06 September 2013
Travel Takeaways - Japan ~ Beer flavoured chocolate, green tea Kit Kats and sake
There's always something you want to bring back from a trip overseas. We try to look out for things we can consume - can we eat it, drink it or rub it on our bodies? We don't have much time for things that will clutter up a shelf and need dusting, to make it into our bags it needs to be practical or edible.
While we tried lots of new food delights in Sapporo, we also found some interesting things to bring back home and try later. Most of them we bought at the Sapporo Beer Museum. We wish we could have brought home a giant frozen snow crab like they had for sale at the airport - maybe next time.
The Royle chocolate covered potato chips didn't make it home, but we did manage to get these in. The chocolate was dark and a little bitter which really worked well with a beer flavour.
Everyone needs a little HBJ (Hokkaido Beer Jelly). These tasted a little like stale beer had been mixed in with sugar and made into a jelly shot.
Caramel made from BBQ meat? Caramel made from beer? Of course, why not.
The Japanese have a wonderful tradition of wrapping things in cloth for lunch, gifts, carrying, any reason. This little cloth features the summer treat of kakigori, a shaved ice dessert. The small square in the print features the Japanese symbol for ice, and is the same as the little flag that flies outside a cafe that serves this cooling delight.
There are so many varieties of Kit Kat available in Japan, we missed out on the Blueberry Cheesecake but instead found satsuma, bitter chocolate, green tea and strawberry.
Green Tea Kit Kats in a multipack. These will be rationed out a few at a time to make them last as long as possible.
Sometimes the happiest little souvenirs are the free ones you get in the street. There's a great trend toward handing out promotional tissues in Tokyo, you will never ever need to buy a pack. We also saw lots of promotional fans to cool you down in the heat. The blue tissue pack features Otto-san the SoftBank dog, our favourite. Shawn still regrets not getting the fans with strippers on them.
Powdered matcha in a huge sealed bag. We go through this like crazy. We tried some wonderful cold brewed matcha teas in Tokyo, in particular at Cha Ginza. While this isn't the same quality, it will help get us through the summer.
Cute little salt shakers with either matcha or yuzu flavoured salt inside. Still deciding on how to use these, yuzu salt sounds like it would work well rimming a cocktail glass, with the matcha salt perhaps as a rub for meat, vegetables or fish, even as a sprinkle on poached eggs.
Alison was eyeing off a larger version of this grater but then found a smaller version at Tokyu Hands that suited a travel takeway. This grater is for making finely smooshed radish, garlic, ginger or even apple. We thought Kyocera only made printers, it seems they also make homewares.
One of Alison's most favourite things to buy are bar soaps. These are getting increasingly hard to find as liquid soap conquers the bathrooms of the world. Look for them in speciality stores (we found these in Tokyu Hands in Shunjuku) rather than supermarkets.
Washing up blues? Why not try a towashi, a crocheted or knitted pot scrubber? We had bought these before at a Daiso and can't find them in Australia. They clean glasses really well and are a happy addition to your kitchen. Last time we had a bear one, so cute and so practical.
One of the heaviest things we brought back was this sample box of sake from Hokkaido.We were a little overwhelmed by the selection in the range at the store in Susukino, so we went with a safe option and chose a tourist pack.
We had forgotten about these until at least a week after we returned. If they were a tourist pack, we didn't really care. They've kick started an ambition to try out more, especially as each one of these seems to represent a different base - potato, sweet potato, rice grain and a mysterious green one.
A few more bits and pieces slipped into our shopping, with raids on Uniqlo, travel bag stores and a swag of beer themed t-shirts for Shawn. We had the luxury of having checked luggage on our trip and really made the most of it.
We love Japan.