Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sparkling Strawberry Kit Kat

It's strawberry season in Japan. Well, technically it will be strawberry season in January but Nestle thinks that December is close enough so we have not one but TWO strawberry flavors out right now. I'll be reviewing the other one later. Today it's the Sparkling Strawberry Kit Kat.

I'm not sure what is supposed to sparkling about these strawberries. The front of the box suggests something carbonated - I guessed champagne. And it did have some fizzy powder in the creme, similar to the Ramune Kit Kat, but it didn't really sparkle in the way I had hoped. No edible glitter or champagne flavored creme.

The Sparkling Strawberry Kit Kat is 99 calories a bar and comes in a box of two. It was white chocolate and pink colored. It definitely smelled like strawberries but it was the fake kind. The taste was also of the fake strawberry variety. The chocolate was a very tart strawberry flavor. It reminded me more of the strawberries I eat back home in America, that need a little sugar sprinkled on them, rather than the really sweet strawberries I get here in Japan. I prefer the sweeter variety so this extra sourness was not something I really enjoyed. The addition of the fizzy powder didn't do much in the way of making it fizzy but may have contributed to the sourness because I remember liking the Strawberry Kit Kat I tried back in May.

Overall, I give this one a lower score. It was too sour and there are several other strawberry Kit Kats out there that I like better. Now maybe if it had really sparkled...

Final Score: 4

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Strawberry Cheesecake Kit Kat - Yokohama Limited Edition

I recently took a trip up to Tokyo to visit a friend. I warned her before I came that I would be hunting Kit Kats so she wasn't surprised when I insisted on going in every conbini we came across. Although a fat lot of good it did me since I didn't find a single one I didn't already have. I had better luck in the train station though. They had lots of regional specialties on sale for those travelers looking for some last minute omiyage.

A few of them I had already tried, like the Soy Sauce Kit Kat and the Wasabi Kit Kat. And then there was the Sweet Potato Kit Kat that looked similar enough to the Roasted Sweet Potato Kit Kat that I didn't think it was worth the money to try it again. (If anyone has tried this one and wants to let me know if I made the right decision that would be great!)

But they did have Strawberry Cheesecake Kit Kat, which although it is doing very poorly in my poll, I just couldn't pass up. They actually had two choices available. The large box of 12 for 870 yen or a smaller box of 5 for 370 yen. The smaller box is actually made for mailing to your friends, which I think is a cute idea. I know I like getting candy in the mail!

The Strawberry Cheesecake Kit Kat is a specialty of Yokohama. With 69 calories a bar, this Kit Kat is another white chocolate Kit Kat but unlike the other strawberry varieties I've tried, it wasn't pink colored, just plain white. This is similar to how the Blueberry Cheesecake Kit Kat looked. Unlike the Blueberry Cheesecake Kit Kat though there was more of a noticeable strawberry taste although I still could do with a little more cheesecake flavor than what I got. What little there was tasted more like yogurt although it did a good job of balancing out the sourness of the strawberry flavor that I've tasted in other Kit Kat strawberry varieties. Overall it was a good snacking experience. I won't have any trouble finishing off my little mail pack. (Sorry friends you won't be getting any Kit Kats in the post anytime soon.)

Final Score: 7

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kit Kats I won't be eating anytime soon :-(

As hard as I try it is impossible for me to try every Kit Kat flavor available in the world, but luckily there are some other amazing bloggers who pick up the slack. Here are two reviews of two Kit Kats I won't be able to try anytime soon due to lack of availability.

Kit Kat Mild Bitter from Japanese Snack Reviews is a special edition Kit Kat that is so special it's only sold in one store in Japan. Too bad too because I would love a dark chocolate Kit Kat.

Peanut Butter Kit Kat Chunky from Snack Love is a British Kit Kat so that makes it hard to get here in Japan.

Check them out!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Whole Wheat Kit Kat

Whole wheat isn't that popular here. If you want three pieces of suspiciously light colored "wheat" bread at the supermarket be prepared to pay twice as much than you would pay for six pieces of bread whiter than Wonder Bread. Darker breads are on the top of "Foods I miss from home" list. So I was surprised to find a Whole Wheat Kit Kat in Japan.

