Sakuraco March 2021 Unboxing & Review
Ever since Snakku went on a hiatus nearly a year ago at the start of quarantine, I’ve been really missing my monthly deliveries of authentic Japanese snacks from small local shops. This is why I was ecstatic when I heard about a new service that emerged to fill that void. Sakuraco aims to introduce subscribers to locally-sourced Japanese tea, sweets, snacks, and cute house goods (chopsticks, ceramics, etc.) In March 2021, Sakuraco invites us to Discover Sakura with an assortment of snacks curated around the cherry blossom season.
HOW IT WORKS:
For $37.50/month + shipping ($32.50/month if you prepay for a year) Sakuraco subscribers receive a selection of premium hand-picked artisan-made snacks, sweets, and tea sourced from small shops in Japan, plus fun extra goodies like chopsticks or small ceramics. Click here to check it out.
COUPON: Use code GRANDPT2 at checkout for an extra discount – calculated at checkout based on your chosen plan. Expires 3/31/21.
IN THE BOX:
1 // Ash Food Entertainment Okayama White Peach Castella – This was one of my favorite treats from the March box! Okayama prefecture is famous for its peaches, and this castella made with fresh peach puree is doing an amazing job showcasing this local flavor. It was so fragrant and flavorful that I wished I could have the whole cake!
2 // Haraya Red Bean Taiyaki – These fish-shaped soft pancakes with sweet filling inside are very popular in Japan and overseas, and every sweets shop and bakery puts their own unique spin on it. Haraya, for example, has been in business for over 100 years and definitely perfected this classic recipe. I enjoyed the flavor, the pancake and the azuki bean filling were sweet and paired perfectly with unsweetened green tea.
3 // Nisshindo Confectionary Strawberry Castella – This sweet treat consists of a thin, almost pancake-like brown sugar castella folded with strawberry-infused cream filling. Delicious, refreshing, and not crazy sweet. Pure perfection!
4 // Ash Food Entertainment Uji Matcha Castella – I’m pretty obsessed with all things green tea, which includes matcha, so of course I was excited to try this castella. It had a very rich matcha flavor and even had some of that pleasant bitterness which was contrasted by sweet azuki beans. Sakuraco described this as a “mature treat” and I totally agree! It’s like drinking coffee black kind of flavor so it’s not for everyone, but those who love it will love it.
5 // Nakajima Taishodo Yoshino Kuzumochi – This snack is a type of pudding that looks like jello in a cup. It also comes with two little topping packets: brown sugar syrup and nutty “kinako” powder. This dessert won’t be for everyone due to the unique flavor of the mochi and the toppings but I really liked it!
6 // Strawberry Dorayaki – Dorayaki is a type of Japanese pancake sandwich that usually has a sweet filling. I only ever tried dorayaki with sweet bean filling before, so trying a strawberry-flavored one was fun! Also, this had to be the biggest dorayaki I’ve ever seen! I couldn’t eat the whole thing in one go and split it between two days. It tasted like homemade pancakes with strawberry jam, a very nostalgic flavor.
7 // Bankokuya Peach Sandwich – Loving all things peach right now and this soft mini cake was no exception. It was super fragrant and paired well with a cup of warm soymilk. Don’t diss it till you try it! 😉
8 // Japan Green Tea Center Sweet Sakura Tea – Each packet makes a small cup of tea and if you have transparent cups it’s even better – this way you get to see the flowers “bloom” in the water. I really liked the delicate fragrance but the flavor was a bit mild for my taste so I added two leaves of oolong tea and then it was perfect. Fun fact: these sakura buds can be re-dried and used in baking to add a surprising salty kick.
9 // Nakajima Taishodo Sakura Strawberry Crepe Roll – I’m not really a rolled wafer person and usually think they’re kinda meh, but this one was exceptional! Super flavorful, like eating fresh ripe strawberries. Probably the best wafer roll I’ve ever had in my life!
10 // Ebisu Confectionary Sakura Madeleine – This was another fantastic treat that I enjoyed. The sakura flavor was very mild, and the madeleine had more of a rhubarb flavor to it, but it was still super delicious. Also, it’s pink inside!
11 // Tenkei Confectionary RN Sakura Mochi Monaka – I’m used to monaka being smaller so I was surprised to see the size of this one – it’s as big as two regular-sized monaka! This treat consists of sweet red bean paste flavored mochi and salted sakura petals sandwiched between two thin rice wafers. Definitely, a unique flavor that you don’t get to experience often around here.
12 // Sasaki Confectionary Sakura Konpeito – Konpeito is a popular traditional Japanese sugar snack that looks like tiny multi-colored stars. I am personally not a fan of konpeito because it tastes like plain sugar, but a lot of people love these and even bring them as souvenirs from Japan.
13 // Ito Confectionary Sakura Monaka – Speaking of which, this is what regular-sized monaka look like, they’re roughly half the size of the one above. These monaka also have sakura-flavored red bean filling, but the texture is much smoother and more uniform, plus the flavor is more tart. It was fun to try both kinds!
14 // Blooming Sakura Mini Plate – One of the reasons I subscribed to Sakuraco is because I love Japanese housewares, and I couldn’t wait to see what we receive in the box this month. Looks like all subscribers got a cute sakura plate, perfect to serve all those snacks on!
15 // Sugi Confectionary Sakurasen Cracker – Okay, what’s so special about a single cracker? Nothing, or so I thought, but I couldn’t be more wrong. This single cracker is bursting with rich seafood umami flavor and it’s infused with salty sakura as well. So pretty to look at and super satisfying to snack on! Not going to lie, I wish I had a whole box of these.
16 // Kanazawa Kenroku Confectionary Sakura Shrimp Senbei – On the other hand, this shrimp cracker didn’t really taste like shrimp to me, but more like dried squid or dried fish – it definitely had some of that fermented flavor. I didn’t care for it to be honest, but it’s just my personal preference.
17 // Sakurado Confectionary Mini Sakura Senbei – These little crackers are the cutest thing ever – each one is shaped like sakura flowers, some of which are pink and others are pure white. These were supposed to be shrimp-flavored but the shrimp flavor must’ve been really mild because I couldn’t really taste it, and the soy sauce flavor was too prominent. The white ones were intentionally flavorless.
This was an amazing inaugural box for Sakuraco, with so many fun treats and snacks to try! They certainly started with a bang and I hope this trend continues. There were a couple of things I didn’t care for, but for the most part, everything was delicious and the snacks lasted me about 2 weeks. If you’re still on the fence, I recommend trying this service sooner than later, because subscription boxes tend to go down in quality as their subscriber base grows. Not saying this will definitely happen to Sakuraco, but from my past experience, it’s better to get in on this while it’s still fresh.
Spoiler for April: it’s going to be all about matcha!! Sign up by 3/31 to receive the next month’s box.