self care gifts

WOWBOX Japan Health & Beauty Box Review (Holidays 2020)

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WOWBOX is the best way to sample Japan’s culture and snacks. They specialize in selecting premium Japanese candy, savory snacks and drinks.

We got our hands on their Holidays 2020 Health & Beauty box and couldn’t wait to check it out!

WOWBOX has curated a special kind of subscription box that not only aims to simply showcase crazy delicious Japanese snacks, but to show off their knack for creating healthy snacks.

P.s. Check out this review of WOWBOX’s health and beauty box from last month.

If you’re thinking about gift giving, this could be a great idea for someone that’s health conscious but loves adventure and trying new things.

This box is made especially for those who want to keep a healthy diet through the holidays, but also treat themselves to premium snacks and candy from the other side of the planet.

It’s a 2-for-1 and would be an excellent health conscious gift for someone adventurous or that loves to travel.

WOWBOX isn’t a company that imports Japanese snacks to the USA and then distributes it, they are the real deal. 

Because they’re based in Japan, they get first access to new snacks and candy and are able to work with local vendors to include items that wouldn’t normally be seen internationally.

Here’s how the box was shipped. There was a shipping label on the top – where the plastic wallet looking thing is on the photo.

WOWBOX put this box together with holiday gift giving in mind, the bow pattern on the box is a nice idea and hints at the themed content inside.

Idea: If you’re going to gift this to someone, add your own real bow. It’ll really dress the box up.

The shipping and invoice paperwork is attached to the box via a plastic pocket, so you could easily remove it and the box is ready for gift giving.

What about when you ship it to someone, do they see the invoice and purchase info? I need to find this out. How does bill to / ship to work? Let me ask WOWBOX and get back to this

Note: This box is WOWBOX’s “Health & Beauty Box”. The card (above photo) was supposed to be flipped. 🙂

When you open the box, there’s a layer of paper protecting the snacks. I liked this better than the plastic air pockets because it adds a more premium and sort of artisan feel to what you’re about to see…the snacks!

First impression after opening it?

This is gonna be fun 🙂

Let’s take everything out of the box and see what goodies there are to explore!

Something I noticed as I was arranging the different treats for the group photo above – the packaging of each snack feels premium. It doesn’t feel cheap. 

I think this is a great sign for two reasons.

First, if the packaging is quality, the contents inside has a good chance of being quality, but secondly if the makers of each snack wanted to package them so well, they must think their snacks are worth keeping fresh and damage free.

I might be completely wrong on this hunch, so if they’re all really horrible tasting, forget I said the above!

WOWBOX includes a mix of fruity, savory and sweet flavors so you can really try the variety of snacks all at once.

From checking out WOWBOX’s last health and beauty box, I already know Japan has KILLER strawberries so I’m excited to see if they’re included some way in this holiday treat box.

Let’s dig in!

1. Mochiya Potato Chips

Potato chips Japanese style.

  • Mashed potatoes & mashed rice
  • Cut into fat chips.
  • Fry it up.
  • Light salt.
  • Boom.

These are Japanese style potato chips that were created when a 50 year old mochi restaurant called “Mochiya” (mochi are rice cakes) took a traditional rice cracker called “Sanzhen” and remixed it into this.

It’s different than the typical American potato chip because it’s made from mashed potatoes and rice.

Normally potato chips are sliced thin and fried.

These are cut thick and have a light sprinkling of salt to enhance the flavor.

I noticed the date stamp says 21.02.25. 2025? We will be living on the moon by then, that’s crazy long.

So what do they taste like?

It’s like a combo of a salted Pringle and a fresh batch of McDonalds fries.

They would be amazing paired with a sub or sandwich and are super crunchy. They really do have a McDonalds fry thing going on and they’re very more-ish. 

They also have a splash of nacho chip taste in there too. A tasty snack.

2. Ginger Brown Sugar

I tried to figure this one out without looking at my cheat sheet, but I couldn’t!

That’s part of the fun though, right?

This is a packet of ginger and brown sugar drops. I think they’re intended to be dropped into a hot drink – like tea – and stirred to sweeten the drink.

It’s made from premium Okinawa black molasses, ginger and other natural ingredients.

Ginger brown sugar is a long-standing delicacy in Japan and recipes have been passed down in families from generation to generation.

The ginger brown sugar mix will sweeten any drink and the natural minerals found in it are loaded with antioxidants that help prevent stress and damage to the bodies DNA.

So looking on the back of the packaging (above) it looks like these are meant to be mixed in with a drink (tea?), soup and meals in general.

I’m curious about the taste so I’ll just try it neat.

