Sakuraco August Box Review
Posted on August 14, 2021 Posted by Athena Scalzi 19 Comments
Hello, everyone, and welcome to your regular monthly Japanese snackbox review! Today I’ll be reviewing Sakuraco’s August box. I wanted to mention that in the comments of a recent post of mine, several people told me that they really enjoy these particular posts, and some even said that these posts are their favorite kind! Funnily enough, they’re my favorite to do, so I’m very happy that so many of you wonderful people seem to enjoy them.
Moving on, if you haven’t heard of Sakuraco before, they are a company that strives to bring you an assortment of authentic Japanese tea time goods, including different snacks such as cakes, mochi, senbei, and much more. Each monthly box also features a home good item, such as a bowl or cup. Each month has a theme, and this month’s theme was Okinawa. I think the idea of having a place be the theme is really cool. They did that for July as well, with the theme being Hokkaido.
Without further ado, let’s dive in to this month’s box! I reviewed this one with a friend of mine, so I’ll include some of their thoughts and rating alongside mine.
First up, these Kombu Arare Crackers:
These crackers are seriously addicting. They’re so small and snackable, it’s a good thing there’s so many in the bag! There were three different flavors of the rice crackers in the bag: seaweed, shrimp, and soy sauce. My personal favorite of the three was the shrimp flavor, but the other two were really tasty, too. Pleasantly crunchy with a bit of a toasty flavor to them, these were an easy 8/10 for my friend, and a 7/10 for myself.
Next up was the Issa Senbei:
The first thing you’ll notice about these ornate crackers is that they are oddly sweet. They almost seem like they shouldn’t be classified as a cracker at all. Not that I didn’t totally love the sweetness, unexpected as it was. This senbei was not only delicious, but had a very pleasant texture, as well. I would definitely eat more of these if given the chance. My friend did not like them as much, and was off-put by the sweetness, so they only rated them a 5/10, while I gave it a 9/10.
Third, we had the Beni Imo Pie:
Honestly, this lil’ guy did not have a lot going on. It was pretty dry, a little sweet, but mostly just tasted like a sweet potato. Of course, the purple sweet potato is a key feature of Okinawa, so the purple color is natural. The sweet potato filling is accompanied by sweet red bean, so it was pretty good overall. My friend and I both thought it was pretty okay, so we gave it a 7/10.
Following that, we have the Snow Salt Chinsuko:
These little cookies are the bomb dot com! Dense, buttery shortbread, sprinkled with a hint of salt that compliments the subtle sweetness of the cookie? So yummy. I could seriously eat a whole box of these. They’re a little on the small side, but rumor has it the best things come in small packages. My friend totally agreed on how tasty these were, and we both gave them a 9/10.
Next up is the Kogane Shikuwasa Manju:
As soon as you open the package for these soft little cakes, you’ll be greeted by a wonderfully fresh orange scent. These cakes tasted as good as they smelled, with just the right amount of sweetness mixed with the tangy orange flavor. They were light and airy, and overall super delicious! They earned themselves a 9/10 from my friend, and a 10/10 from me.
Sixthly, we have the Yuzu Monaka:
I could’ve sworn I had this exact thing in a previous box, but I looked through the past couple ones and didn’t see it. Anyways, yuzu is a citrus fruit, and normally I really like citrus flavored stuff, but this one was kinda meh. Plus, the monaka was disappointing as usual, since it was dry and crumbly instead of crispy. The jelly inside was pretty alright, nothing spectacular, but my friend didn’t like the texture of the jelly, so, my friend gave it a 6/10 and I deemed it a 5/10.
Next on the list are these Mini Salted Tofu Chips:
Oh my goodness these slap. They’re crispy, salty, seaweedy goodness that you will surely demolish in no time. I would eat these regularly if I could. They are so addicting, you won’t be able to stop eating them until you’ve finished the whole bag. A lot of umami flavors going on, but not in an overwhelming way. These earned a 9/10 from both of us.
Following that, we have the Brown Sugar Shisa Candy:
Another absolute banger of a snack. If you have ever had brown sugar milk tea, these taste exactly like that creamy sugary goodness we all know and love. These are like if brown sugar milk tea was condensed into a tiny candy and solidified, and they are so delicious. There was actually a surprising amount of these hard candies in the bag, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. And they last around fifteen minutes (assuming you don’t bite them)! Plus, they are adorably shaped, as they come in the shape of shisa, which are mythological guardian lions. These were an easy 10/10 from both of us.
Ninthly, we have these Lightly Salted Red Bean Manju:
Upon first appearance, these kind of look like mini corn dogs. Anyways, you all know I love red bean, but the flavor of these was underwhelming. Also, the cake was weirdly firm, and honestly pretty dry. This little cake was largely unremarkable, so it only got a 6/10 from my friend, and a 5/10 from me.
Following up with another manju, we have the Brown Sugar Manju:
Fortunately, this manju was much better than the previous one. I feel like you can tell just by looking at it that it is the superior manju. It was soft, with just a little bit of a chewy texture, and tasted like molasses. Personally, I really love a rich, molasses flavor, so this cake did not disappoint. My friend gave it a 7/10 and I went with an 8/10.
