Thursday, 26 February 2015

What to Pack When You're Going Home

Now that I'm back in Singapore, it seems like it's time for the long-planned "what to pack when visiting home" post. (I was actually reminded of this by Devangi, thank you!)

Ok, some of you might have seen this:

This is but a small part of the things I normally bring home. And no, my clothes and personal items are probably 10~20% of the total, so clearly, I buy a lot of things. And after all the trips home and 'testing' gifts on people, I'm ready to share what I think is the best thing to buy back. 

First, disclaimers and all that. My family does not have any food restrictions, religious or health otherwise. If your family doesn't eat meat, doesn't eat gluten, doesn't eat nuts, must have the meat killed a certain way, then please, check to make sure. Some of the things I recommend will probably be inappropriate for people with restrictions. 

Now, I basically group gifts into two groups: Supermarket Omiyage, and Airport Omiyage. 

Supermarket(/Konbini/Vending Machine) Omiyage

Not a very pretty sushi-candy.
This is the cheap things, and you should stock up on these. Think of how expensive Japanese snacks are in your country, then stock up at the supermarket. For Singapore, things like Green Tea Kit Kat, Kracie Poppin' Cookin' Candy (those things that make candy that looks like sushi and all that?). These things are relatively cheap, and you should totally buy these and bring it back. My family actually prefers this. 

I stock up on these, as every day snacks for the family and friends. 

Tip: Get the time-limited things if possible. And the Japan-limited ones. These rarely make it out of the country. 

Sample list:
  • Supermarket-brand Senbei (Inaka senbei, if you live near tourist attractions, are good too)
  • Pocky
  • Kit Kat
  • Cup Miso-Soup (my dad's latest fav)
  • Orange jelly (I'm normally asked to bring back at least two boxes at a go - this is probably why I go over the weight limit)
  • Lemon/Honey drink from the vending machines
  • Jagabee 
  • etc

Airport Omiyage
This is the expensive stuff, and the last things you will buy (just before you board the plane). It's also fairly expensive, so most of the time, I buy this for teachers and my parents co-workers and doctors and when you want to be fancy. 

Really awesome mochi

With sauce, so you may or may not be able to bring it on the plane
(I know if you transfer at Shanghai to Singapore, you can't bring it on)
The ultimate winner for this category has to be (for Singapore at least), 白い恋人 (shiroi koibito). It's a cookie sandwich, with chocolate in the middle, and everyone loves this. Recently, my mother loves Potato Farm, but it really reminds me of Jagabee. Both are from Hokkaido, but can be bought at most international airports. 

Tip: Buy things that are limited to your particular region, or anything that says 日本限定 (Japan-limited). 

Sample list:
  • Shiroi koibito
  • Royce (available in Singapore, but much cheaper in Japan)
  • Daifuku with seasonal fruits
  • The mochi with sauce (I forgot the name of it, but I included a picture above!) 
  • Fancy-smancy senbei/mochi
  • Huge, huge, hiyoko-flavoured Pocky
  • etc
And now you know why I always go over the weight limit. I hope the post gives you ideas on what to pack home! :D 

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