I’m not a huge candy eater, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for Kit Kats. (For Mounds bars too, for that matter, but coconut is a practically nonexistent flavor here in Japan.) Kit Kats were always my favorite find in the Halloween candy bucket and the perfect “share-able” dessert since they crack so easily down the middle.
Which is why I was more than a little excited when I moved here to find out that Japan is known for its wacky and wild Kit Kat flavors. Below is a round-up of some of the more interesting flavors I have eaten lately:
1. Green Tea – Ah, the old standby. Matcha (green tea) crops up in nearly every Japanese dessert out there, from ice cream to mochi. So it only makes sense that Kit Kat would capitalize on this obsession with one of Japan’s largest cash crops. Green tea Kit Kats are surprisingly light, though that slightly grassy undertaste is never far behind, even in a chocolate bar.
2. Beniimo – Don’t let the color of this Kit Kat make you question its authenticity – beniimo, or Okinawan sweet potatoes, really are that purple. One of my guilty pleasures while leading tours to Naha’s Kokusai Street (the shopping mecca of the Okinawan islands) was the chance to snack on beniimo tarts at the ubiquitous purple sweet potato snack shops that lined the sidewalks. The beniimo Kit Kat manages to capture some of that natural sweetness, without descending too much into sugary overload.
3. Azuki – I’m afraid to let my daughter have even a bite of this Kit Kat for fear that she’ll find and devour the entire package while my back is turned. As a toddler, her current favorite snack is anpan, a bread roll filled with anko, or red bean paste, made from azuki beans. That distinctive flavor is very present in this Kit Kat, almost as an aftertaste but it’s there nonetheless.
4. Brown Sugar Syrup – Despite having lived in Okinawa, where brown sugar is a major crop, this is not a flavor I associate with Japanese cuisine. Rather, I’d have imagined the Canadians would do a bang up job on this, with their full bodied maple syrups. Yet I can’t complain about the Japanese version. It’s good. It’s maple-y. And if you like that, you won’t be disappointed.
5. Wasabi – Wow. Just wow. This is one potent candy bar. Alright, full disclosure. I’m the wuss who orders Spice Level -1 at the Japanese curry chain Coco Ichiban, so that right there should tell you I can’t take the “heat” all that well. And this candy bar has some heat. It’s not as much as the real deal, but I did feel my sinuses open up a bit more after eating this one.
Do YOU have a favorite Kit Kat flavor from your travels in Japan? What crazy candy discoveries have you made here?
I heard a weird rumour last year that South Koreans like cheese flavoured Tim Tams……yeuk. I just cannot get my head around any of these flavours…….at all! Green tea should be in a cup and Kit Kats should be made of wafer and chocolate, just conventional, regular, unadulterated chocolate……..wasabi in a Kit Kat???! HOW is that candy/confectionary?! It would be like making chocolate coated sushi…..just not right I’m afraid, I’m just old fashioned and traditional I guess!
I’m not sure I’d be first in line to try dessert sushi! But so long as the chocolate in a Kit Kat overpowers the other, stranger, flavors, it’s ok by me! 🙂
Have you tried the new オトナの甘さ series of KitKat? They are very good and made just for adults 🙂
I’ll definitely have to keep my eyes peeled for those!
I have not tried the azuki flavour yet and my wasabi kitkat is still in the fridge waiting to be eaten. Beniimo is really good too.
one of my fave is still lemon vinegar , I could not find it anymore ,:(, I guess that is why they called it limited.
Lemon vinegar? Sounds … interesting! 😛
What!! Beniimo kit kats?! I’ve yet to find those!! I’ve also spotted blueberry cheesecake ones near Mr.Fuji and cherry blossom ones (if I’m remembering right). My favorites in Japan are the dark chocolate at the convini. Those are plain jane, but soooo good!
I got the beniimo ones on a trip back to Okinawa earlier this year. They might just be a regional offering.
I love the citrus, purple sweet potato, and hot chili flavors.
Ooh, citrus. I think I’d be a fan of that one!
Where can i find azuki, wasabi, and brown sugar syrup in Okinawa?
Hi Anna – thanks for the comment. In Okinawa, the best place to check might be down on Kokusai Street in Naha. Be aware that some flavors are incredibly specific to certain regions and can’t be gotten elsewhere in Japan. Azuki was big in Kanazawa and Nagano but I have found it, along with wasabi, in Tokyo. I’m not too sure about brown sugar syrup. There is also a facebook page for Kit Kat Lovers in Atsugi. They might have some ideas.
I love Japanese Kit Kat’s so much I created a whole website about them! Thanks for your informative post!
I’m also a Japanese Kit Kat’s lover! I’ve eaten a raspberry one recently:) Wasabi is also great and Nagano prefecture’s specialities: carmel apple and dark chocolate with chilli. Omnomnom
Oooh, dark chocolate with chili! That sounds kinda awesome! My mother and I just made up a homemade chocolate (she makes candy) that is a soy sauce and maple buttercream. That’s a winning combination too, I’ve gotta say!
Wowowow, sounds kinda strange, but must be delicious! It’s so funny that you can discover unique flavours by mixing 2 things that one may think totally don’t match each other. Keep mixing and keep tasting:)