10 Must-Buy Sweets and Instant Foods from MUJI
MUJI is known all over the world as a retail company that develops and sells a wide range of products such as clothes, lifestyle goods, and food. Lots of people love MUJI products for their simple designs, great functionality, and reasonable prices. MUJI also offers plenty of affordable food items that are perfect as souvenirs. In this article, our editorial team will showcase MUJI sweets and snacks and instant foods that we really want to recommend after having tried them ourselves! So, if you get a chance to go to Japan, why not visit a MUJI store for souvenirs?
Jan 07 2020 (May 28 2020)
About the MUJI Brand
Some of you reading this article may be hearing about MUJI for the first time, while some may have heard the name but don't know a lot about it. While MUJI was born in Japan, it has since transformed into a famous retail brand that is well known in countries all around the world.
MUJI offers lifestyle goods that range from clothing to household items, cosmetics, and food. It opened its first directly managed store in Japan in 1983 and then expanded its operations worldwide by launching a branch in London in 1991, which was then followed by outlets in Asia, Europe, the United States and other countries. By 2016, it became the first Japanese retail company to open a shop in India. MUJI currently has more than 400 stores in Japan and more than 500 outlets overseas, so you can find MUJI stores all around the world.
Created under the corporate philosophy of being “natural without a name, being simple and earth-friendly,” MUJI products are known for their minimalist designs and for creating products so useful they simply blend into the background of your life. The company is conscious about environmental conservation, minimizing waste in materials in production and packaging. This means there's a wide array of products that capitalize on the quality of their materials. This concept is embodied by the brand name: the Japanese name for MUJI, "Mujirushi Ryohin", means “unbranded quality goods”.
There are such a wide variety of products sold at MUJI, you might find it hard to decide what to buy. However, if you go to Japan, you probably want to bring home a great souvenir that really shows the great quality of Japan's brands. Here are our carefully-selected picks of must-try food items from MUJI's extensive lineup!
1. White Chocolate Infused Strawberry (45g, 490 yen)
This snack is made with freeze-dried whole strawberries infused with white chocolate. The chocolate-infused strawberries are not uniform in size thanks to MUJI economizing on the sorting process in production, but the taste of each piece is definitely the same. The water content and nutrients, especially vitamins, are not lost through drying, so you can savor a sweetness and aroma that feels like eating fresh strawberries.
Unlike some other strawberry sweets, this product features strawberries with a exquisite aroma. The white chocolate infuses the strawberries so that you can't tell if you're eating dried strawberries soaked in chocolate or a strawberry-flavored chocolate. You'll simply enjoy a luxurious taste that highlights the deliciousness of both ingredients. The sourness of the strawberries balances the sweetness of the chocolate, so even those without a sweet tooth are sure to like these.
2. White Chocolate Strawberry (50g, 290 yen)
These freeze-dried strawberries coated in white chocolate are MUJI's most popular sweet. Take a bite and the sweetness of the slightly hard layer of white chocolate melts to reveal the tart flavor of the strawberry inside.
While these may look quite sweet, the tartness of the strawberries means that this isn't the case. The white chocolate coating is approximately 5mm thick, which works with the sourness of the strawberry to create a good balance between sweet and tart flavors. We recommend eating the whole strawberry in one bite to enjoy all the flavors together.
3. Baumkuchen Matcha (150 yen)
Baumkuchen, a cake that originated in Germany, is also very popular in Japan. This ring-shaped cake resembles the rings of a tree trunk. The MUJI baumkuchen featured in this article has the cake's characteristic layers, but comes in a long loaf shape rather than a ring. This shape makes it easy to eat one-handed without cutlery, so it's perfect as a treat for small kids or as a quick snack in the office.
You'll notice the characteristic aroma of matcha as soon as you open the package. The cake feels dense and firm, but has a soft, fluffy texture like castella cake that melts in the mouth. The slight bitterness of the matcha cuts down on the sweetness and lends the cake an aromatic flavor. You can also eat this cake after chilling it the refrigerator, so make sure to try it that way too!
4. Watagashi (4 pieces, 150 yen)
You might wonder what this is from looking at it, but it's actually cotton candy. Cotton candy is commonly sold at food stands in festivals in Japan, so it's something that is close to the heart of Japanese people. While the cotton candy that is sold at food stands is about 20cm in diameter, MUJI’s cotton candy is more compact in size at around 10cm. This candy is made from brown sugar and does not use any kind of additives or flavorings, in order to preserve the caramel's aroma.
