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12 Unique Japanese Snacks You Need to Try

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Japanese Candy and Snacks
Image credit: Vinicius Amano/Unsplash

Here in America, we got dealt a sad, undiverse card when it comes to snacks. One look at the snack aisle, and you’ll always spot a boring bag of Doritos, a family-sized bag of Lay’s Potato Chips, and worst of all, those styrofoam-esque cheese fingers that we call Cheetos.

Japan’s snack industry towers over ours in terms of creativity and tastiness. Once you enter the world of Japanese snacks, there’s no going back.

Here are some of the most unique Japanese snacks that are bound to satisfy all of your strange cravings:

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1. Pocky

Let’s start with the basics. If you’ve ever been curious about Japanese snacks at all, you’ve probably heard of Pocky, and you might’ve even seen them in the international aisle at your grocery store.

A pack of original Pocky comes with several long, thin biscuits dipped in delicious chocolate. The coating comes in different flavors like cookies and cream, green tea, strawberry, banana, coconut, and more. Chomping on this snack never gets old when you have so many flavors to choose from.

2. Wacky Kit Kats

Yes, we have Kit Kats in America, but not the same ones that Japan has. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with plain old chocolate flavors, while Japan gets to have all the fun.

Japan actually has over 200 Kit Kat flavors—from wasabi, apple vinegar, sweet potato, cherry blossom, and grape, how can you resist trying all of these wacky flavors? Out of every flavor, the green tea Kit Kat still remains one of the most popular for its heavenly combination of green tea, chocolate, and crispy wafers.

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3.  Black Black Chewing Gum

That energy drink you had one hour ago is already wearing off, and you don’t have time to make a cup of coffee. Normally, you’d go through the rest of your day in a zombielike state, but with Black Black Gum, you don’t have to suffer.

One small piece of this chewing gum will give you the energy of 10 toddlers, while its strong minty flavor will instantly clear your sinuses. Why should you waste your time making a cup of coffee when you can get the same effect in gum form?

4. Mochi

Mochi are round, chewy cakes made of crushed sticky rice. Depending on the type of mochi, you could bite into a red bean paste, green tea, or fruit-flavored cake.

Now it’s time for my personal favorite: ice cream mochi. This is something you can probably find in the freezer aisle at your grocery store. Ice cream mochi are frozen and filled with the perfect amount of ice cream to complement the smooth rice cake on the outside.

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5. Squid Jerky

Squid jerky can satisfy the cravings of any seafood addict with its distinct ocean aroma and pure fishy taste. Just think of squid jerky like beef jerky, but way better and more flavorful.

Squid jerky usually comes in packets filled with strips of dried squid. You can opt to stick with the original flavor of squid jerky or go for something more adventurous like the spicy or sweet flavor. Try combining alcohol and squid jerky—you’ll love it!

6. Candy Toilet DIY Kit

Who says you can’t unite your love of model-building with your craving for candy? With one of these kits, you can build a small toilet, and create a sippable candy foam that oozes out of the toilet bowl. Sounds appetizing, right?

It comes in plenty of flavors for you to choose from, and luckily, none of them are toilet-flavored. If you’re feeling especially wild, you can even purchase the same candy kit that comes in the form of a Japanese-style toilet, washing machine, and even a bathtub.

7. Every Burger Snacks

When you open a package of Every Burgers, you’ll notice several miniature cheeseburgers. Fortunately, they’re not actual burgers (sorry burger-lovers).

The pseudo-burgers consist of a biscuit topped with actual sesame seeds for the bun, white cream for the cheese, and chocolate for the meat. These bite-sized snacks might not beat the taste of a real burger, but they come close.

8. Hokkaido Beer Caramel

Most people can say they’ve experienced beer-flavored chocolate, but what about beer-flavored caramel? Hokkaido Beer Caramels are a must-try for any beer fanatic. They contain actual beer and have a very small alcohol content to prove it.

Cubes of caramel lay wrapped inside of every package. Pop one of these candies into your mouth, and you can taste the flavor of beer immediately. You’ll have a hard time chewing it at first, but it’ll soon start to melt in your mouth.

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9. Pretz

Pretz are long and thin pretzel snacks that have become one of the most widespread snacks throughout Japan. These crunchy treats give you that savoury taste you desire.

Are you bored with the regular pretzel flavor? Pretz comes in plenty of other flavors to make sure you never get tired of eating them. Switch it up and take a bite into tomato, corn, cheese, bacon, or pumpkin Pretz.

10. Meiji 100% Fruit Juice Gummies

Gummies in America are typically packed with sugar, artificial flavors, and food coloring. Once again, Japan has outdone us, and this time, it’s with gummies.

Meiji gummies contain 100% real fruit juice, along with a huge amount of collagen. If you didn’t know, collagen works to prevent wrinkles and repair damaged hair. You definitely don’t have to feel guilty about binge-eating this healthy and clean-to-eat snack.

11. Seaweed Chips

Instead of digging inside of a greasy bag for another handful of chips, you should try eating seaweed snacks. The crunchy texture and naturally salty taste of dried seaweed will have you addicted.

Seaweed also has a ton of nutritional benefits. Sure, it’s a little high in sodium, but it comes with several vitamins and minerals that can improve your health.

12. Meiji Hello Panda Cookies

All this talk about healthy food makes me crave sugar. So, let me introduce to you Hello Panda Cookies. Each cookie comes with an adorable picture of a panda that quickly gets crushed by your teeth.

The biscuit on the outside coupled with the creamy chocolate filling on the inside makes it a pleasure to eat. These scrumptious cookies come with strawberry and vanilla cream as well.

Bring Your Tastebuds on an Adventure

Comparing American snacks to Japanese snacks is like comparing a souped-up custom car to a broken-down beater that hasn’t changed in ten years. American snack companies need to take a trip to the wild side and start ramping up their snack game.

Trying any of these Japanese snacks will open your eyes to all the delicious possibilities. Did I forget a snack on this list? Let me know what Japanese snacks you enjoy the most!

Emma Roth
Emma is a staff writer at WhatNerd. In addition to being an avid writer and tech geek, she's a fan of games, anime, manga, and more. She's based in Connecticut.
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