Wow, sweetness from the molasses and an almost caramelly ginger flavor lingering at the back.

If I bite down on the piece I took, I get a super intense ginger burst so I wonder if they take parts of the ginger root and coat it in the molasses sugar?

The sweetness mellows out the ginger quite well. The ginger tastes fresh and you can feel a light burn at the back of your throat. 

I’m wondering if this would be part of the ingredients to make a Japanese version of chicken noodle soup to eat when you’re sick. I still taste the ginger and molasses sweetness 10 minutes after I’d finished eating them.

It’s a pleasant taste and I can see how it would work really well in tea, soups and dinners. Maybe in a stir fry?

These are a great idea and are portioned out so you can just pick up a piece and easily cut or tear the piece to the size you think you’ll need.

I’m curious if there are any other kind of food enhancers like this or if the manufacturers have other versions.

These are really flavorful, if I were a tea drinker this would be worth trying out for sure.

3 a.) Féve Christmas Candies – Almond & Caramel Banana Mix

These next two treats are from the same company and have great packaging, they feel premium and the little English text I could read definitely piqued my interest.

So what’s Féve? Féve is the name of a a natural dessert shop in a city called Jiyugaoka  – an hour or two North of Kawasaki, Japan.

Head pastry chef Hiraki Tsujiguchi has a line of these snack bags, but he wanted to launch a healthy edition specifically for Christmas.

He came up with the two different types that I’m going to taste test, for research.

If you didn’t know, check this out – almonds contain a lot of viatmin E and have anti-aging effects. They are excellent to snack on when dieting. 

But do they taste good?

The almonds have an m&m crunch, but inside there’s a sweetness that hides behind a more savory flavor.

Imagine how pistachios taste, a bit sweet but more savory.

That must mean the other pieces are banana with caramel coating.

These are much more sweet, they kind of have a caramel corn thing going on with a hint of burnt-ness.

Mixed with the almonds, it’s quite a complex flavor. Lots of boldness mixing together with every chew.

The almonds balance the deep caramel flavor nicely. I’m wondering how the other flavor will taste…

3. b) Féve Christmas Candies –  Cashew Nuts & Baked Apple

The packaging couldn’t be more Christmas!

This is another of Feve’s Christmas collections. It’s a blend of cashew nuts and roasted apple pieces that have a light cinnamon touch.

So where’s the health and beauty part?

Ah, well this box is a specialty Japanese health and beauty snack box.

You can eat these and feel good knowing that the lipids of cashew nuts are loaded with energy boosters and that they help improve your skin and level up your metabolism.

Apples are stuffed full of goodness like fiber, vitamins and minerals so that’s a win too.

As soon as I opened the stay-fresh bag I was hit with fresh apple. It’s almost akin to the smell of cider. Very sweet and almost an oversweetness where it turns sour.

The cashews are coated in a sweet frosting, it’s almost yogurty but has a cinnamon flavor too.

Have you ever been to the mall at Christmas time and they’re flooding it with fresh roasted nuts and cinnamon? That’s what the cashews taste like, with a splash of cider.

The chunk of apple that was accompanying the cashews was quite a bit milder than I had expected. I thought it was responsible for the hurricane blast of fruit flavor I got when I opened the bag, but maybe not so.

It’s a pleasant fresh apple flavor, and mixed with the cashews it really just feels like I took a scoop up of apple pie and started chewing on it.

It’s tasty.

I’ve reviewed a few Japanese snacks now and one trend I’m noticing is that non of their snacks tasted artificial. It actually tasted the opposite, fresh and real.

This combo wins over the almond & caramel bananas, it works really well. You have to taste it and check it out yourself.

Maybe you’d like the caramel bananas more?

4. Japanese Wild Vegetable Crisp Chips

I like the look of these. Bright crispy and….flavorsome? 

This company has been producing the wild vegetable crisp chips for 33 years. They stuck to the same time-tested “Tikama Handyang” methods and recipe. 

  • Japanese rice oil
  • Tanegashima brown sugar
  • Naruto sea salt
  • Simple seasoning

I can identify some of the items in the bag:

  • Lotus Root
  • Sweet Potato
  • Green beans
  • Zucchini / Corgette 

These are so colorful!

I could only name a handful of the veggies included, so let’s just take a bite and see what it’s all about.

I tried one of the purple chips (seen above). 

It’s a plain flavor, lightly salted but has an interesting super light spice on the aftertaste. Like a potato chip with a few grains of sugar on it.

The green bean tastes like a green bean with a sprinkle of salt and the Lotus root is similar, but has a more plant-y texture when you’re chewing it.

These are definitely a healthy snack, they’re dried instead of fried and only have a sprinkle of salt on them. 

