Easy Japanese and Korean Cafe Recipes to Make At Home

During quarantine, many of us couldn’t visit our local cafes. In fact, sitting at my favorite coffee shop with an iced coffee while working is probably the thing I have missed the most! As a result, lots of us decided to create our own at-home cafes with recipes inspired by our favorite coffee shops.

Of all the coffee shops in the world, Japan and Korea have some of the most ambitious food and drink combinations. From whipped coffee to onigiri with adventurous fillings, Asian cafes serve up some seriously tasty treats! If you’ve been missing traveling and going to your favorite coffee shop, then whipping up these recipes at home is a fun and COVID-safe alternative.

I first got the idea to have an at-home Korean-slash-Japanese cafe from watching this video from Marie’s Kawaii World. There’s something to be said for a good stay-cation, and making these Japanese and Korean recipes will totally transport you to a different continent. Make sure to watch her video for some tasty drink ideas, and keep scrolling for some of my own personal favorites!

Dalgona Coffee

Have you ever heard of dalgona, or whipped, coffee? I hadn’t until very recently, but I’m dying to try it! It’s a classic staple at Korean coffee shops that has since taken Instagram by storm. This coffee can be made at home by whipping instant coffee, sugar, and hot water and spooning the whip over your choice of hot or cold milk. Get the recipe from My Korean Kitchen.

Matcha Green Tea Latte

Unsurprisingly, Japanese matcha is a staple at cafes in Japan. Matcha is a type of concentrated green tea. The tea leaves are ground to make a bright green powder with an earthy taste and smell. You can make a latte with matcha similarly to the way you would with coffee, by steaming milk and pouring steamed milk into your brewed matcha. Get the how-to on making a matcha green tea latte at home from Japan Centre.

Strawberry Milk

Fresh strawberry milk is a beloved Korean drink enjoyed both in cafes and at home. Instead of adding artificial colors and flavors to a bottle (like we do), the Koreans blend strawberry puree with a sugar syrup and your choice of milk, dairy or non-dairy. This simple at-home version uses sweetened condensed milk in lieu of sugar syrup, meaning you don’t need to melt the sugar over the stove. Get the recipe at Cookerru.

Fruits Sando

For Americans, sandwiches are almost exclusively a savory affair. Not for the Japanese! At a Japanese cafe, it’s not unusual to find a fruits sando, or fruit sandwich. Layers of whipped cream and fruit are sandwiched between two slices of milk bread, a soft and sweet Japanese white bread. You can use any store-bought white bread in lieu of milk bread — but, of course, don’t forget to cut the crusts off in true Japanese fashion. Get the recipe from Sylvia Wakana.

Fruit Sandwich / フルーツサンド | For more description see here boh… | Flickr

Chapssaltteok (Red Bean Mochi)

Mochi are dumplings made from a sweet rice dough. They originated in Japan but are also popular in Korea, where this version — known as chapssaltteok — is from. These mochi are filled with red bean paste, a sweet filling made from adzuki beans. You can find red bean paste (or adzuki beans to make your own) at your local Asian grocery store, or perhaps in the international aisle of your regular supermarket. Get the recipe at My Korean Kitchen.

Onigiri

If you like sushi, then you’ll almost definitely love onigiri. These Japanese snacks, otherwise known as rice balls, are made from cooked sushi rice and a sweet or savory filling. Some traditional fillings include tuna and mayo, bonito flakes, or salted ume plums. However, you can make them without filling…or even fill them with leftovers, as the Japanese often do! Another version of onigiri, known as onigirazu, uses rice as a sandwich for layers of meat and veggies, wrapped in nori (seaweed paper). Get a basic onigiri recipe from Wandercooks, or follow this onigirazu recipe from Just One Cookbook.

Purin

Got more of a sweet tooth than a savory one? Then you’ll love purin, a Japanese caramel custard pudding often served in cafes. You’ll recognize it from the name of the Sanrio character Pompompurin, who is named and designed after purin, his favorite dessert! Surprisingly, purin is easy to make with just a few tasty ingredients. It’s the perfect dessert to impress guests with, since it looks fancy despite being delightfully simple. Get the recipe from Tiffy Cooks.

Homemade Creme Caramel with Sweet Syrup / Custard Pudding | Flickr

Blippo Kawaii Shop: Best Of The 2021 Tokyo Sale

Another year, another Blippo Kawaii Shop Tokyo Sale! The Tokyo Sale is an annual event at Blippo Kawaii Shop, where a select number of kawaii products are significantly discounted.

