Taing describes meeting Japan’s traditional snack makers as “life-changing,” and says he hopes to eventually publish a magazine about Japan’s snack culture. Bokksu’s grand aspiration is to teach its foodie customers about the country’s lesser-known culinary geniuses, Taing says, as well as “bridging [the] gap between the rest of the world and traditional Japan.” That’s why he tries avoid Japanese stereotypes and clichés: The bold orange packaging, for example, is a deliberate departure from the deep red that many Japan-centric businesses use in their branding.

Many of the snacks in a Bokksu box are acquired tastes, to be sure—but that’s part of the joy, teaching customers how to embrace unfamiliar tastes. Artisan snack makers have sometimes asked Taing how they should tweak their recipes to please foreigners. “What I told them is that you don’t have to change anything,” he says. “People’s tastes around the world are opening up. I don’t think they have to change to accommodate a Western palate. It’s really good to see that validated, time and time again.”

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