New Year’s in Japan is far from the fireworks and festivities many countries connect it to, but rather a family gathering where you spend time with the near and dear, while enjoying food and plenty under a warm kotatsu (small table with heating blanket). Could there be a better place to share a box of ZenPop, bond over new flavors and experiences, preparing you for all the experiences awaiting you in 2024, while reminiscing on the year gone by.
Allergens: wheat, egg, dairy, mackerel, soy, chicken, gelatin Cooking time: 5 minutes How to cook: 1. Remove half of the lid and take out two bags. 2, Open the mochi and powder soup bag over the noodles, pour boiling water up to the indicated line, and cover. 3, After 5 minutes, loosen the noodles well, add shichimi chili pepper as you like, stir well, and enjoy. Draped in the colors of Japanese New Years for dawn & celebration, this mochi udon captures the essence of the first days of the year with its quality noodles having just the right softness, the stock having that warm heartiness and a white color that matches the theme. Not only does it feature mochi noodles, the toppings even include mochi to add an extra layer for celebration to this bowl of goodness. Did you know it's a Japanese tradition to slurp noodles as the clock strikes midnight to transition into the new year? Why not give it a go during this year's countdown?
Allergens: apple Even in Japan, there are those who celebrate New Years with a party, though they are mostly people out traveling or not from here. And for your international audiences, what better way is there to celebrate New Years than with popping a bottle of sparkling.. Soda! Remember to drink responsibly, too much sugar can make it hard to sleep. But it’s of course important to party and let loose for the year to come. The flavor of this soda is a mix of Strawberry, Harehime, Pear and apple.
Allergens: shrimp, wheat, soy, beef, pork Processed in a facility that also processes crab, egg, dairy, squid, sesame, salmon, chicken, gelatin, and apple The procurement team members insisted on including this local Osaka beef rice cracker in the new year's box, as Premium and luxurious were key words used when finding the snacks. “Trust us!” They said, “The package doesn’t look so special, but it’s the best beef rice cracker we’ve ever had”. With such devotion to these crackers, none objected to including them, and all doubts were “cracked” once everyone had a taste! How good are they, you ask? Only one way to find out!
Allergens: soy, chicken Processed in a facility that also processes egg, dairy, wheat, shrimp, and crab This limited edition potato chips bag is only available in Japan until January, so we had to give you the only chance you’ll likely ever have to try this very unique-to-Japan flavor. The special taste comes from Yuzu Pepper, a specialty of Kyushu. This pepper is made with chili peppers, yuzu peel and salt, so expect a flavor that packs a punch! The chips itself is the all time favorite Kataage potato, famed for its crunch.
Allergens: dairy, soy Processed in a facility that also processes egg and wheat This is one chocolate you can not afford to miss. Inspired by the design of chocolate toppings from luxurious confectionery cakes, these elegant bars present themselves as equals. The harmony of flavors that will sing to your taste buds are a collection of caramel, butter, white and dark chocolate. When these four elements come together as one, it’ll have been worth the box all by itself.
Allergens: dairy, soy, gelatin Processed in a facility that also processes wheat, egg, and peanut Mochi and kinako are both traditional Japanese sweets, as well as beloved winter treats you can enjoy all in one with this re-release bag from Tirol. Somehow they manage to pair the joy of chewing down on a piece of chocolate while also making it feel like you’re enjoying a mochi sweet. The packets all come with cute illustrations from the mascot character “Mochi-kun” and his adventures, making them perfect little motivators to share to express yourself.
Allergens: dairy, wheat, soy, almond Processed in a facility that also processes peanut and peach Can’t get enough sweet soft mochi? No problem! Here we’re talking almond chocolate cream stuffing, protected by an outer layer of mochi, then coated with chocolate to top it all off! Similar sweets are popular in Korea as well recently. If you’re old enough, they say these pair well with “highball” cocktails. Ginger ale is also a good alternative!
Allergens: wheat, soy Processed in a facility that also processes egg, dairy, soy, and shrimp A new year, a new dawn, as the first rays of 2024’s sunlight hit a sea bream, dancing on the surface of the bay, the rays also hit you, warming you as you crunch a fish shaped crisp inspired to take your next steps into the future. Or you’re on the sofa after opening your ZenPop box, what do I know?