In recent months, Blippo’s selection has been dramatically expanding. They have stocked a bunch of new items from brands like San-X and Mindwave, and started carrying new brands like Gloomybear and Tokidoki.

As for the Tokyo Sale, Blippo has added many high-quality kawaii products to its sale section in honor of the occasion. You can find characters and brands like Sumikko Gurashi, Bonbonribbon, and Pote Usa Loppy among the stock.

I’ve curated a list of my favorite finds from the 2021 Tokyo Sale section to help you decide what to buy. Don’t forget to stock up — the Tokyo Sale ends soon!

Mameshiba San Kyodai Sakura Plushie Charm ($5)

Japan’s month-long sakura viewing season has come and gone, but it is not your last chance to get your hands on these limited-edition sakura shiba plushies! These cuties are wearing festival ornaments with motifs like sakura blossoms and Hanami dango, with a chain attached so you can carry them on your keys, backpack, or anywhere else that makes you happy.

Pote Usa Loppy Rope Handle Shoulder Bag ($21)

Want to carry your picnic or beach day items, library books, or farmer’s market groceries in kawaii style? Then you need this rope-handle shoulder bag featuring Pote Usa Loppy’s Shiloppy! Sturdy rope handles, a convenient pocket, and a magnetic closure make this bag a high-quality investment for your next daytime excursion.

Sumikko Gurashi Japanese Souvenir Socks ($5)

Blippo has added a wide variety of Japanese souvenir socks featuring Sumikko Gurashi characters to its Tokyo Sale lineup, including this pair including a kokeshi doll. The kokeshi doll is a popular souvenir in Tohoku, Japan! With these socks, you can travel the world without ever needing to leave your backyard. COVID-safe vacay, here we come.

Bonbonribbon Pencil Set ($3)

Whether you’re looking to sketch in your bullet journal or take an exam, these kawaii Bonbonribbon pencils will brighten up your day. You’ll get four hexagonal pencils with a cute design featuring Bonbonribbon and her bunny friends, as well as a selection of buttons. And, thanks to the Tokyo Sale, you can get them for as little as $3!

Sumikko Gurashi Multi-Color Pen ($3)

If you ever have trouble deciding which color pen to use, this Sumikko Gurashi-themed multi-color pen will solve your dilemma. This pen comes with a color for every mood. You can even switch it up mid-sentence if you’re feeling mischievous! The theme of these pens is “happy friends,” which perfectly describes the Sumikko gang in this design.

Colorful Princess Eraser Set ($3)

Get a taste of the royal treatment with this colorfully cute eraser set from Blippo! If you grew up in the early 2000s like I did, these Japanese puzzle erasers will bring you right back to your childhood (and taking apart and putting back together puzzle erasers to distract yourself in class). With designs like wands, tiaras, and gems, these erasers are perfect for embracing the magical girl inside of you.

Sumikko Gurashi Stickers with Gum ($3)

What could be cuter than these kawaii sticker and gum packages featuring the Sumikko Gurashi gang? The Tokyo Sale is rich with Sumikko Gurashi this year, and these tiny boxes full of goodies are no exception! Each pack comes with three pieces of stickers and one piece of gum. Chew some bubblegum while decorating to your heart’s content with these adorable Sumikko Gurashi stickers.

Kawaii Bento Box Lunch Ideas

Bento is a Japanese tradition of packing lunch in a small, single-serve container that dates all the way back to the 1100s. When you think about how old it is, it seems crazy that the bento craze only reached the United States a couple of years ago.

Kawaii character-inspired bentos, called kyaraben, are one of the cutest ways to pack lunch. Just looking at bento box ideas on Pinterest is enough to brighten up your lunch break — and make you hungry! Better yet, they’re versatile: even the pickiest eaters can customize a kawaii bento box to their tastes.

In this blog post, you’ll learn how to pack your very own kawaii bento, including what tools you need to get started and what to pack in your bento lunch box. Let’s get started!

What You Need

Bento Box

The foundation of your meal is the bento box you will pack it in. These days, there are many different styles of bento boxes, including Japanese and Western brands, for you to choose from. Some bento boxes have multiple layers for you to store snacks and side dishes on top, with a larger compartment on the bottom for a main dish. Others come with removable dividers you can use to divvy up the bento box however you see fit. Still others come with their own utensils for easy eating!

