I recently heard of green tea and chestnut Kit Kats in Japan. I love to eat weird things, especially Japanese ones, and especially green tea flavors, so this was extremely exciting news. Since I was going to San Diego, and I remembered there being a Japanese community there, I told myself I’d stop at a certain shop and pick some up. I didn’t have to go that far, though, because I found a plethora of Japanese candy in Panninkin’s, a coffee and tea importer in the Gaslamp district. I bought almost every type of Kit Kat they had, in addition to some other Japanese chocolates because I just have no self control.
I actually didn’t know what I was buying when I bought it. Some of the Kit Kats had English or French on them, but most just had little icons or color cues. (I’d show you a photo of their full Kit Kat display, but they told me I couldn’t take photos of it.. after I bought over $20 of candy and two coffees from them. Come on, guys. That’s lame.)
That’s my Domu-kun cup! I got him at 7-11 when they did a promo. It seems really fitting to put Japanese Kit Kats in him. You may know him from the ‘Everytime you do (x), God kills a Kitten’ photos.
He is actually the mascot for a Japanese TV station, where he got some commercials.. and then he got his own manga, and his own video games, and internet fame. The 7-11 version portrayed him as ravenously eating everything in the store. In this image, it looks like he is trying to eat the ‘semisweet’ Kit Kat box.
What do we have here? The collection includes white chocolate and semi-sweet, which seem normal enough. There’s also raspberry and cookie-flavored. Still not impressed? How about bitter almond? (Cyanide flavored??) Mixed Juice? Pudding? Blueberry? They’re all here.
The golden Bitter Almond wrapper on the bottom reminds me of a Twix.
The yellow one in the middle is the Mixed Juice. I had originally seen the shapes as leaves and turkeys, so I hoped that one might be the Chestnut flavor when I bought it. Then I ate it, and it tasted like bananas. It turns out the images were fruit. Oops.
I don’t remember Kit Kats in America coming in boxes. These all contain two sleeves of two Kit Kats each, for four total. They really go all-out in making the boxes look different. There’s a flavor called Royal Milk Tea that even uses a British Burberry-like pattern on it. I, alas, did not get to try that one. In fact, even though my loot had a lot of flavors I’ve never seen in America, I missed the ones that were truly Japanese, like miso soup, soy, green tea, and sakura (cherry blossom). I also missed the ones that were truly weird, like corn, sweet potato, roasted tea, beets, and ginger ale. Yes, you can get all that in a Kit Kat. Here’s a comprehensive list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kit_Kat.
Here is the pink interior of the “Framboise” or raspberry. This was probably my favorite. I love the tart flavor of raspberry jelly, and it worked well with the wafer here.
This is the “Cookie Plus” flavor. You can see the extra dense layer on top — that’s where the cookie is. There also seems to be a greenish layer on the bottom.
That leads me to a funny story about Cookie Plus. Like I said, I didn’t know what kind of Kit Kats I had purchased. I spent a lot of time on the internet, looking at photos of other people’s Kit Kats and hoping they had captioned them. This worked for every case except one – Cookie Plus. Since I was desperate, and I’m not entirely unfamiliar with Japanese (I speak some and have been studying the culture since I was 10), I decided to try to translate it myself. There are three written languages in Japan – kanji, which has many, many elaborate symbols, hiragana, which is used for certain words in which the kanji is too difficult or doesn’t exist, or to augment kanji, and katakana, which is used for foreign words. Then, add in romaji, which is when they use roman letters (abc) to write Japanese sounds.
So, I assumed that the name of a Kit Kat flavor would be hiragana or katakana, because the letters didn’t look like kanji and it might be a foreign word. I eventually got ‘washiki purasu’ off the label. As soon as I saw purasu, I was excited, because that was probably ‘Plus’, so it seemed like I was using the write language. Unfortunately, washiki means a Japanese-style toilet. So, this was a “Toilet Plus!” flavored Kit Kat? I mean, it did have a, um, green layer at the bottom, and there were some whacky flavors, but that just seemed impossible. Plus I had already eaten some, so I had a vested interest.
After some more research, I stumbled upon a flavor called Cookie Plus. Alright! Now THAT seemed reasonable. But.. what’s the word for cookie? It’s kuuki. It turns out that the first part of the label used the kanji for cookie, which surprised me for a lot of reasons that I won’t go into here. Well, better than Toilet Plus!
These were just white chocolate Kit Kats. You can buy them in America, and they weren’t so exciting. I also tried a pudding flavor, which was good – it tasted like vanilla pudding with a touch of something else like cinnamon or caramel. That was my second favorite. No one died from eating Bitter Almond, either. Mixed Juice tasted like a banana milkshake, so I wasn’t a fan. I don’t remember how strawberry cheesecake tasted, because I ate it weeks ago. Blueberry, alas, is still uneaten, and someone is getting it for Gift Day.
Next on my list.. green tea, sakura, and a wine Kit Kat, if I can score it. Definitely try some if you can!
This last photo is for any desperate Googlers trying to figure out what Kit Kat they have in their hand.