Next up, we have the Apple and Mango Melange Jelly:
I’m sure many of you know by now how much I dread eating these damn jelly cups. They’re always so grossly textured, and sadly this one was no different. I seriously cannot stand the slimy, slippery-ness of these cup jelly things, but at least the flavor of this one was pretty good. It tasted like applesauce! My friend agrees with me about the texture, but says that the flavor almost makes it redeemable, so they gave it a 5/10, while I settled on a 4/10.
Twelfthly, we have these Beni Imo Donuts:
These look a lot more like donut holes than donuts to me, but let’s get dwindle on technicalities. These donut ball things were hard, dry, and overall just seemed pretty stale. I feel like maybe if I heated them up and they softened a bit they’d be better? Because honestly the flavor was perfectly good, it just seemed like they were normal donut holes that had sat out too long and became hard. The dryness didn’t really bother my friend, so they gave it an 8/10, and while the flavor was pretty good, I had to go with a 6/10.
As we start to wrap things up, we have the Beni Imo Tarte:
I feel like just by looking at this, you can tell it was the worst item in the box. Like what is that appearance! Also, it was so tiny, like one and half bites worth of pastry going on there. I almost didn’t try it because it literally smelled like dog food. My friend agreed, but we persevered and tried it anyways, and fortunately it did not taste how it smelled. In fact, it didn’t really taste like anything. There was practically no flavor! My friend was a little less harsh on this purple pastry, and gave it a 5/10, while I gave it a 2/10.
Lastly, for the snacks, we have the Shiquwasa Jelly:
Okay, here we have another jelly. However, I finally wised up to the fact I hate these damn jelly things, and I froze it. That’s right, I turned it into sherbet. Am I a mad genius? Some would say yes, but others would say that the booklet description says “enjoy it chilled or try it frozen as a sorbet”. I have to say, freezing these things is a game changer. I wish I had frozen the other one, since, as I mentioned, the flavor was good. Freezing this one turned it from that yucky looking slime into a copycat lemon Italian ice. It was actually super enjoyable! The lemon flavor was so refreshing, and not artificial tasting at all. I don’t think this would have worked as well with a jelly that wasn’t citrus flavored. Like I doubt red bean jelly would taste good all icy and sorbet-y. After about ten minutes, it started to thaw and return to its jelly form, and it became kind of gross to me again. So, in it’s frozen form only, my friend and I give it an 8/10. I have no idea what the rating would have been like if I had just eaten it as is. Probably a solid three or four, if I had to guess from past jelly experiences.
Now that we’re through all the snacks, we have the home good. This is a Sakura Pattern Owan Bowl:
I honestly love the appearance of this little bowl, the design and colors are super cute, and its tiny size is adorable, as well. It is plastic, but the booklet says that it is microwave and dishwasher safe, which is a notable improvement from some of the past items which are neither or only one of the two. This is definitely one of my favorite home good items I’ve received over the past several months.
Finally, we have the tea.
In case you don’t remember from previous posts, I never drink the teas because I feel it is unfair to rate something I know I don’t like. Alas, even though I love everything about tea aesthetically speaking, I really don’t like consuming tea, so I never try the ones that come in the box. The booklet says this tea has a Jasmine flavor, which honestly sounds appealing. I’ve never had Jasmine tea. Maybe I should give it a try.
So, there you have it! This box definitely had some good stuff, but I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite or anything. I’m not sure sure if this one would even be in my top three. But it was awesome nonetheless! I love trying tons of new stuff every month, and I highly recommend Sakuraco. If you want to give it a try, you can find the pricing for subscriptions here.
If you get Sakuraco as well, what was your favorite snack this month? If you don’t, what snack here looks or sounds the best to you? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!
Jasmine tea generally tastes very much more of jasmine flowers, and very little of tea (the tea part is usually a very mild green tea, which is itself not very much like black tea at all).
Because of your reviews both of my nieces who are turning 17 this summer are getting subscriptions. They are a big hit so you have my deepest gratitude. Otherwise I had no idea what to get someone turning 17.
Red bean ice cream is excellent, very popular in Japan, and in Hawaii, red beans with shaved ice is a popular sweet. Also, jelly cups are shelf stable, but usually kept refrigerated, then served cold. The warmth of your mouth melts the jelly to coat your tongue, so that the flavor hits all the zones. A sip of hot tea before and after each small bite enhances the effects.
I used to get japanese snack boxes before I developed celiac disease and I really love how you describe the texture and flavor of each item, I can easily picture how they would be to eat.
Is that Beni Imo Pie wrapper showing a use by date of 2008 or do the kanji mean soemthing else, because it looks like it is formatted as if it were a use by date?
Jasmine tea is very aromatic and flowery. It’s great iced.