Bento Boxes for Adults - 1400 ML Bento Lunch Box For Kids Childrens With Spoon & Fork - Durable, Leak-Proof for On-the-Go Meal, BPA-Free and Food-Safe Materials
LOVINA Bento Box for Kids & Adults ($15)

Rice Molds

A traditional Japanese bento lunch is built around rice balls. Rice molds are a fun way to make your lunch box more kawaii. They come in adorable shapes, like bears and bunnies. You can even find rice molds to create rice balls in the shape of your favorite kawaii characters, like Hello Kitty!

Halloluck 3-Pack Rice Molds ($7)

Cookie Cutters

Different sized cookie cutters are a must-have for personalizing your bento box. You can use them on sandwiches, slices of meat or cheese, veggies, and fruits to make your bento lunch more unique. These sweet shapes can make even the most boring lunch kawaii!

LENK Vegetable Cutter Shapes Set,Mini Pie,Fruit and Cookie Stamps Mold,Cookie Cutter Decorative Food,for Kids Baking and Food Supplement Tools Accessories Crafts for Kitchen,Green,9 Pcs
LENK Vegetable Cutter Shapes Set ($9)

Cupcake Liners

Cupcake liners are perfect for divvying up the compartments of your bento box or keeping a picky eater’s food from touching. You can fill them with berries, pieces of melon, cherry tomatoes, crackers, or cookies to add a little bit of extra to your bento box.

Patelei Animal Theme Cupcake Liners ($12)

Toothpicks

Cute cocktail toothpicks are the perfect decorative accent for any bento box lunch. You can use them for clean and easy pickup on melon balls or cherry tomatoes, or even use them to create meat and cheese or caprese skewers.

Bird Cocktail Picks - Olive Skewers Bpa Free Reusable Sandwich Sticks Appetizer Toothpicks Fruit Stick, Perfect for Cocktail Party Home set of 12 pcs 3.14 Inches
Canos Bird Cocktail Picks ($10)

Kawaii Bento Lunch Ideas

Sandwich Lunch

Many of us think of sandwiches as boring lunch fare, but that couldn’t be further from the truth when you’re talking about bento boxes. Sandwiches’ ability to be cookie cut into unique shapes makes them extremely versatile for themed bentos. You can use slices of meat and cheese to create faces and other accents on your sandwich creations!

Pasta Lunch

Pasta salad makes for a versatile lunch because of the many ways you can make it. Traditional macaroni salad, pesto and caprese, Caesar salad… the list goes on and on. Or, alternatively, serve up warm pasta with your favorite sauce in a thermos, or even a noodle stir fry.

Meat and Cheese Crackers Lunch

A meat and cheese crackers lunch feels nostalgic to me, probably because it reminds me of those little turkey Lunchables I used to eat in elementary school. You can make it kawaii by cutting the meats and cheeses into cute shapes with your mini cookie cutters!

Rice Ball Lunch

The rice ball lunch is a staple of the Japanese bento tradition. What’s awesome about rice balls is that they can be sculpted into any shape your heart desires. Want Rilakkuma-shaped bear rice balls? Do it. Pink-dyed Hello Kitty cat-shaped rice balls? Go for it!

Four Lucky Bags (Fukubukuro) to Help You Ring in the New Year

In the United States, the New Year is a time for $1 gym memberships — but in Japan, it’s fukubukuro, or lucky bag, season.

With the exception of Tatcha’s free-with-$100-purchase lucky bags (which swept the beauty news circuit), this trend unfortunately hasn’t swept the U.S. yet the way some other Japanese fads have. If it were my choice, I would take the lucky bags over the diet culture any day!

Thankfully, you can still get fukubukuro in some select locations here in the U.S. Some of these fukubukuro are shipped from overseas, while others come from the States themselves. While the wait may be longer for those that are shipped internationally, it’s always worth it once you open up your lucky bag and see what’s inside.

These four fukubukuro will help you ring in the New Year with a kawaii surprise. Just make sure you grab one before it’s too late: fukubukuro are usually available for a limited time only!

