog-eggs slimy, but an odd ropey slimy that isn’t as sticky as you’d probably expect. I found it only slightly off-putting, but I couldn’t get anyone else to try.
The matcha I used is what’s sold in the US as “food-grade.” It’s supposed to be less bitter than matcha used for tea; I didn’t have any to compare, but I think that’s true. Even so, my pudding had a hint of bitterness.
Overall, I’d make a matcha pudding again, except that I’d use cornstarch and possibly slightly less matcha.
I love these reviews. I’d be signing up for the same subscription in one half a jiffy because it sounds so interesting and delicious. But I’m in New Zealand, and something tells me there’s not even a snowball’s chance in summer that they ship out here.
Keep the reviews coming so I can live vicariously :D
I thoroughly enjoyed this post – from the descriptions to the photos and your writing style.
New Zealand is on their list of countries they ship to.