Japanese Kit Kats

British blogger Haikugirl has a great blog dedicated to the startlingly wide variety of Kit Kat candy available in Japan. Nestlé makes special Kit Kats for various regions of Japan that reflects a particular dessert or food product associated with that area. So you can all sorts of interesting and exotic flavors in addition to the standard chocolate.

When I was in Japan on business several years ago, I asked my friends at home if there was anything they wanted me to bring back for them. Several asked me to get them a selection of Kit Kats. Since I was in Sendai in northeastern Japan, I ended up getting a few packs that were the flavor of a famous regional dessert called zunda (ずんだ) which is essentially balls of mashed up edamame (soybeans). Then, during my layover at Narita Airport on my way back to the United States, I picked up an additional assortment of Kit Kats that included green tea, strawberry cheesecake (the featured flavor of Yokohama), wasabi, and soy sauce.

Green tea (macha) is a ubiquitous flavor for candy and desserts in Japan and it’s usually very tasty. That’s definitely the case with Kit Kats. There is also a version of the green tea that is sakura (cherry blossom) flavored, but I don’t know how they differ in taste. (Side note: if you find yourself at a Starbucks in Japan, try their macha latte. It’s much better than the version they serve back in America.)

The cheesecake was good, though a little too sweet for my tastes. The wasabi ones definitely had a hint of that burning hotness, but thankfully not nearly enough to hurt the sinuses. The soy sauce Kit Kat was quite interesting in a good way, though others might disagree. I definitely detected the soy flavor, but I remember it having a slight smokey flavor too. The edamame Kit Kats from Sendai were not that interesting to me; I felt the nutty taste of the edamame was a little hard to detect.

I’ve subsequently had a couple of other flavors of Japanese Kit Kats. There’s the chocolate and spicy chili pepper Kit Kats that I picked up during a trip up to Nagano, which reminds me of the spicy chocolate you can get in Mexico. There’s also a passionate fruit flavor that was featured this summer, which was fabulous. It had a strong passionate fruit flavor and scent, which you can smell the second you open the package, and no aftertaste. My wife says it is up there with macha as her favorite Japanese Kit Kat flavor.

Nestle was also selling an international variety pack in Japan that featured chocolate Kit Kats from Japan, America, the UK, and Australia. I distinctly remember the British version having a malty flavor, which I rather liked (Haikugirl also writes about British Kit Kats.)

As Haikugirl’s Kit Kat blog shows, there are even more Japanese flavors out there, from purple sweet potato to black honey. If you are in Japan and are looking to buy souvenirs for people back home, Japanese Kit Kats are something to consider. They can normally be found at souvenir stores at major train stations and airports.

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