The Whole Wheat Kit Kat is a Kit Kat Bar, so instead of two smaller fingers you get one large candy bar. I'm not a huge fan but chocolate is chocolate, right? This one happens to be milk chocolate and is a regular Kit Kat in everything except that the wafers are made with whole wheat. To be honest though there is little difference between a wafer made with whole wheat flour and one that isn't. It's not quite as sweet and there is a slightly different taste to the wafers (slightly more wheaty...wheatish?) but it's minimal. I might not have noticed if it wasn't this Kit Kat's selling point.

Still, because it was so close to the original, it makes for an excellent snack. And you might even be able to fool yourself into thinking it's healthier since it's made with whole wheat. That's what I told myself as I ate the entire thing in one sitting.

Final Score: 9

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wasabi Kit Kat - Shizuoka Limited Edition

I was in Shizuoka two weekends ago and because I almost left my luggage on one train and had to sprint back to get it before it left without me, I missed my next train and had to hang around the station for an extra 30 minutes or so. And that's when I came across the Wasabi Kit Kat - a Shizuoka special.

Wasabi is known as the Japanese horseradish and has a strong flavor that can open your sinus cavities if you have a cold. I'm personally a fan. I like it with my sushi and sashimi. And apparently most of it is grown on the Izu peninsula in Shizuoka.

But while I like it with sushi, I never quite imagined it as a Kit Kat flavor. Although there is a precedent for adding spicy things to chocolate. There is Mexican Hot Chocolate, a favorite of my friend Kristin. You can buy bars of Hot Chili Pepper Chocolate. And then there's my hometown speciality - Skyline Chili - secret ingredients: cinnamon and chocolate.

The Wasabi Kit Kat comes in a box of 12 like the other regional specialties and each bar is 69 calories. They are light green in color. They smell sweet like white chocolate but with a hint of wasabi underneath. But while the scent is subtle the flavor is not. This Kit Kat doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the wasabi, with wasabi flavored chocolate and wasabi flavored cream between the wafers. The sweetness of the white chocolate and wafer battles it out in your mouth with the hotness of the wasabi. It's just shy of being too much wasabi. Any more and you'd be grabbing for your water.

For me, it was a little too much. If I had that much wasabi with my sushi I would probably dial it back a bit and I would have liked less here as well. In fact, I don't see myself finishing this box anytime soon. I didn't even finish the two bars I usually eat when writing a review. But it was definitely interesting to try the spicy and sweet combination. I sometimes complain that some of the crazy flavors of Kit Kat are too sweet but this definitely wasn't one of them. I would be interested in trying some more spicy chocolate combos.

What do you think? Do you like your chocolate spicy?

Final Score: 4

Friday, November 27, 2009

Melt In Your Mouth Chocolate Kit Kat

The new Melt In Your Mouth Chocolate Kit Kat sure does live up to its name. But Melt In Your Mouth Chocolate Kit Kat is a really long name for a Kit Kat so from here on out I'm going to refer to it as a Fudge Kit Kat because essentially that is what it is.

I haven't eaten any fudge in Japan and I've never seen it anywhere so either I don't know what to look for or it just isn't that popular here. It is more of a seasonal candy in the US though. Most of the fudge I consume is done so right around the Christmas holidays so the winter seasonal box with snow falling on evergreen trees is definitely appropriate. It will set you back a little more than a normal pack of minis though. For 230 yen you get a box of five Fudge Kit Kat minis each only 70 calories.

I love dark chocolate so I was very happy to see that this Kit Kat is covered in a little darker chocolate than what you normally get with a classic milk chocolate Kit Kat and the creme is also fudge chocolate so the overall effect is one of chocolately goodness. As advertised, it really does melt in your mouth. It's almost as good as the fudge your grandmother used to make. Maybe even better (but please don't tell my grandma I said that) because the wafers keep it from being too rich. If I were a Japanese entertainer I would let out an orgasmic OISHIIII after eating one of these. They're that good.

So far I haven't rated anything a 10 out 10. Someone asked me if that was because nothing is perfect. I told them a classic Kit Kat bar would rate a 10 but so far nothing has equaled the simple yet classic combination of milk chocolate and wafer. The Kinako and Cafe Latte bars have come close but they still weren't quite a 10. And then came the Fudge Kit Kat - an improvement on fudge and an equal of the classic Kit Kat. So here you go. My very first 10 rating. If you like fudge then this is the candy bar for you!