Tips for Getting Fukubukuro in the United States

Because fukubukuro are a Japanese trend that hasn’t yet become widespread in the United States, you’ll need to do some digging in order to get your hands on authentic Japanese lucky bags. My best tips for getting fukubukuro in the United States are as follows:

  • Look at U.S.-based kawaii and Japanese pop culture stores first. Many of these stores have adopted the lucky bag trend, and you’ll pay less in shipping than if you get your fukubukuro from Japan.
  • Use a proxy service to order off of Amazon Japan or other places that sell fukubukuro. Proxy services like ZenMarket hire someone to buy Japan-only items for you. Then, they mail them to you at a lower shipping cost than if you were to purchase them yourself.
  • Search for prior years’ fukubukuro (or unwanted new fukubukuro) on sites like Poshmark and Mercari. Some people are getting rid of theirs at a far lower price point than what they retail for!
  • Expect to pay up to $200 for authentic Japanese lucky bags. The price typically depends on the size, but generally speaking, you’ll need to pay more for a Japanese lucky bag than for a lucky bag sold by a U.S. company. This is because lucky bags are highly coveted in Japan, and fukubukuro season can get competitive among consumers!

Four Lucky Bags That Ship to the United States

Sugoi Mart Lucky Bag

Run by the subscription box company Japan Crate, Sugoi Mart is a shop for getting Japan-only items. Much of their stock centers on Japanese food, which often comes in flavors we would consider wild here in the U.S. If you want to test your taste buds (and snag some kawaii bonus items in the process), grab yourself a Sugoi Mart Lucky Bag this January. They cost $50 and are guaranteed to contain double the value.

Blippo Surprise Kawaii Mixed Bag

Blippo Kawaii Shop sells both signature and character goods. Shipped from Singapore, the $22.50 lucky bag is guaranteed to contain a mix of home goods, stationery, plush, and more from their rich warehouse. You’ll get at least 15 adorable products when you buy a Blippo surprise bag. Because it’s such a steal, I just got my hands on one today. I can’t wait for it to get here so I can show you all what I got! (Note: while I’ve worked with Blippo in the past, I purchased the lucky bag with my own money; this is not a PR product.)

Tofu Cute Panda Mixed Lucky Bag

Tofu Cute is a U.K.-based kawaii shop that sells signature lucky bags stuffed with kawaii goodies. They have both vegetarian and carnivorous versions, since their bags contain a mixture of snacks and Amuse plush. You can also get a version of the lucky bag that contains Amuse plush only — perfect for the plushie hoarder in your life! The Tofu Cute lucky bag costs about 30 GBP, which comes out to about $40 when converted to USD.

JapanLA $40 Kids Surprise Lucky Bag

JapanLA is a Japanese pop culture store based in, you guessed it, Los Angeles, California! Their proximity to Japan makes it easy for them to get their hands on authentic Japanese merchandise. This $40 lucky bag says it’s for kids, but I take that to mean that it’s for the young at heart 🙂 What the bag really contains is an assortment of Hello Kitty items valued between $100 and $150, making it perfect for any Sanrio fans out there. If you’re feeling extra lucky, they also sell a $75 version, too.

Kawaii Black Friday Deals 2020

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission on any purchases made from my blog. Thank you for supporting Heal with Haley!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve already spent way too much time and money on Black Friday this year. But if you’re still looking for the perfect gift for that special someone, or need a sweet kawaii treat to pick yourself up, I’ve got you covered. Here are the cutest, pinkest deals for Black Friday 2020 from all over the web!

Amazon

You all know Amazon, so you don’t need me to tell you what’s up. Because Amazon is made up of independent retailers, they’ve got a wide variety of deals going on this Cyber Week.

My Picks

Save on this adorable money bank with a passcode lock, which makes the perfect gift for you or the child in your life. ($21)

If you, like me, went out and bought a Nintendo Switch on Black Friday so you could play Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’ll need this cute carrying case to protect your purchase. ($17)

You’re never too old for a nostalgic toy like a Tamagotchi. The new Tamagotchi On is $10 off on Amazon today — and comes with cool new features like a garden and, yes, even marriage. ($50)

Sanrio USA

Sanrio USA, the American home to Hello Kitty and her kawaii friends, is offering 30% off any purchase, as well as a free gift with any $50 purchase: a mirror compact shaped like Hello Kitty’s signature bow.