It does have an interesting mixture of sweet and salty that stays while after you’ve finished eating a chip.

5. Ryukyu Chocolate

– Okinawa Prefecture –

This was one treat I spotted almost right away after opening the box. 

I’m a self certified professional chocolatier.

This is something different though.

It’s hand made with the best brown sugar from Okinawa and blended with 72% dark chocolate from Ghana, West Africa.

The idea behind this is that the slightly bitter 72% dark chocolate is tamed by the buttery smooth brown sugar that takes the bite away.

They say this isn’t so much a sweet chocolate, but a savory treat. 

Savory? I’ll have to check that.

When I first opened the bag, I got a huge blast of cocoa flavor.

It was just as though I opened a can of cocoa powder or hot chocolate mix.

The chocolate pieces are a lot denser than we’d find in the USA and I understand why they say they won’t melt as easy. 

They’re made more like a compressed powder that’s been shaped into chocolate pieces. It’s very similar to unsweetened baking chocolate we’d find in the USA, a almost chalky taste.

The makers used pure cane sugar to try and balance the bitterness of the cocoa and it works quite well, but I can tell it’s missing the dairy element that’s normal in Western chocolates.

6. Pure Plus Series Strawberry Flavor

Strawberry candies to die for with a bonus shot of protein.

They’re even fat free and offer up to 6,000mg of protein per serving.

I can’t work out what a serving size is because it’s in Japanese!

These are perfect if you’re watching what you eat ..or not watching actually..

The description I found online said “strawberry milk fudge”

Yes please! Let’s dive in.

Oh my goodness.

Japan is now my official strawberry capital of Earth.

I cracked open the bag and it’s just like I picked the most pristine juicy perfectly ripe strawberries and threw them in a blender. I’m not sure if its possibly to smell any more strawberry-ish. It’s maxed out.

They have a sweet tang – almost going into sour territory at first – but then they just burst through with fresh strawberry flavor.

They do have a bit of a weird aftertaste – not sure if that’s the protein element, but the strawberry juiciness pushes through long after you’ve swallowed it.

Not sure what the strawberry milk fudge is all about, but they’re yummy that’s for sure!

7. Hello Kitty Millet Biscuit

Ok so yeah, millet biscuit doesn’t sound very appealing…but i’ll give these an American smooth sounding name by the time I’m done with them.

If you didn’t know what millet is, it’s a small seeded grass plant that is grown worldwide. Fancy, not so much.

From what I can gather, the manufacturer of these kinds of snacks has been doing it for over a decade and this recent tag team with Hello Kitty is a bit special. 

Hello Kitty is popular in Japan, so finding limited edition themed treats like this is normal. 

The snacks themselves are said to have a combo of salty and sweet and are a popular snack in Japan.

So what do they taste like?

They’ve got a light salty taste and a almost dry buttery flavor that keeps you wanting just one more. They remind me of animal crackers, but with cooler designs.

I couldn’t tell it was made from millet and got just a hint of a frying oil on the after taste.

These are super easy to snack on, somehow they’ve got a sweetness about them too. Good for dunking in coffee or tea.

Round Up And Final Thoughts

From my professional Japan snacking experience, it almost seems like the Japanese love to include bold flavors in their food, but balance them out with complimentary flavors.

I saw this in the almond and caramel bananas, the ginger and molasses food boosters and the 72% dark chocolate with Okinawa’s brown sugar.

This Japan snack box from WOWBOX had a premium feel from the moment I received it on my doorstep.

  • It’s a good sized, sturdy box that’s custom designed for WOWBOX. They gave thought to add a bow decoration.
  • Opening it feels like a treasure chest
  • Tasteful packaging
  • The variety of snacks is wide – savory, sweet, salty, juicy
  • The high quality ingredients used in each one
  • No samples, just full sized product

If you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift, get them this.

For about $50 you can give them the opportunity to travel to another place that’s 6,000 miles away and try their food, take a peak into their culture and experience another way of life for a few minutes.

Opening the box for the first time is magical. It feels like you’re opening a treasure chest because you lift the top, pull aside the packing paper and reveal the contents inside. That never gets old.

But it’s worth noting that there’s something unique about not being able to decipher the contents of a bag or box.

If you can at least read the letters on the packaging, it’s somewhat comforting that you aren’t a complete alien to the environment.

Here though, it’s different. 

The letters don’t make sense, the icons and symbols are completely foreign and trying to figure out what on earth is inside is puzzling and fun at the same time.

Gift them a Japanese food experience that they’ve never had, WOWBOX is ready to deliver the goods.

Get your box or gift it directly for $50 at the WOWBOX website here.

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