Final score: 10!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


PollPub.com VoteWhich regional Kit Kat should I try next?
Corn Kit Kat
Strawberry Cheesecake Kit Kat
Apple Kit Kat
Golden Orange Blend Kit Kat
"Five Conspirators" Kit Kat (something to do with a pepper blend? maybe?)
Crimson Kit Kat (from Okinawa)

View Results

Poll powered by PollPub.com Free Polls

Monday, November 16, 2009

Royal Milk Tea

We don't have Royal Milk Tea in America. And I'm pretty sure they don't have it in England either, despite the British guards marching around on the outside of this box. But that isn't to say that milk tea isn't delicious or not worthy of having its own Kit Kat flavor. I often drink milk tea in the winter. It's easy to make - two heaping spoonfuls of powder in hot water and you're ready to go. And if you're feeling poorly a fellow teacher of mine suggested milk tea with a squeeze of ginger as a cold remedy. You can also drink it cold but so far I haven't tried that, but my friend Masako orders it when we go out for dinner.

The Royal Milk Tea Kit Kat is again white chocolate with each bar being 100 calories (2 bars per box.) It smells just like the tin of milk tea powder I have sitting in my kitchen currently and the taste is spot on. A darker chocolate wouldn't have given it that dehydrated milk taste that you get with the real thing. Overall, it borders on being too sweet but then the drink it's based on is also fairly sweet, so really this taste combined with chocolate makes for a great Kit Kat.

I washed it down with some regular old black tea. I wouldn't recommend drinking milk tea with it just because then you would have milk tea overload and you might go into a sugar shock due to the sweetness but paired with a slightly more bitter drink, like black tea or coffee, then this is the perfect afternoon snack.

Final Score: 7

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ginger Ale Kit Kat

I'm a little late to the game reviewing this Kit Kat. It's been out for quite awhile already but I think I've figured out that the conbini across the street from my apartment only sells every other limited edition Kit Kat. So right now they are still trying to finish off the Kinako Ohagi Kit Kat inventory and they only just got rid of all the Mango Pudding Kit Kats. This means that I'm going to have to be more diligent about getting to the "big" city and making sure I get the latest Kit Kats. Such are the disadvantages of living out in the cabbage fields of Japan. (There are advantages - free veggies from my farmer friends for one.)

The Ginger Ale Kit Kat definitely lives up to its name. Whether or not you're a fan of Ginger Ale will probably determine how much you like this one. Each bar (2 fingers) is 100 calories and there are two bars in each box. These are once again white chocolate and have a slightly yellowish color to them. Somehow they manage to both smell lemony and like ginger ale. The package has a picture of ginger ale with a slice of lemon in it. I don't really drink ginger ale but I've never seen it with lemon before? Do people drink it that way?

Taste-wise it was an interesting experience. There was a strong lemon taste but it didn't override the ginger ale taste that was definitely there. The box advertises soda powder in the wafers and the photo on the front certainly highlights the carbonation in the ginger ale, but it failed to really deliver on that aspect. There was a very slight hint of a fizz but it was less of the bubbly sensation you get with pop and instead was just an odd sour note in a mix of other strange tastes. I suppose if you like ginger ale then you might like this Kit Kat but for me it was a snacking failure, especially since it left a flat ginger ale taste in my mouth for almost 30 minutes afterwards.

Final Score: 4

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cafe Latte Kit Kat

I reviewed the Espresso Coffee Kit Kat and the Tiramisu Kit Kat and wondered if they weren't the same Kit Kat in different wrappers, so when I saw this bag of Cafe Latte minis on the shelf in my local grocery store I wondered if this was just another repackaged version of an (underwhelming) coffee flavored Kit Kat. I was pleasantly surprised.

If you know me, then you know that I like my coffee strong and I like it sweet. (I like Starbucks black with six sugars.) So I have very high expectations from any Kit Kat claiming to be coffee flavored. From the moment I opened the bag the coffee smell was strong. The only thing that smells more like coffee than these Kit Kats is coffee. They are white chocolate but they have a light brown tint to them that is suggestive of their flavor - cafe latte. Each mini is 68 calories. Both the chocolate and the cream is coffee flavored, giving this a particularly strong coffee taste. It reminded me of the chocolate covered coffee beans I used to eat in college in order to stay awake - not quite that powerful but much more flavorful than with the Espresso Coffee Kit Kat or the Tiramisu Kit Kat.