My Picks

Adorned by Chi x Hello Kitty Journal

This super-cute notebook was designed by Adorned by Chi, so you’ll be supporting a Black artist with your purchase. ($25)

Lazy 80s Gudetama Put Yo Hands Up Joggers

These comfy ‘n’ kawaii sweats come from Gudetama’s Lazy 80s collection, a clothing line inspired by both the neon era and everyone’s favorite egg. ($40)

JuJuBe x Hello Kitty Kimono Midi Backpack

This JuJuBe x Hello Kitty backpack is a bit of a splurge, but I think it’s worth it to tote around your essentials with something that makes you smile. ($70)

Modcloth

Everyone’s favorite destination for vintage clothing also carries kawaii items, if you know where to look. Their entire site is 30% off, while sale items are an extra 40% off, in your cart.

My Picks

As a sale item, you’ll be pleased to know you’ll get an extra 40% off this sweet floral midi dress — sizes run up to 4X! ($33)

This cheerful rainbow ornament may be 30% off, but it’s going to look 100% adorable on your Christmas tree. ($10)

Get ready to feel like the ultimate girly-girl when you pull on these flirty pink socks. ($11)

Dolls Kill

Dolls Kill is an alternative fashion store that carries cute goth and kawaii clothing, as well as beauty, pop culture items, and more. Their entire site is marked down and they are offering a free bucket hat with every purchase.

My Picks

Cherish My Love Wrap Sweater

This fuzzy cropped sweater — inspired by ballerina warmup attire — will help keep you warm in any weather. ($34)

This 40%-off gingham bow clip is the most adorable way to accessorize a messy ponytail or sweet half updo. ($5)

And, speaking of 40% off, Dolls Kill also carries a bunch of items from your favorite K-beauty brands, like this Pocket Bunny Sleek Mist from Tonymoly.

Hot Topic

If you had a middle school punk phase like I did, you probably remember Hot Topic pretty well! This pop culture store has deals such as $15 tee shirts and B1G1 50% off sweatshirts. For items without promos, they’re offering 30% off the rest of the store.

My Picks

Kawaii Potato T-Shirt, CHARITY PINK, hi-res

While you’re lounging around at home, pull on this pink potato tee shirt to instantly feel more kawaii. ($15)

Sailor Moon Crystal Star Makeup Bag, , alternate

Harness the power of the moon with this adorable Sailor Moon Crystal Star makeup bag — it’s perfect for holding your kawaii beauty finds! ($9)

Strawberry Milk Enamel Pin, , hi-res

If you collect enamel pins, then now is the time to stock up on goodies from Hot Topic, such as this kawaii strawberry milk pin. ($5)

Smoko

Inspired by Asian food favorites like dumplings and boba, Smoko sells plush, ambient lights, and other cozy accessories to help you stay home in style. Their entire site is 25% off this Black Friday — with no exceptions!

My Picks

Stay toasty with this microwaveable plushie shaped like a lil dumpling — it’s even lavender-scented for an extra layer of relaxation. ($17)

If you love an internet kitty as much as I do, then you need this Pusheenicorn ambient light for your bedroom. ($12)

Stay clean and safe in style with this kawaii boba tea-themed hand sanitizer keychain, which comes with an empty bottle for pouring in your favorite sani scents. ($9)

Bunniful Wishes

Bunniful Wishes is your one-stop shopping destination for all things squishy and collectible! This independent kawaii store is offering 20% off purchases over $10, as well as free gifts with purchases over $30.

My Picks

Bring home one of these super-cute lollipop girl plushies and find a new friend in Claire, Luna, or Lola! ($24)

This Picnyan cat bread toast squishy is almost gone, so don’t wait to get your hands on one of these adorable, stress-relieving toys! ($6)

Or, if ReMent miniatures are more your thing, the Kirby terrarium collection is a great way to get to 20% off! ($16)

Etsy

Support a small business this Black Friday by shopping on Etsy. Each store owner sets their own sales, so you never know what you’re going to find!

My Picks

Dittogotchi Enamel Pin Ditto x Tamagotchi image 0

This artful enamel pin from the artist Reallybigdill combines the retro Tamagotchi design with Ditto from Pokemon for a unique addition to your backpack, purse, or denim jacket. ($8)

Kawaii Sticker Mystery Surprise Oops Grab Bag image 0

I love Oops Bags like this one from sticker artist Kat Blush, since you never know what will be inside! This was one of my personal Black Friday purchases, and I can’t wait to receive it. ($4)

Chic kawaii surprise mistery bag super cute image 0

Today, you can get a baggie full of kawaii goodies from the Etsy artist ChicKawaii for the price of two cups of coffee. I couldn’t resist buying one of my own! ($8)