Everyone wants a taste of your trip, don’t they? Something cute. Something exotic. Something JAPANESE! Don’t disappoint. The idea behind these top five are simple – flat, easy to pack and less crushable to avoid disappointment, includes individual wrapping so you can spread the love, and no strong smells or liquids so TSA doesn’t get all up in your business. If you buy them at a drug or department store, you might just get them tax-free (if you spend enough).
Although they may look fragile, these suckers are hard as rocks. They come in a variety of flavours, from fish egg to soy sauce, and have the added benefit of being delicious but not too fishy or Japanesey for more discerning friends. Just don’t give them to anyone with dentures.
Slightly vulnerable to crushing, these things are delicious, and your friends will attack them like a seagull on french fries. Depending on when and where you visit, you will find some unique to Japan flavours. Baked potato, Brandy and Orange, Azuki, and of course, the ubiquitous Matcha. In fact, Japanese Kit Kats come in over 200 flavours.
Wait! Salt? Everyone has salt abroad. But yes, salt! If there is a foodie in your life always wanting the newest thing, bring back some Japanese flavoured salt. They can be used on homemade Japanese dishes, in dips, or just on anything really. The flavours are exceptionally Japanese, and you are unlikely to find similar things in your home country. Flavours include – Matcha (Green Tea), Ume (Pickled Plum), Curry, etc. Mix and match!
Japan sells a variety of single serving drinks in small tubes or ‘sticks’ so that you can carry one in your pocket and just add water. Again, it is all about the flavours. Green tea, lavender tea, cafe latte, bitter latte, well you get the idea. The more exotic ones make for better presents, but just imagine the joy your friends will get out of busting them out at the office and mumbling “my friend brought these back from Japan, they are so delicious and…” Just remember – Japanese cups are smaller, so 250 – 300 ml of hot water will do.
Although a little heavy, and most likely with Japanese instructions, this stuff is amazing. Curry, chowder, stew, you name it and you can buy it. Most instant Japanese foods have instructions with pictures that even a preschooler could figure out. If not, there is always google to help!