Usually I prefer to buy bags of minis that have a mix of the crazy flavor and the classic chocolate. This bag came with only Cafe Latte Minis and for once I really don't mind. They make the perfect after work snack.

Final Score: 9

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kit Kats in the news

This piece in the news explains why there are so many different kinds of Kit Kats in Japan.

What it doesn't explain is why my 7-11 hasn't stocked the Ginger Ale Kit Kat yet. It looks like once again I will have to spread my net wider in an effort to get my hands on one.

Check it out!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Soy Sauce Kit Kat - Tokyo Limited Edition

After several weeks of looking at it in my kitchen, I finally broke down and tried the Soy Sauce Kit Kat. I think this might be the most disgusting sounding Kit Kat I have tried so far. Luckily, it was not the most disgusting tasting (the Rose Kit Kat still maintains that honor.) That being said, I think I will keep my soy sauce for dipping my sushi in or pouring over my fried rice.

The Soy Sauce Kit Kat is another regional limited edition sold only in the Tokyo area or online. I bought mine online for 810 yen plus shipping. Each box comes with 12 mini Kit Kats and a little description of the area they are supposed to represent, (which I can't read because my Japanese is bad.)

Like most of the strange flavored Kit Kats this one is white chocolate. It had a very generic white chocolate smell - very sweet and with no detectable soy sauce smell. The actual soy sauce flavor was very very very slight and concentrated in the wafers. In fact, I had to take several bites to make sure I was even tasting any soy sauce. It certainly wasn't as salty as the real thing can be but I guess having a more intense soy sauce flavor might push these into the inedible category.

These are definitely a novelty flavor, and not something I would ever willingly eat again. Not that they were bad just that they were so underwhelming and bland that I would rather have something better when it comes to snack time. Some commenters have mentioned that they had a maple syrup-ish flavor to them and I can taste that, but it was just too sweet for me. If you like white chocolate then you might enjoy the little twist the soy sauce flavor adds but I won't be trying them again.

Final Score: 4

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caramel Pudding Kit Kat

Halloween isn't really a tradition here in Japan other than what companies can do to market it. There is a Happy Halloween sign at my local grocery store and a display with what I would consider some pretty random Halloween products. Nestle Kit Kat's at least are candy and make sense but since they never get handed out to trick or treaters it is still a little strange to see them with Jack O'lanterns and happy witches flying across the package. There's some sort of campaign involved too where kids can send in points from the package in order to win their dream or wish (whatever that may be???) I was more interested in the taste than any possible prizes, however.

The Caramel Pudding Kit Kats are sold in packages of minis are individually at the conbini. Each Kit Kat is 66 calories. They are milk chocolate (yay!) with caramel in the wafers. I was afraid these would be too much like the Custard Pudding Kit Kats I tried back in June but really they turned out to be much more like the Salt and Caramel Kit Kat Bites I tried earlier this month. Chocolate and caramel with some wafers - a basic but delicious combination. Although I must say there was very little pudding taste. The Custard Pudding Kit Kat focused more on the pudding taste with just a hint of caramel while these went straight for the caramel taste. They lacked the perfect salty ending that I loved with the Salt and Caramel Kit Kat Bites but overall they were still very tasty.

I would probably prefer a Twix for satisfying my chocolate/caramel cravings but since those aren't readily available in Japan then these are a great substitute (for as long they last.) If you have to choose between the Caramel Pudding or the Salt and Caramel though I would definitely go with the Salt and Caramel.

Final Score: 7

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Roasted Sweet Potato Kit Kat

It's autumn in Japan and that means that purple sweet potatoes are in season. I'm surprised actually I haven't received a big bag of them yet from any of my farmer friends but I did help out the ninth grader sitting next to me at lunch today by taking hers off her hands. I couldn't believe she didn't like them. Although they aren't as good as an American yam, Japanese purple sweet potatoes are still pretty high on the list of veggies I like. And they are one of the few veggies I imagine that would make a good Kit Kat.

