Jo's Top 10 Favourite Japanese Snacks in the UK

Jo's Top 10 Favourite Japanese Snacks in the UK

'Whenever I go to a foreign country, one of my favourite things to do is visit a local supermarket. One key reason is of course because food is my one true love, but other than that, supermarkets give you the chance to experience the everyday life of people in the country. You can learn so much about a country from their cuisine, and it would be a travesty to visit a place and not experience as many delicacies as possible. 

I've been lucky enough to live in Japan for the past 5 years, and during that time I can safely say that I have become an expert in the field of Japanese snacks! I wish I could wave my magic wand and let you experience Japan in the flesh as I have, but alas, the best I can do is let you know how you can get your hands on some of the tastiest treats this country has to offer. Let your taste buds do the travelling!'

If you're wondering where to buy Japanese snacks in the UK, look no further! Kagoshima resident couple @minakagocouple's Jo has once again curated a list for us and made it all easy to buy from sites like Amazon. From snacks that you may have had before, to the complete unknown, welcome to the world of Japanese snacks. Itadakimasu!

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  • Yaokin
    Umaibo


    MinaKago Couple

    Umaibo is a stick shaped corn snack that you can find in just about any convenience store or supermarket. One of the most fabulous things about this snack is the variety, as there are 19 different flavours to choose from currently. 


    For me personally, I love the takoyaki flavoured umaibo, but cheese is also a fabulous option. I would say that my relationship with umaibo borders on unhealthy. I honestly lose track of how many I eat in a day, they are just so moreish and easy to snack on.

  • Ninjapo
    Furikake Assortment


    MinaKago Couple

    Furikake, which translates to 'sprinkle over', is a Japanese seasoning designed to be scattered over the top of the rice to add a lovely flavour boost. Traditionally, furikake is made from sesame seeds and seaweed, but if you go into any Japanese supermarket, you can find a multitude of other flavour options. 


    For me, personally, I love furikake made from dried salmon flakes and egg. Furikake has the amazing ability to turn something plain into something delicious and terribly snackable! As a rice lover, it truly is a necessity in my kitchen.

  • Japanese Cool
    Seven Spice


    MinaKago Couple

    Shichimi is a Japanese spice mixture made from seven ingredients, and it's used to add a spicy kick to dishes. While back in my home country, England, table condiments would usually include salt, pepper and perhaps some vinegar. 


    In Japan, shichimi will often take residence for customers wanting to jazz up their restaurant dishes. While technically not a snack, shichimi is truly one of my favourite things. In fact, I am such a lover of the spicy powder mix that I will always keep a bottle of it in my handbag so that I am never without its spicy influence.

  • Sushicandy
    Japanese Kit Kat & Tirol


    MinaKago Couple

    The idea of putting KitKat on this list may seem strange to British natives, especially as the confection was actually invented in the UK, but I have a very good reason for doing so. If you buy a KitKat in the UK, you can usually expect the classic flavours: milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate. 


    However, in Japan, they have taken the humble KitKat and turned it into a confection that takes on just about any flavour you can think of. 


    Prefectures create special local flavours for KitKats, seasonal flavours are often on rotation and you can find a multitude of exciting flavours in souvenir shops all over the country. Such flavours include sake, yuzu, Kobe pudding, matcha, sweet potato and so many more.

  • Glico
    Cookies & Cream Pocky


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    Pocky is a classic option for those wanting a sweet treat. Simply put, it is a chocolate finger with a sweet chocolate coating, simplicity at its finest. For me, Pocky is one of my go-to naughty treats, perfect for a lazy day watching a movie. 


    In fact, Pocky is such a national treasure of Japan, that there is even a day dedicated to the chocolate treat on 11th November, which was created because of the similarity between the 1's in the date and the shape of the sweet treat. You can get a number of different flavours, but my recommendation is for sure the cookies and cream variant, which has a deliciously rich flavour.

  • Kakinotane
    Rice Cracker With Peanuts


    MinaKago Couple

    Kake no tane is a savoury snack with a salty, slightly spicy kick that makes it a perfect companion for an evening beer. It is given the name kake no tane, which translates to persimmon seed, due to the shape of the snack, which looks very similar to the seed. 


    For me, kake no tane has a lot of sentimental value, because, on my mothers first trip to visit me in Japan, she fell in love with the delicious snack, so every bite now reminds me of her. But even without nostalgia kicking in, these savoury treats are terribly delicious and moreish and definitely worth stocking up on to accompany your next tipple.

  • Ninjapo
    Calbee Pizza Potato Chips


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    Just about every country has a multitude of its own potato chip flavours that it favours, and Japan is no different. You can find simple pleasures such as salted and chicken flavour, or you can take a chance with a more daring flavour, such as wasabi beef or Yuzu citrus flavour. 


    However, for me, nothing is more pleasing than Calbee's pizza flavoured crisps. These crisps have it all: they're crunchy, cheesy, salty and incredibly addictive. I highly recommend any of Calbee's products, but the pizza flavour is truly heavenly.

  • Ninjapo
    Ippeichan Fried Noodles


    MinaKago Couple

    How can I have a list of snack foods from Japan and not include instant noodles? I can't count the number of times I've been hungry, tired and not wanting to cook and I've looked to these instant beauties for nourishment. For me, yakisoba is the go-to option


    Yakisoba is definitely one of the key tastes of Japan for me, especially as it reminds me of happy times at festivals, where you can buy steaming plates of fabulous noodles. Ippeichan yakisoba is one of the more famous brands in Japan, and once you try it you will have no question of why. It's quick to prepare and oh so delicious.

  • Tohato
    Caramel Corn Assortment


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    Tohato Caramel Corn is a delicious little snack consisting of corn bites covered in a light caramel glaze. The beautiful caramel taste is just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, but it doesn't overpower the slightly salty corn centre. 


    They are crunchy, sweet and terribly addictive. I remember these were one of the first snacks I tried when I came to Japan, so every time I eat them I feel that fresh excitement of moving country all over again. I do give this recommendation with a warning, however: one bite of these, and you will be hooked! Moderation is not easy with such delicious treats!

  • Asahi
    Super Dry Lager


    MinaKago Couple

    I must apologize once more for stretching the definition of 'snacks', but it's very difficult to think of all these fabulous treats without imagining a lovely beer as accompaniment. And when one thinks of Japanese beer, of course, a tip of the hat must go to Asahi Super Dry, the most popular Japanese beer. 


    Drinking an Asahi at the end of a long workday is like receiving a warm hug: familiar, comforting and much needed. There are of course so many notable beer companies in Japan, both the mainstream companies like Kirin and Sapporo and the smaller craft beer companies you can find all over Japan. 


    All have their own charms and unique flavours which make them great options for beer lovers, but if you want a classic, Asahi is the way to go.

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