Fluffy cotton candy melts on the tongue and disappears in a few seconds, so people who have not eaten cotton candy before may find it a little strange. A lot of children love this snack thanks to its texture and mild sweetness, so these would make an ideal souvenir for anyone shopping for kids.
5. Chocolate Coated Wine Raisins (40g, 290 yen)
As its name suggests, this is a pack of wine-soaked raisins covered in chocolate. Take a bite and savor the elegant sweetness of noble rot wine.
The combination of soft and chewy raisins, mild cacao flavor, and the sharp, astringent, and mildly sweet taste of wine creates a unique flavor you may not have experienced before.
Some people may like these more than others, but they have a particular refinement and uniqueness, so you might want to consider them if you're looking for a more special snack.
6. Corn Snack Chocolate (73g, 99 yen)
Corn Snack Chocolate is a snack made with capsule-shaped corn puffs coated in smooth chocolate. You'll love the firmness and crispiness of the corn puffs and the bold aroma of chocolate. With their addictive texture and salty-sweet flavor, you may find yourself wanting to eat them all the time! This is the perfect snack for gatherings with friends or family or as a snack for movie night at home.
7. Baked Cheese With Dry Fish (37g, 250 yen)
Cheese is a popular drinking snack that's found in convenience stores all over Japan. MUJI is no exception! Baked Cheese With Dry Fish is made by placing 5-7cm-long Hokkaido-made cheddar cheese on a strip of fish meat and grilling them together. The grill marks on the melted cheese even look delicious.
You will notice two distinct textures when you eat this snack: the thick and soft cheese, and the thinner layer of chewy fish. The baked cheese is fragrant, making it the perfect snack to accompany drinks like beer, sake, and especially wine. One bite will surely have you hooked. If you get tired of the typical cheese snacks you find at convenience stores, why not try MUJI's baked cheese? Once you discover its delicious taste, you won’t regret it!
8. Instant Roasted Green Tea Latte (120g, 350 yen)
This hojicha (roasted green tea) latte is the only drink in our list of recommendations! This latte made from domestically produced hojicha mixed with milk. The mild sweetness and deep, aromatic flavor of the hojicha creates a latte that lingers pleasantly on the pallette.
You can adjust the sweetness to your preference by adjusting the amount of powder you use. You can have it either hot by adding boiling water or cold by serving over ice. You can also make the flavor a little milder by adding some extra milk, so there's a range of ways to enjoy this drink. You could also buy tapioca and use this mix to make a Japanese version of bubble tea with hojicha. Give it a try!
Instant and Ready-Made Foods
1. Mini Ramen Chicken (120g/4 pieces, 120 yen)
This mini ramen is the perfect choice as a light snack or as a treat for kids. The noodles are already seasoned, so they can be eaten as-is as a snack, or as instant ramen by adding them to boiling water and waiting a few minutes. It’s very convenient, don’t you think?
Just like any other ramen, these have chewy noodles and a chicken flavor. MUJI’s chicken ramen is reasonably priced at just 120 yen for a pack of four. The noodles are seasoned, so add the right amount of hot water according to the cooking instructions at the back of the packaging to make sure that the flavor isn't too strong or thin.
2. Butter Chicken Curry (180g/serving, 350 yen)
A lot of Japanese people love ready-made curry, which are easy to simply heat up and goes well with white rice and bread. There are plenty of ready-made curries packed in a pouch on the market today, but MUJI’s version is especially popular thanks to its authentic taste and affordable price. Beef, keema, green and various types of other curries are available, but the most popular is the butter chicken type. This variety incorporates three types of tomatoes, which were chosen to create a sweetness and acidity in the dish, as well as cashew nuts and ghee (a refined oil made by removing the milk solids from butter) that add a mellow flavor. This type has become even more filling these days as MUJI seems to have also increased the amount of chicken in the recipe. The aroma of fenugreek (a spice used to boost the umami flavor in stews) will whet your appetite. The balance of the chicken, sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes, and the spiciness of the curry is also superb, making this a simple curry that everyone can enjoy again and again.
You can heat these curries in boiling water without opening the bag, or you can open it up and heat the curry in a bowl instead. Isn't enjoying a bowl of piping hot curry with rice on a cold winter day the best? Of course, these curries are also delicious with bread or naan as well. We hope you'll try these popular MUJI curries at home for yourself!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.