For a while, I’ve been meaning to post some reviews of Japanese food products. If you’re reading this in the snack aisle at the airport duty free on your way home from Japan, stop! Put down those salad-flavoured sticks! In this, my very first review, I’m going to guide you through some exciting Pretz varieties you could have instead.
First, a little background. One great thing about souvenir shopping in Japan is the huge domestic market not only for regional specialties – think Kobe beef or Nagasaki ‘castella’ (カステラ) cake – but also for ‘regional’ incarnations of national or even international products. Could you imagine a brand of crisps that came in Manchester, Glasgow, London and Cornwall flavours? Probably not. In Japan, this sort of thing is commercially viable thanks to the insatiable Japanese appetite for omiyage. This word encapsulates the charming but often stress-inducing practice of buying souvenir gifts for everyone who knew you were going away – even if it was just to another city.