If you’ve ever been into a Japanese market you’ve probably seen the vast sea of snacks flooding isle after isle. A lot of it may look the same, especially if you’re looking through various types of rice crackers, hard candies, chips, chewy candies, and whatever else you see. So how do you navigate the seemingly hundreds of different brands and variations of rice crackers? Which flavors of Pocky sticks are irresistible, and which ones are a little too “out there”? What types of amazing Japanese candies have you been passing up or overlooking simply because you don’t know what they are? Hopefully we can help you out! Here’s our list of the best Japanese snacks you can find in any Japanese market!
1. Scorn – Japanese Style BBQ Flavor (スコーン：和風バーベキュー)
Scorn is basically like Japanese Cheetos, but SO much better. There are a bunch of different flavors, but the best one ever is definitely “Japanese-style BBQ.” It’s a sweet and savory BBQ flavor that’s different from BBQ flavored chips like Lays or Ruffles, and it’s one of our favorite snacks of all time!
2. Milky (ミルキー)
Milky is a chewy, melt-in-your-mouth kind of candy with a sweet, creamy, milky flavor. It’s very similar to the White Rabbit candy, but in our opinion, this stuff is better!
3. Waza no Kodawari (技のこだ割に)
Some of you may be familiar with Japanese rice crackers like the little crescent moon or star shaped ones, but these are SO much better. If you’re a fan of that salty/sweet shoyu flavor of rice crackers, these will blow you away. They taste like they were literally soaked in it (because they probably were), and as a result, they’re super flavorful.
4. Hi-Chew (ハイチュウ)
Hi-Chew candies have actually become fairly popular in the US over the past several years. They’re fruity, chewy candies that are basically Japan’s version of Starburst, but instead of coming in a mixed package, they typically come with one flavor per package. They’re refreshing and especially good on those hot summer days!
5. Rice Crackers w/ Seaweed (のり巻あられ)
Nori Maki Arare is another type of Japanese rice crackers that are wrapped in seaweed (nori). It just adds a different flavor to the usual sweetish soy sauce flavor and are worth a try!
6. Ramune Candy (ラムネキャンディー)
These hard candies are based off a Japanese sweet soda drink called Ramune. Fun fact: “Ramune” was derived from a bad Japanese pronunciation of the English word, “lemonade” even though the drink tastes nothing like it. Anyways, as the candy sits in your mouth they kind of fizz giving the sensation of a soda.
7. Koala’s March (コアラのマーチ)
These are pretty simple – little cream-filled cookies – but they’re sooo tasty! Japanese food tends to have more subtle and light flavors, and the same goes for their candies and desserts, so even these chocolate or strawberry cream-filled cookies aren’t over-the-top rich.
8. Pocky: Almond Crush
Pocky is a popular Japanese snack that’s more widely known in the US, but usually people are more familiar with the strawberry or plain chocolate flavors. While these are still really tasty, there are tons of other flavors that you can find in Japanese markets like our personal favorite, Almond Crush! It’s just chocolate with bits of almond mixed in, but wow, it’s satisfying.
9. Karamucho (カラムーチョ)
The name Karamucho is a mix of Japanese and Spanish – “karai” means “spicy” in Japanese, and “mucho” means “much” or “a lot” in Spanish. But as mentioned before, Japanese flavors tend to be on the subtler side, so these aren’t actually all that spicy. But they have a little kick with a bit of sweetness that combine to create a unique flavor that’s become a favorite.