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WOWBOX Tabi Box Japan Snack Subscription Box Review (March 2021)

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WOWBOX has made a name for it’s self as one of the best Japanese snack boxes on Earth. Every month, choice premium snacks are carefully curated and made available as a special treat to almost anyone with a mailbox!

The Prefecture box now has a new name – the Tabi Box….a Japanese word for travel or journey. Perfectly fitting with the theme for their next snack box release – an adventure to Okinawa Island.

The Tabi Box features local sweet and savory items from the huge array of specialty foods available in Japan.

WOWBOX is having a special bonus snack offer until Feb 28th! Signup for 1 or 3 month plan and get bonus snacks with your WOWBOX! A little special encouragement, plus these snacks are super yummy! 

Image courtesy of Google
Image courtesy of Google

Three hours by air South West of Japan lies Okinawa. A group of about 110 islands and has a capital called Naha. Once you are in Okinawa, you can take short plane rides to the other islands, or even hop on a ferry and enjoy the beautiful waters.

Okinawa Island Beaches

It was only as recent as 500 years ago when the Okinawa islands were an entirely separate country called Ryuku. It’s development has roots in Japanese, Chinese and American styles.

The Okinawa Islands are known for their production of brown sugar, tropical fruits, wheat flower, salt and island pepper (Shima Togarashi) – a spicy red pepper that’s often pickled.

For this tour of Okinawa Island, WOWBOX has picked the best snacks and treats that are readily available in the stores so you can have a first hand taste experience of foods you’ve never even heard of before.

It’s really interesting to discover what the local people love to eat and what types of ingredients are used to make common looking foods like cookies or chips into something quite different.

Let’s jump in and check out the new Tabi Box from WOWBOX Japan.

WOWBOX ships it’s snack boxes via DHL. I’ve had the opportunity to review a few WOWBOX’s and they usually take 3-4 days to travel from Tokyo, Japan to Subcription Box HQ in the USA. All of the boxes were delivered on time and the contents were 100% and in one piece. Even the chip type snacks were still intact.

Here’s a photo to show you how good everything looked right after opening the box. I didn’t move anything inside – you can’t even tell it took a 5,000 mile plane ride!

Gathering the items for a group shot – there’s plenty of snacks and plenty of intrigue. What is that and what is that? No really, what is that purple thing?

The adventure starts right away. The question is how much of an adventure do you want!?

Which one will you try first? Do you try one then look up what it is, or find out what it is and then try it? You choose! That purple one though…that’s gonna be my first try.

#1 Red Potato Tart

These are individually packaged red potato tarts – I can’t help thinking of twice baked potatoes in the US – but a red potato version.

They’ve been awarded the Monde Selection Gold Award for the sixth consecutive year, are are completely natural – no preservatives or coloring at all. The potatoes are sourced directly from Okinawa and are famous in Japan.

Wow, so what you think they taste like, they don’t!

They’re sweet, almost pastry like. The thing that looks like the potato shell hollowed out is actually more like a cake consistency and the purple filling is sweet and creamy.

I’m really surprised by these, I had no idea.

If you were to close your eyes and eat this, you would think you had just eaten a slice of birthday cake. It’s got the same dough-y texture and a sweet, cream frosting like taste.

The red potato gives it the texture, but other than that, I can’t tell there’s potato in it. These red potato tarts shouldn’t be judged by their looks. Wow.

You can easily split one of these snacks into two or three for your family to try and you’ll still have a whole box left. That’s the beauty of WOWBOX.

You have to try these. Amazing. Rich, flavorful, sweet. Yum.

It tastes like birthday cake though? Yes, you have to try it.

#2 Shikuwasa Citrus Fried Peanut Chips

It’s refreshing to see flavor combinations that you just wouldn’t get elsewhere. These are fried crispy chips that are made by crushing peanuts and kneading them into steamed mochi dough. Mochi is a Japanese word for rice cake.

There’s a different citrus element to the chips that sort of takes you by surprise. It’s from the Okinawan Shikuwasa fruit, local to the Okinawa prefecture. A powdered form of the fruit is mixed in with the peanut/rice chips for a really unique snack.

I’ve noticed a lot of Japanese snacks incorporate healthy nutrition benfits and these stay true to that as the Shikuwasa fruit contains a lot of nutrients like vitamin C, B1, carotene, minerals and even helps ease fatigue.

Right after opening the bag you can smell the strong peanut aroma…with a bit of something else that you can’t quite place your finger on.

The consistency is sort of like popcorn, with a combination of sweet and salty flavors. The peanut stays strong and the splash of citrus gives the snack a nice crisp taste.

If you love to snack on nuts, these would be ideal for a change of pace. The citrus adds a new layer of flavor that you don’t typically see with Western snacks.

I love how the Japanese always try and incorporate local foods into their snacks and take advantage of what they have. In America, everything is shipped.

#3 Kekkun-Iejima Wheat Flour Chips

All the ingredients for these salty snacks are directly from Iejima Island in the Okinawa Prefecture. They’re thin, crispy whole grain dough chips that are seasoned to bring out the best flavors in the wheat.

The famers of the wheat used in this snack are particular that no pesticides or chemical fertalizers are used and rely on “EM Technology”, essentially Yeast, Photosynthetic Bacteria, and Lactic Acid Bacteria to grow their crops. Making sure they are healthy and safe to eat has been their motivation for producing this snack for decades.

These are tasty, quite mild and have almost like a nacho chip flavor. Definitely more-ish. They have a sprinkle of salt and are mild tasting, but would be good to snack on when you’re watching a movie or your favorite sports team.

The seasoning is also mild and you can taste the wheat – it’s all very natural tasting and has zero weird artificial flavors, something that Japan excels in!

