Someone needs to say this once and for all27 November, 2010 by Chad
I’m hesitant to say there aren’t, but there are few gifts you can return from a holiday with that are worst than souvenir chocolates. To illustrate this statement, here’s a look at a typical box of chocolates sold at local gift shops.
Based upon the text on the cover, we can assume that this product is marketed towards Japanese tourists visiting Singapore. It is customary for Japanese to bring back gifts for their family, friends and more importantly their colleagues when traveling overseas.
In fact, even those traveling outside of their town are expected to bring back something and this is referred to as “o-miyage”, a essential part of Japanese society. Naturally, it is exploited both locally and overseas.
Snacks are always a popular choice for gifts. It’s consumable and suits almost anyone other than those with peculiar allergies. And local specialty snacks really do make a great gift, it’s the reason why stuff like Tokyo Banana and Shiroi Koibito continue to sell well.
However, unless you’re traveling to South America, chocolate does not qualify as a local specialty. Even if it is in the shape of the Singapore Merlion, it’s going to taste exactly like the chocolate back home. And people are going to hate you for it.
In fact, half of the time souvenir chocolates aren’t even made in the country where it is marketed! Take this Singstars for example. And those Mickey Mouse shaped chocolates in Tokyo Disneyland? Totally made in Singapore.
The people making these souvenir chocolates are here to prey on the gullibility, or in the case of the Japanese, guilt in hoping that you would purchase their products. It doesn’t come cheap either. As a box like this easily goes for $20. This box is in front of me because it was nearing its expiry (it’s a good sign that no one was buying it) and a friend got it for $2. Even then, whether it is worth this discounted price is questionable.
みやげのチョコレートを買ってないほうがいい！Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.