And a good Kit Kat it is. Unlike the other fall flavor, Kinako Ohagi Kit Kat, this one came in a mixed bag with the classic chocolate. (On a side note I love the mixed bags because I rarely have an excuse to buy regular Kit Kats and it reminds me just how awesome the classic chocolate really is.) Each Roasted Sweet Potato mini is roughly 68 calories. They are slightly yellow-ish in color and smell like sweet potatoes. Biting into it, there is definitely a distinct sweet potato taste with all of the texture of a Kit Kat. It helps I think that there is sweet potato flavoring in both the chocolate and the creme between the wafers (at least that's what is said on the back of the bag.) It's sweet in the way that a potato is sweet - in a good way but not overly so. If you like Sweet Potato Casserole or Sweet Potato Pie then you are already accustomed to the sweet potato being used in dessert so the jump to a Kit Kat is not a large one. For someone like me, who loves everything from sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, or sweet potatoes in my kyushoku, this was a success.

Final Score: 8

Monday, October 19, 2009

Miso Kit Kat - Tokkai Hokuirku Limited Edition

When I think of miso I think of miso soup. Or I think of the disgusting miso glazed fish I sometimes get in school lunch that makes my hands smell fishy and my breath bad for the rest of the day. I don't really think of Kit Kats. Until now of course with the Miso Kit Kat.

Although I should mention that miso is also used in sweets. Just not in the sweets that I am a fan of. Mochidango is sometimes covered in a thick miso glaze for instance so the jump to Kit Kat is not as strange as I first thought. But still...miso?

This is another regional limited edition from the Tokai area. The red miso or akamiso is popular in this area. When we have miso soup for school lunch it is almost always akamiso. Although that didn't really occur to me when I was making my online purchases. Almost immediately after ordering it online I had two different friends email me to tell me they had seen it in Nagoya and Toyohashi (basically not very far from where I live.) So I probably could have saved myself some shipping costs. Oh well.

This is another white chocolate Kit Kat. For 810 yen plus shipping I received a box of 12 minis. Once again on the inside panel there was a very nice description of what I can only imagine has something to do with either the Tokai region or the production of akamiso, maybe both. (I really need to bone up on the Japanese!) Each mini is 68 calories.

It had a strange smell, very sweet and kind of custardy. I'll admit to being a goof and sniffing the miso I had in the kitchen and comparing. It didn't really smell the same but I don't usually keep akamiso around (I prefer shiromiso) so that might account for the difference. As I said earlier I was thinking more miso soup than mochidango when I ate this so I was very pleasantly surprised. It was very sweet and reminded me of custard although it lacked the ending bitter note that the Custard Pudding Kit Kat had. The miso is already sweet and the combination with the white chocolate made it even more so. In the end, even with ice tea to wash it down, it was a little too sweet for me.

Final Score:5.5

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blueberry Cheesecake Kit Kat - Koshin Limited Edition

So if you follow this blog you'll know that recently I realized that not only are there Kit Kats to be found in my local supermarket and conbini but that there are special limited edition boxes that are only sold in certain cities/regions of Japan or on the internet. So I broke down, pulled up the Nestle E-shop in one tab and Babelfish in the other, and ordered me some strange regional Kit Kats. This is not one of them. I mean it is a regional limited edition, Koshin Limited, according to the box, I just mean it's not that strange of a taste. This is the consolation prize I allowed myself for actually buying Miso Kit Kats and Soy Sauce Kit Kats. If I was spending all that money then I felt that I should at least have one box of appetizing sounding chocolate on there.

Despite all that the Blueberry Cheesecake Kit Kat was a little disappointing. Maybe I had my hopes too high, after all blueberry cheesecake is pretty awesome (and blueberry cheesecake ice cream is even better.) But the Blueberry Cheesecake Kit Kat failed to deliver. For 810 yen plus shipping I got a very nice box of 12 mini Kit Kats. There's also a very nice description of the area it's from on the inside. Or at least that's what I imagine it says since I can't really read it. I pretend that it says something about a lake and mountains and delicious blueberries because that's what the picture on the box evokes, but really it could be about anything. They are 69 calories for one bar. It was white chocolate with a very very faint hint of a blueberry smell. The blueberry taste was just as mild and if I wasn't such a conscientious reviewer and been looking for it I might have missed it all together.

I would have liked a much stronger blueberry taste. And even some more cheese flavor would have been good too. In other words, it wasn't a bad snacking experience but it wasn't one to write home about either. Definitely not worth the hassle of ordering it online but I also won't mind serving it to friends with tea when they come to visit. (Just a note if you ever visit me you will almost certainly be served Kit Kats because I have to get rid of all these mini packs somehow. They will also feature heavily in Christmas presents this year too.) Final score is middling for being a less than creative flavor without really delivering on the flavor.