Japanese donuts are supposed to be round balls! A long time ago, my wife and I used to frequent a small Japanese restaurant, owned by an Okinawan immigrant and her Marine husband. They had this great little quick serve restaurant where she was a mad wizard in the kitchen. Every so often she would hand make Japanese donuts, they were always these round balls with a flavorful and more dense texture than the standard grocery store cake donuts. She used a technique that utilizes chopsticks to stir the dough. She’d all but quit making them by the time we got married, but a polite request for them as a wedding treat scored us 2 very large boxes full of them. Gods I miss that place.
I subscribed to these boxes after reading your first review, Athena, and I like them very much.
I pretty much agree with everything you say in your reviews, except I don’t have the problem you have with the little dishes of jelly-like stuff, and I quite enjoyed that mango-y one in this box.
I also like teas, so I don’t have a problem there, either.
In summary, I suppose I’m saying I like most everything you like and I also like the two categories of foods in these boxes you are not so keen on, so I guess that means I like everything! Thanks for teaching me about these subscriptions.
As always, love the review. Freezing the jelly – brilliant idea!
@crypticmirror: I’d think it much more likely that the 21 is the year so that date reads as 2021-08-08.
@Athena: As other have said, I’d suspect that some of the dryer entries here are meant to be dipped in the tea. I’m not a big tea drinker myself, but think you ought to try the jasmine.
Thanks to you, I signed up for the boxes. I loved everything I ate in the box. The kombu arare went to hubby and Dad as I’m allergic to seafood. My review is on my Dreamwidth and my LJ page. Also, I did a review on the site itself for added points. I might be getting my box earlier than yours, as my snacks don’t seem very dry.
As a lover of Japanese food, I enjoy these reviews. I’m also a big tea drinker, and would like to say that if your exposure to tea has been Lipton or such like, you should branch out to real oriental teas.
There is a really wide variety from Lapsang Souchong, a heavier smoked tea, thru Darjeeling and Oolong to the paler green teas. If you don’t like one, try another. Read up on them, then try a few at a shop.
My current fav is Wuyi Oolong, but all of the Oolong teas are good. Wuyi is a little expensive, but mild. No sugar, ever.
Wife didn’t like iced tea, because she had always been served it sweetened — my father liked his iced tea straight, no sugar, and when wife tried that, with a bit of fresh lemon, she was sold. This was 50 years ago now. My grandma, dad’s MIL, started reserving some unsweeted tea just before she added the sugar to the famil pitcher. Wife tried that, has been drinking unsweetened iced tea ever since.
I wonder if the jellies would be good stirred into cottage cheese or yogurt?
I would be curious whether or not combining one of the dry seeming pastries with some of the jelly would improve it, as we might do with Western cuisine.
I do like the sound of the lemon jelly iced. I was just telling my daughter how, when I was a kid, we couldn’t afford popsicles, so we would pour juice in an ice cube tray, wrap the tray in plastic wrap, then stick toothpicks upright down through the plastic wrap, one per cube, and leave them in the freezer to make little frozen treats. This worked well with orange juice, but lemonade was actually relatively weak in flavor, once frozen.
Ah, yeah, that would make sense.
You twisted my arm :) into subscribing and this was my first box. I was going to say that the jellies recommended freezing, and that made them both delightful. (I’ve already had the September box, which did not have the recommendation about freezing, and I had a bite and then froze those, and freezing makes ALL the difference.)
My favorite was the Snow Salt Chinsuko, but I would have preferred it with less salt.
The Beni Imo doughnuts seemed good to me.
The two things I disliked were the Issa Cracker and ONE of the flavors in the Kombu Arare Cracker mix. I’m pretty sure now that I detest seaweed flavor.
Both the items claiming to be brown sugar flavored taste like molasses, and I am old enough to remember when brown sugar was NOT molasses-flavored white sugar, but its own excellent flavor, so those were disappointing to me.
The tea was an excellent flavor, but a bit too subtle for me. (The upcoming September tea tasted like grass-clippings, apparently on purpose, so I was thankful it was subtle.)
Also, I am of a critical nature, but even though I complained about many of the items, I enjoyed the box experience tremendously.
Yay, another Sakura box review! For this one my reactions were pretty much in sync with yours, though I don’t mind the jelly-textures. (Can see how they might be even better frozen, but I liked ’em anyway – though the Shikuwasa one tasted really artificial to me.) My favorite items: the Yuzu Monaka, the Kogane Shikuwasa Manju, the Snow Salt Chinsuko (sooo good), Mini Salted Tofu Chips (addicting) and Kombe Arare Crackers. I also liked the Beni Imo Pie, though it was so very tiny.
Of the boxes I’ve had so far, the melon-themed one was my favorite, but I’m enjoying the variety very much.
Given that you don’t care for the jelly treats in the snack box, how do you feel about that American classic, Jell-o? I like the jelly treats (being able to get them on their own here in HI), but then again, I like finger Jell-o (the Jell-o made with extra jell, so you can pick it up by hand rather than using a utensil).
I haven’t had breakfast yet. It ALL looks marvelous!
Similar to the Kombu Crackers, there’s a snack I used to get at a Japanese supermarket in Los Angeles: Aji-no-gonomi made by a company called Bourbon. If you can find those, buy a whole box!