#4 Chinsuko Mix Flavors

Okinawa’s traditional biscuit!

Making these for well over half a century, Chinpindo creates these Chinsuko biscuits with simple ingredients like flour, sugar, yeast and water. They incorporate more local flavors and use lard instead of butter or vegetable oil for their three different flavors.

  • Plain
  • Brown Sugar
  • Red Potato

These biscuits are a classic souvenir from Okinawa and you’ll get to try it in your own home without the 5,800 mile trip.

Sweet, doughy and perfect for dunking in Japanese tea! Again incorporating Okinawa’s local foods, they taste fresh and don’t have any artificial sweetness that lingers on the tongue.

Red potato again makes an appearance and results in the biscuit having a sweet birthday cake batter like taste.

These are fun treats that are tasty to eat.

#5 Okinawa 8 Island Black Sugar

These are so cute. Little packs of real Okinawa black sugar – there’s 8 different types from the 8 different islands in Okinawa. Each WOWBOX gets two random packets from the 8-set collection.

Each pack contains 100% sugar cane that’s grown on all of the 8 islands – each one has it’s own unique aroma, texture and even color.

The packaging represents each island’s ‘motif’ with their tropical nature and unique cultures. You’ll get two out of this collection

  • Kohama Island (Manta Ray)
  • Ie Island (Easter Lily)
  • Aguni Island (Cycad)
  • Iheya Island, Kanmon Grouper
  • Iriomote Island (Iriomote Cat)
  • Tarama Island (Yashima Dance)
  • Hateruma Island (Southern Cross)
  • Yonaguni Island (Yonaguni Horse)

Yum. These are meant to be sucked on and not chewed up. There’s such a deep, rich sugar flavor – I almost thought it was molasses sugar, but it’s not..it’s cane sugar.

There’s absolutely no artificial anything in these and you can taste that. It tastes super fresh and natural.

It’s interesting to compare the two packets I had in my WOWBOX side by side. Even though the chunks look the same, they had a different take on how the sugar tasted. The blue packet – from Iheya Island – had a rich sugar taste, but the red packet – from Tarama Island (I think!) was a richer and deeper sugar taste.

I’m not sure why, but it’s a really unique experience to try out different natural cane sugar snacks from a bunch of islands 5,000+ miles away. Where else would you get that?

#6 Island Pepper Friend Peanuts Chips

Ah, so the pepper I mentioned earlier that Okinawa is known for, the Shima Togarashi, is used in this spicy treat.

They start with a mochi chip (rice) that’s blended with crpsy shrimp flavored peanuts and finally spinkled with the Okinawan Island Pepper powder for some heat!

The pepper has been cultivated in Okinawa for decades and has a pleasing aroma despite it’s heat.

These are very similar to the Shikuwasa citrus fried peanut chips, but instead of sprinkling citrus powder on the chips, they use the hot pepper – or Island Pepper – and sprinkle that on instead!

The peanut aroma is still very much there and there’s a mild spice with heat as you chew. It’s not super hot, but your tongue will buzz a bit for a while after you’ve finished chewing.

The peanut flavor seems stronger on these, I’m not sure why.

[Edit] The heat doesn’t go away for a while! I was surprised. 10 mins later and I still have a tingle on my tongue and back of my throat. The Island Pepper is hot!

#7 Tankan Omoro

So I totally thought these were lemon sponge cakes.

I’ve had the pleasure of trying them before, and Japan is on fire when it comes to fruit based treats.

You just can’t beat the taste, it’s totally authentic and you can tell it isn’t loaded down with artificial ingredients. It’s really refreshing.

However, lemon sponge cakes these are not.

The fruit used is a Tankan fruit – locally sourced from Okinawa.

Image Credit: Taiken.co

There’s an orange undertone with a citrus lemony crisp finish. It’s quite unique and delicious.

Between the layers of sponge is rich cream cheese that really balances the tart orange and lemon flavors.

Tankan is a member of the citrus family – so that explains the orange and lemon notes – it’s sometimes called the ‘Okinawan tangerine’ and I can totally see why.

These are delicious.

There’s suck a rich lemon aroma at first, the sponge like cake is moist and then out of nowhere you get this orange taste too. It’s like an orange and a lemon made into one fruit, it’s quite delicious.

Like all the other snacks I’ve tried, this one does not taste of artificial anything. It’s 100% pure rich natural flavors and you can tell in each bite it’s fresh.

I’d really recommend trying these, it showcases Japan’s unique methods in creating locally sourced fruit based treats. They can’t be beat.

Summary

The new Tabi Box from WOWBOX is awesome. I really enjoyed the collection of snacks that WOWBOX had curated and the thought that was put into choosing each one.

It’s really more than just trying a new snack. Learning about how the snacks are made and the unique ingredients used takes you on an adventure. Tasting the food is just the tip of the iceberg.

There’s something different about picking up a package of food and being absolutely bewildered about what’s inside. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can go ahead try it – still having zero idea what you’re eating. If you’d like a bit more information before you dive in, you can check out the snack’s description on WOWBOX’s website.

You get to taste the new flavors without first having a bias like you might do at home…..and that makes it a really unique experience.

A WOWBOX would be great fun for a family to try together. One important thing to note – WOWBOX includes full sized, premium snacks. So there are plenty to share with your family and enough for you to get a second piece when you discover you love one!

This is my favorite WOWBOX I’ve reviewed so far.

WOWBOX is having a special bonus snack offer until Feb 28th! Signup for 1 or 3 month plan and get bonus snacks with your WOWBOX! A little special encouragement, plus these snacks are super yummy! 

You can try these treats yourself and get your own WOWBOX here. They’re currently having a special, usually $55 but on sale for $47. That includes shipping direct from Japan too.

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