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What Does $8.40 Buy You?

Who doesn’t love visiting the supermarket when they’re travelling overseas?  An opportunity to check out the local produce, smile at amusing names that are lost in translation and maybe a chance to buy some mystery items that weren’t what you were expecting.

A few weeks ago I was able to go on one of these supermarket excursions without leaving Brisbane (though pro rata, the crippling public transport fares are nearly enough to fly business class – $3.85 for a 6km journey. Are you kidding?!)   In our very own heartland is the curious novelty that is the Japanese store Daiso, where every item is $2.80.  Every novelty toothbrush, baking tray, pair of false eyelashes, permanent tea light, wrapping paper and cutlery tray.  It’s all $2.80 or, 1Yen.  Daiso is the Crazy Clark’s of Japan.

The range extends to a wide assortment of Japanese candies, snacks and condiments.  Who’d have though there were so many flavoured salt combos in the world?  I couldn’t resist buying a few of these delightfully packaged items and giving them a try.  I’ve been a couple of times and each visit the food products are different so if you see something that piques your interest, grab it while you can.  Here’s what I learned:

Product: Salt Candy
Package: Shiny foil with a faintly sinister, smiling dragon surrounded by hibiscus
Looks Like: Ice Mints
Tastes Like: Werther’s Butterscotch


Product: Caramel Corn

Package: A cute owl with caramel corn in his tummy and a dancing peanut alongside
Looks Like: Twisties (on the pack), very pale Cheetos & Peanuts (inside)
Tastes Like: Sweet and mildly salty, caramel corn puffs (negligible peanuts)

Product: Kelp Candy
Package: Pale green plastic with water bubbles and wavy fronds of inviting kelp
Looks Like: A Black Cat
Tastes Like: Flavourless gummy

So what I really learned was that you can have a lot of fun for $8.40.

Various locations in Australia – more coming!

4 comments… add one
  • Jan Rhoades June 26, 2013, 8:02 am

    I remember these stores in Japan. We had a lot of fun too. In fact I still have a couple of packets of origami paper (who can resist stationery) in one of my drawers somewhere. Hmm, a secret birthday/Christmas present for someone? The kelp candy looks like Throaties!

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! June 26, 2013, 7:17 pm

      Yes, they do indeed. The Salt Candy was a surprise. I expect these will both be saved for any Halloween visitors….

  • Anonymous June 27, 2013, 12:05 pm

    If you can get hold of them, Pocky are great too. They're little chocolate coated biscuit sticks in a variety of flavours. My favourite is 'Gentleman's Pocky', obviously for the more mature chocolate covered biscuit stick consumer.
    Tony O.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! June 27, 2013, 8:38 pm

      I haven't seen Pocky there but I'm sure they're lurking. I've never actually had Pocky but now you've recommended them, I'll have to get some. Don't go spending all your pocket money at Daiso.

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