Final Score: 5

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sports Drink Kit Kat (or lack thereof)

I despair of ever finding a Sports Drink Kit Kat. It was released this summer while I was in the States visiting family and even though I've been searched in Toyohashi, Tokyo, and Kyoto I haven't been able to spot one. It was a joint venture with JFA Dream Asia, which promotes football in Japan, and tastes like one of the many grapefruit flavored sports drinks available here. I'm sorry I missed it but make sure to check out the review at one my favorite blogs, Japanese Snack Reviews. And also at Tasty Japan and Japanese Kat.

Since I don't have a review for you this time, instead I present you with pictures of another Kit Kat lover - my nephew. He certainly knows the value of a good chocolate bar but he does still struggle with the idea that you have to take it out of the package before you try to eat it. He's a quick learner though!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Salt and Caramel Kit Kat Bites

This new Kit Kat is part of Nestle's Halloween campaign (you can see a smiley face wearing a witch's hat in the corner.) There are also Caramel Pudding Kit Kats out right now and I haven't tried them yet to see how they stack up against this other Caramel incarnation. It is odd to have both out at the same time I think, but I'm glad all the same.

This was not a regular Kit Kat but was a small bag of Kit Kat bites. I would have preferred the normal fingers but overall the taste wasn't affected by the size or shape. Nope, I think fingers or not they were pretty tasty. Downright delicious actually. Although with caramel it didn't take much work to win me over. I'm already a fan. But this went above and beyond. You get smooth chocolate caramel-y taste at the beginning and finish on a salty note. I think it was the addition of the salt that really made it pop for me. I was hooked. Along with the Kinako Ohagi Kit Kat, you might see me in the 7-11 across the street buying some more Salt and Caramel Kit Kat Bites.

Final Score: 9

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kinako Ohagi Kit Kat

It's fall in Japan so even though the weather is still hot and humid there is a plethora of autumn related products flooding the market. Nestle's latest Kit Kat is based off a traditional Japanese treat served during Higan, the three days around the spring and fall equinoxes where people visit their family graves and pray for their ancestors' souls. Ohagi - a treat similar to mochi covered in sweet beans, sesame, or kinako - is named after a fall flower called Hagi. (In spring the same treat is actually called botamochi.) If you remember from my Kinako Kit Kat review kinako is toasted soy flour and it's delicious. There's a picture of a piece of kinako ohagi on the Kit Kat box.

I've never had kinako ohagi and to be honest I probably never will. (I'm not a fan of mochi or sweet beans.) But the Kinako Ohagi Kit Kat hit the mark. It was milk chocolate and had the same nutty smell that the Kinako Kit Kat had. It's that nutty flavor of soy flour that I really like and it's concentrated in the wafers. In fact if you had given this to me in a blind taste test I might have guessed peanut butter first, although it's a little more subtle than your regular PB.

So that settles the kinako part but I was left a little confused about the ohagi. It wasn't until I read the back of the box that I realized that there are rice puffs in the chocolate coating to account for the ohagi. Their extra crunch is lost with the wafers, but I did spot one or two when I ate the second bar. Overall, I really enjoyed this Kit Kat. If I didn't have other Kit Kats in the kitchen and in the mail I would definitely buy this one again (I still might actually!)

Final Score: 9

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cookie Plus Kit Kat

If the Cookie Plus Kit Kat doesn't sound very exotic to you then that's because it's not. Cookies and chocolate were meant to go together and frequently do. But that doesn't mean this wasn't a perfectly good Kit Kat. It just meant that I wasn't nervous to try it like I was the Apple Vinegar Kit Kat.

To start with this box of Kit Kats was 80 yen more expensive than a regular Kit Kat, but it came in a cute box. For 200 yen you got ten Kit Kat bites. These are even smaller than the minis, consisting of one square bite instead of fingers. Small but delicious. And each bite is 48 calories so I had 3-4 each time without feeling guilty. It's milk chocolate, so I like that. A vanilla cookie, (similar to the ones I used to dunk in Kool-aid during Children's Church,) is crumbled up and layered above the wafer. This gives it a little bit of an extra crunch and adds some sweetness. It tastes like chocolate and cookies - a match made in heaven.

