Guest Review: Packaged Snacks at Mitsukoshi in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

Welcome guest author Eric (aka Galloping Gourmand) with a review of traditional snacks from the Japan Pavilion in Disney World’s Epcot! And let’s give him a round of applause for going beyond our favorite Pocky sticks and trying the more unique eats too!

Tucked way in the back of the Japanese pavilion at Epcot, through the heavy doors, over the bridge, and beyond the display of toys… in the left hand wing of the back of Mitsukoshi Department Store lies a little food shop.

Mitsukoshi - Exterior of Store


Most Epcot pavilions have these areas. They are often dedicated to regional foods and candies.

Most of the Japanese store is like this. You can find tea and many different candies; but tucked in the very back of the store is some of the more unusual fare.

The shelves are usually surrounded by gawkers walking by and saying “I don’t think I would eat that,” or, as one person said while I was browsing… “ewwwwwwwww.”

They said that after picking up these little guys:

Dried Crabs


But more about them later. My goal was to buy and sample some of the interesting foods and candies. A young woman who had spent some time in Japan and was browsing the food became my helpful guide. She suggested I try these:

Rice Crackers

The package calls them Iso Maki, although I couldn’t tell you if that was the actual Japanese name.

Maki is a type of sushi roll that includes seaweed nori rolled around rice. Here, it’s a rice cracker rolled with a small piece of seaweed.

The ingredient list is very short and healthy: rice, soy sauce, seaweed, sugar, and tapioca starch. With such a simple list it has to live and die by how well its flavors work together and the quality of the cracker.

You can taste each and every ingredient. The cracker is hearty and quite substantial for a rice cracker. The seaweed wrap gives it a nice light fishy flavor. When you take a bite, the fishy flavor is what you get first, then a light hint of soy sauce, followed by the slightly sweet cracker. Note: This picture was difficult to take because my cat kept trying to lick the cracker! ;-)

Rice Cracker

They were very good, but you have to like the fishy seaweed flavor, which lingers a little on your palate. And I do. In fact I liked them so much they almost derailed my taste test because I couldn’t stop snacking!

Next up was this Rice Candy. Again, a very simple ingredient list: glucose syrup, sugar, sweet rice, lemon flavor, orange flavor, and red no. 40. I’m surprised how few artificial ingredients there are in these foods compared to American ones.

It’s very mushy and sticky; to eat it you unwrap the outer wrapper and eat the inner wrapper.

Botan Rice Candy

At first the cellophane-y feel of the internal wrapper was strange, and I wondered if I had eaten it wrong; but as it dissolved it was very [Read more…]