Japanese lifestyle retailer MUJI stocks more than 7,000 different products, but its selection of beverages, snacks, and prepackaged foods are highly rated across Japan and among travelers to Japan. We sampled a few of MUJI’s best-selling foods, snacks, and drinks to share with our readers of Live Japan. Next time you’re near a MUJI, pick up a few of these items and see if you love them just as much as the people of Japan do!
1. Pre-packed Curries
Out of all MUJI's prepackaged foods, its selection of curry are among the company’s bestselling products. Its extensive lineup of 34 curries features favorites from India, Thailand, and Japan. As with MUJI’s selection of soups, these curries do not use artificial flavoring or coloring.
The Japanese curries are mild and sweet and the Indian curries are a great way to introduce your taste buds to some spice. Those who like spicy food should head straight for the Thai curries!
You can find staples like Spicy Chicken Curry, Green Curry, and Keema Curry at nearly every MUJI location, but its Butter Chicken Curry is highly recommended.
For those new to Butter Chicken Curry, there’s no hint of Western style butter in this dish; instead it uses ghee, a type of clarified butter from India.
Butter Chicken Curry is best compared to a creamy tomato based dish that has a lovey aroma of exotic spices that is not too overwhelming on the senses. Cashews add to the richness and complexity of the flavor.
The photo on the packaging shows large pieces of chicken and there are indeed are many large pieces of chicken in the actual product. In addition, this is a mild curry that is popular among Japanese children and adults, and men and women as well.
2. Freeze-dried Soup Series
When you hear the phrase “freeze dried foods,” you might immediately think of astronauts, but MUJI’s lineup of freeze dried soups are to be consumed on Earth.
Once you add hot water, you’re all set to go. The first thing you’ll notice is the texture of the carrots and cabbage. They are surprisingly crisp and crunchy, giving you the sense that this soup was freshly prepared from scratch. While minestrone is a tomato-based soup, carrots, cabbages and onions should be a hint of sweetness rather than using sugar to reduce the acidity of tomatoes. Basil is used heavily in this soup, in a nod to its Italian origins.
In addition, MUJI does not use flavor enhancers or artificial flavoring, nor does it use artificial coloring in its soups. Pair Minestrone soup with bread or add in pasta for a filling meal sure to warm you to the core on a winter day. If you love MUJI’s Minestrone soup, check out the Okra Vegetable (380 yen), Hokkaido Onion Soup (390 yen), and Mushroom Chicken (390 yen) as well!
3. Chocolate Covered Strawberries - White and Matcha
For a sweet treat that looks just as good as it tastes, grab a package of these chocolate coated strawberries. These are a crowd pleaser, and it's easy to tell why! An entire freeze-dried strawberry dipped in creamy white or matcha chocolate - what more could you ask for?
White chocolate is mixed with powdered Uji matcha to create lovely green shade that contrasts beautifully with the red of the strawberries. It’s a treat meant for sharing, at least on social media.
You’ll find a complex combination of textures and tastes with these strawberries The bitterness of matcha blends is a contrast to the sweetness of white chocolate which also enhances the crunchiness of the freeze dried strawberries.
You can find these matcha chocolate covered strawberries alongside white chocolate covered strawberries, and milk chocolate covered strawberries (290 yen) in MUJI stores across Japan.
4. Chocolate Creme One-Bite Small Wafers
These tiny squares are packed with flavor! A light crispy crunch with chocolate cream creates a fun mixture of textures to enjoy while you chew to your heart’s content. The chocolate cream sandwiched in-between the delicate wafers go easy on the sweetness, and are perfect for when you crave something sugary.
These wafers make a great afternoon snack and go great with a cup of coffee or tea. You can even take them on the go - the tall package folds down compactly and will fit nicely in your bag. Because the wafers are lightweight, they crumble easily, so take caution not to get wafer dust all over you and your surroundings.
You can find vanilla wafers with chocolate cream and chocolate wafers with vanilla cream at MUJI, but these vanilla wafers are a favorite among fans of MUJI’s snacks.
5. Dried Sweet Potato Sticks
Don’t be fooled by appearances - these dried sweet potato sticks do not disappoint when it comes to taste. Made from satsuma imo, a sweet potato native to Japan, this snack is soft, chewy, and keeps you coming back for more. Satsuma imo are sweeter than their western counterparts, and as a result, no additional sugars are added.
As a bonus, dried sweet potatoes are incredibly nutritious and high in fiber and minerals, too. These are a must try if you’ve had enough of sweet western snacks and want to test out traditional Japanese snacks. You’ll love the texture and the sweetness and will really make you feel as if you are experiencing an “authentic” Japan.
This snack is especially popular among “office ladies,” female workers who perform clerical work in offices across Japan. It’s a no-fuss snack that doesn’t make a mess, which is perfect for munching as you explore Japan by foot or by public transit.
6. Bourg-de Neige
French for “snowball,” these sweet treats are known by a variety of names: Snowball Cookies, Tea Cakes, Wedding Cookies - no matter what you call them, these cookies melt in your mouth and are downright delectable. Finely chopped almonds complement the crisp, buttery shortbread rolled into balls which are generously dusted with powdered sugar.
The song, “Who Stole the Cookies From the Cookie Jar?” was made for these. Once you eat one, you can’t stop, and before your know it, you’ve devoured the entire bag! The powdery residue, however, will leave all fingers pointing at you as everyone demands to know who ate all the snowball cookies!
Bourg-de Neige come in flavors of strawberry and cholocate (80g/250 yen) but it’s the classic flavor that customers love. In fact, these are so popular, you can even find them next to the cash register at some MUJI locations when you check out.
7. Caffine-free Rooibos & Black Soybean Tea
Rooibos, also called red tea, is a non-caffeinated tea loaded with antioxidants and minerals. Originally from South Africa, Rooibos tea has seen a surge in popularity across the globe thanks to its scientifically-proven health benefits like improving the immune system and clearing up skin troubles.
While Rooibos tea is popular, it has a very distinct aroma and flavor that some find unpleasant. However, MUJI has paired Rooibos tea with Hokkaido-grown black beans for an intriguing and refreshing drink that compliments with both savory and sweet dishes and snacks.
This tea also contains roasted barley which tones down the sharp bitter taste of Rooibos. If you’re curious to try Rooibos tea to see how it can benefit you, why not pick up one on your next MUJI visit and give it a try?
Note: Product availability and pricing accurate at time of writing (January, 2018)
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