Overall it's very edible. It's the first Kit Kat that I could really see being marketed successfully in the US. However, that means it lacks the creativity that I've come to expect from my Japanese Kit Kats. So while four of these with some ice tea makes for a great snack, it was lacking adventure.

Final Score: 6.5

Next up I try something with a little more Japanese flavor - Kinako Ohagi Kit Kat!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kit Kat Special Release Map

Turns out I wasn't even looking for half the Kit Kats I should have been while traveling this past week. There are special release Kit Kats for certain cities and regions only. Check out this crazy map that shows where to find what and when. I might have been able to grab three of those in Tokyo alone. Although we did manage to snag some of the Green Tea Kit Kats that are especially for Kyoto.

Click here for a larger version

Of course they are also available on the internet if I want to pay 840 yen with shipping. I'm going to have to decide here soon how far I want to take this project. Do I stick with the general release Kit Kats and shop in my local conbinis or do I extend my search to internet shopping as well. Part of the fun is trying to find all the flavors in different stores and coming across ones I wasn't expecting to see. It's like a treasure hunt. But getting candy in the mail would be fun too. And really can I leave Japan next year without ever trying the Soy Sauce Kit Kat?

What do you think readers?

Kit Kat in a Can

You can get some truly odd things from vending machines here in Japan. There are vending machines that dispense umbrellas, ice cream, beer, hot soup, and condoms. My friend Nathan swore he found one in Nagoya once that sold plastic figurines in compromising positions. But mostly they sell drinks. At least out in the inaka where I live they do. So I was pumped to find out that somewhere out there they were selling Kit Kat in vending machines. But in order to do so they have to give the Kit Kat a little disguise. If it's going to be hanging out next to the Boss Coffee and the Iced Green Tea then it needs to look a little more like a drink. The solution? Kit Kat in a Can!

Unfortunately, my small town didn't have any vending machines selling them. Fortunately, my friend Kristin came to visit and she shares my obsession so she didn't mind going into almost every conbini we passed and scoping out thousands of vending machines while in Tokyo and Kyoto on the hunt for new Kit Kats. We finally found the Kit Kat Cans in a vending machine at Ryoanji Temple, famous for its beautiful rock garden.

The truth is that these aren't really cans, as I could see as soon as I peeled off the wrapper. But Kit Kat in a Jar doesn't really have the same ring to it. (And you really can't know how hard it is for me not to write Kit Kat in a Kan because I really am that korny.) The can in the machine made it look like the chocolate bars were bursting out of the jar but really they were safely sealed inside. For 200 yen you get four chocolate minis - eight small fingers. That's a little more than what you would pay at a store but I suppose you're paying for the convenience of being able to soak in the serenity of the Zen rock garden at Ryoanji while munching on a Kit Kat. We saw one more vending machine selling Kit Kats and it was at Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, so it's possible they are targeting tourists.

I'm not sure I would buy one again since they are more expensive but I was truly grateful that they were available. On the day we happened across them we had skipped lunch and I had been threatening to gnaw Kristin's arm off so coming across an actual snack in a vending machine saved her from an armless fate. The fact that it was a Kit Kat only made it better. I give this a high rating for ingenuity and for novelty's sake but I'll keep buying my Kit Kats from the 7-11. (I say that like I have a choice. I did mention there are no vending machines with Kit Kats within miles and miles from here right?)

For even weirder vending machines concessions check out this site. And tell me what's the craziest thing you've ever seen!

Final score: 9

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lots of new Kit Kats

I spent last week gallivanting around from Tokyo to Kyoto and home again with lots of stops at almost every Lawsons, 7-11, AM/PM, and other conbinis I could find. (Almost every because if I'd stopped in every one I wouldn't have seen anything else!) I came home with a Kinako Ohagi Kit Kat, Cookie Plus Kit Kat, Caramel Kit Kat Bites, and a Kit Kat in a can. Sadly, I did NOT find Sports Drink Kit Kat anywhere, but I'm still holding out hope. Otherwise, expect lots of reviews coming soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sour Orange Kit Kat

This is one of the few crazy flavored Kit Kats that is not also a crazy color. Just looking at it, it looks like a regular milk chocolate Kit Kat. I always get excited about the milk chocolate ones since I prefer milk over white chocolate (and dark above everything else.) But so far they have been disappointing. Maybe it's because I have higher expectations for them than the white chocolate varieties or maybe they're just not as good. Either way the Sour Orange Kit Kat was slightly disappointing but still very edible.

