In honor of the foodie’s appreciation for underrated dishes, let us pause to rethink the phrase “stocking stuffers.” Stuff for stuff’s sake? It doesn’t exactly spark joy. Why not give your friends something surprising and unique instead? In addition to our namesake subscription snack box (the ultimate of Japanese gifts), Market by Bokksu has a huge selection that you can pick a la carte. Why are we waiting? Let’s take a tour through the Bokksu aisles and pick out some treats for the Japanese candy connoisseurs in your life.
Candied Yuzu Peel
Yuzu, an aromatic citrus fruit popular throughout East Asia, will likely be familiar to lovers of Japanese cuisine due to its role in ponzu, a tart, light soy-based sauce. In the Candied Yuzu Peel, however, yuzu takes center stage. Rendered chewy and sweet through the candying process, the yuzu’s sour disposition and subtly bitter peel are softened by its natural sweetness. All foods come with a history and a culture. Yuzu, typically harvested around December, are traditionally added to Japanese baths on the winter solstice for their aroma, fabulous flash of yellow, and a great number of scientifically-backed health benefits. When it comes to Christmas stockings, some credit the orange’s centuries-old popularity to its kick of vitamins during the low-produce winter. Others cite its shape, an homage to the first mythical Christmas stocking stuffer: balls of gold tossed into the drying stockings of a family in need. And so we have the Candied Yuzu Peel: a departure from the expected and nod to tradition.
Edamame Senbei is the perfect example of the unique Japanese gift you’ll find because you’re shopping for a vegetarian. Due to the wide range of flavors among Japanese candy and snack exports, it’s easy to overlook an important aspect of Japanese cuisine: many of its staple ingredients descend from rice, soybeans, and gifts of the sea! Edamame Senbei is not only deliciously nutty, crisp, and even a bit proteinaceous: its two primary ingredients are finely ground green edamame and kinako, roasted soybean flour. For vegetarian foodies, Japanese snacks can be a bit coy about their ingredients, but this elegant cracker is certified plant-based. Plus, take a peek at its gorgeous gold and green packaging. Edamame Senbei comes gift-wrapped for the holidays.
Red Snapper Crackers
Red Snapper Crackers are a delightful departure from shrimp puffs found in most Asian markets. Foodies with children will appreciate the puffed cracker’s kid-friendly fish shape and barely-there sweet glaze. For those who’d rather not share, though, it may be difficult to hide the absolutely satisfying crunch of biting into one of these. As for their namesake, tai is a difficult fish to pin down in English, sometimes called red snapper, others, sea bream. Setting aside translation difficulties, tai (or more specifically madai) is a gorgeous red and lavishly large, often eaten at big celebrations like the New Year. Plus, tai rhymes with medetai: happiness. This is a little bag of celebratory Japanese gifts. They're sure to bring happiness to their recipient.
Handmade Ramune Candy
The shape, the fizz, the color, the flavor! Everything about this aquamarine, marble-like candy is pleasing to the senses. Handmade Ramune Candy comes in a little plastic pouch, so the lucky recipient can pass it around or save it for later. As for its inspiration: Ramune is a soda served frosty-cold in summer. When popped open, it releases a tantalizing glass ball into its bottle. Fizzy on contact, this uniquely Japanese candy is a Bokksu exclusive created by Daimonji Ame Honpo, a Kyoto-based family-owned candymaker celebrating their centennial this year. Even your savviest foodie friends will be impressed by this rare find.
Fujiya Nectar Peach Mochi
Got a friend missing summer? See if the Fujiya Nectar Peach Mochi won’t cure their winter blues. Though it’s called mochi, this is the Japanese candy equivalent of a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But we’ll let you in on the secret: bite into a naturally-flavored chewy rice cake and find a thin layer of sticky marshmallow, and finally, a peach jelly. This complex combination of textures marries beautifully with a color scheme of white and, well, peach. Not to mention the real peach puree that flavors this Japanese sweet straight to the core.
So, are you feeling like a kid in a Japanese candy shop yet? If not, get thee to Market by Bokksu, and you won’t just find the stocking stuffers you knew you needed: you’ll find some Japanese gifts for you, too. You deserve them, you thoughtful, hungry friend.