Allergens: egg, wheat, soy, pork, sesame Processed in a facility that also processes dairy, shrimp, and crab Onigiri snacks with cute packet designs. The onigiri design makes sense when you realize these are rice crackers with seaweed pieces, making it the same ingredients as in a typical rice ball. It’s a classic snack that many chil;dren have very fond memories of from cute children snacks, till later in life when they’re served as bar snacks.
Allergens: apple Processed in a facility that also processes wheat, egg, and dairy A fun stick of jelly with an interesting ruffled shape. They come in a variety of colors and are made by Yaokin, the famous company behind Umaibo. They make a variety of dagashi, nostalgic tasty snacks and sweets enjoyed by kids all over the country. To eat it, simply clip off the tip and squish the juicy jelly out to enjoy.
Allergens: wheat, peanut The packaging alone just POP’s on this nostalgic rice cracker with just the right amount of salt. Now, you may have had rice snacks before, and perhaps even in cool packaging, but have you had a bag of rice snacks with the chance of including a single peanut? That’s right, there’s a chance you find one single lucky peanut in your bag! What does the peanut mean? Like the meaning of life, this is something you must discover for yourself.
Allergens: apple, peach, orange Fruit Jelly cups with a variety of flavors you can be lucky enough to pull out of your ZenPop box! If you’re reading this, you likely already know yours, but what you perhaps didn’t know is that jelly in Japan is made with agar agar, which works much like gelatine, but is plant based, making this jelly ok to share with your friends who don’t eat pork like muslims and vegans^^
Allergens: soy, dairy This orb of traditional delight is made with azuki beans from Toreton, a brand from Shimizu-cho in Hokkaido that specializes in these sweet red beans. Inside is a core of sweet buttery cream that really gives that old fashioned farm delicacy feeling. But here’s the stroke of genius; as you caress the candy with your tongue, working your way to the core, the buttercream melts, and is released by chance, evolving the taste of the already transcendent azuki flavor. This marble truly is a marvel!
Hello Kitty Choco Marshmallow from Eiwa Allergens: dairy, almond, soy, gelatin Hello Kitty is marble white, just like a marshmallow. Does that mean eating this chocolate cream filled marshmallow is like eating Hello Kitty? Let’s leave that idea behind and let you know that these come in 4 different designs with Kitty & friends. It’s a great little sweet for a day you need a tiny gift to make a big smile <3 Pokemon Gum from Coris Piika~cheeeeeeew! ⚡Get it? It’s a Pikachu bubble gum! Worry not, the gum is far from as dry as our writer’s jokes, and even comes in 5 different designs with nostalgic Pikachu illustrations on each of them. The flavor is a vigorous cola flavor and should give you just the shock and pop you need for motivating yourself when working or studying.
Kuppy Ramune from Kakudai Kuppy Ramune candies have been around for 60 years and are still going strong. A lot of modern popularity comes from great use of their mascot characters Kuppy and Ramu, which are featured in picture books, online stickers and other merchandise. It’s hard to argue with their cuteness, but it’s the core product that has kept them around for over half a century. Yakisobaya-san Tarou from Kado Allergens: wheat, dairy soy A nostalgic dagashi snack that many young Japanese spent all their pocket money on as children. But don’t be fooled to think this is only for kids, as a quick google search on Japanese Amazon reveals adults buying them in bulk to avoid raiding the local supermarket candy section. The snack is inspired by fried noodles with a umami noodle flavor. Kabayaki-san Tarou from Kado Allergens: wheat, squid, soy A crispy umami slice of dried fish. If you’re not used to dried fish snacks, do not fret, this tastes similar to teriyaki jerky. There are a variety of seafood snacks in Japan, including a variety of fish, squid and shellfish, adding another section in the snack isles in Japan. There are both adult and all ages oriented versions, and this one fits the latter. We’re confident you’ll love it! Monja-yaki Senbei from Yaokin Allergens: wheat, dairy, shrimp, squid, soy, chicken, pork, apple This pack of cute mouth sized senbei (rice crackers) come sauced in flavor! They’re very aromatic and truly carry that unique Japan umami taste. Its flavor inspiration comes from monjayaki, just like the name implies. Monjayaki is Kanto’s answer to the classic Kansai area dish Okonomiyaki. Have you had okonomiyaki or mojayaki before? Why not try to compare the flavor from this snack to the real deal!