Despite its generic look it had a very strong orange smell, a fake orange smell I'm afraid to report. It smelled more like something you would clean your bathroom with than a nice ripe mikan. Biting into it, the orange flavor is quite intense. It defnitely packs a punch. They aren't kidding when they call this a Sour Orange Kit Kat either. There is sourness throughout, from beginning to finish, thanks to the sour powder added to the wafers (advertised on the back of the bag as being invigorating.) If I liked Orange flavored chocolate then I would probably be a fan of this Kit Kat, but alas my feelings are pretty mild when it comes to citrus-y chocolates. There was also a weird hint of a soap taste at the end. I don't know if that was simply because I had soap on the mind thanks to the fake orange smell or what but it wasn't pleasant. It reminded me a bit of the Rose Kit Kat in that way.

Overall, I would give this a middle rating. I will definitely finish the bag (I served them with tea yesterday to a friend) but I wouldn't buy a second bag of minis. If you like oranges with your chocolate however I would suggest checking this one out.

Final Score: 5

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vegetable Juice Kit Kat

Yup, you read that right - Vegetable Juice Kit Kat. From the get go I was nervous about eating this one. I've had good experience with some of the more weird flavors (I loved Apple Vinegar for instance) and I've had some bad ones (the Rose Kit Kat was particularly bad.) So I wasn't sure which way this one was going to go. It went okay...for awhile.

To start with this Kit Kat is a collaboration between Nestle and Ito En. Ito En sells green tea and other beverages. Nestle makes snacks. Together they came up with the Vegetable Juice Kit Kat based off one of Ito En's drinks. In order to be better informed about the taste the Kit Kat was attempting to mimic I bought myself some juice.

First of all, let me say that I am not a drinker of vegetable juice. Just opening this up and drinking it was nerve wracking. I drink tea, coffee, and pop. On rare occasions I drink orange or pineapple juice. But on a regular basis, I prefer to eat my vegetables not drink them. Ito En's vegetable juice smelled horrible. But the taste was better than I expected. It was not too sweet with a sharper taste. Apple and carrot stood out although the picture hints that there are several other veggies and fruits involved. It wasn't my favorite but I could see why some people might like it.

Now onto the Kit Kat. It was made with white chocolate and was light orange in color. Unlike the juice it had a pleasant yet very generic sweet smell. It tasted sweet, and like the juice it was the apple and carrot taste that shone through, although much milder comparatively. Once again it was a taste I wasn't particularly fond of but I could maybe see where other people might like it. It ended on a sour note, saving it from being too sweet.

Up until this point I was having a very blah kind of Kit Kat experience. I didn't especially like it, but I wasn't gagging either. And then I decided, hmmmm I wonder how they taste together. Does the juice complement the Kit Kat? Were they meant to be consumed together? The answer: Absolutely not!!! Together they are pretty disgusting. I almost couldn't finish the Kit Kat after washing down one bite with the Ito En juice. I still have the second Kit Kat because I just couldn't bear the thought of eating any more of it. For that reason I am giving this the low score of 3. Nestle and Ito En's marketing ploy got me to buy their products but I won't be a repeat customer.

Final score: 3

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kit Kat Dark

This isn't actually a Japanese Kit Kat but instead comes all the way from Hong Kong. I was super excited to try it because while I enjoy a lot of the fruitier flavored Kit Kats they are usually made with white chocolate and I'm not usually a white chocolate fan. I prefer dark chocolate over everything else.

This Kit Kat though was not worth my excitement. Do you see that picture with the dark chocolate and the wafers? Well it's a lie! I bit into my first finger to find no wafers at all. It was just a bar of plain dark chocolate and not even good dark chocolate at that. It was much too waxy. I don't know if this was an aberration or if all of the Kit Kat Darks come this way but I was severely disappointed. This one merited the low score of a 2 since it hardly qualifies as a Kit Kat without the wafers.

Final score: 2

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Umeshu Soda Kit Kat

I'm back in Japan and ready to eat some Kit Kats! I was worried I would miss some of the summer flavors after being gone for 6 weeks, but my friend Miyuki was kind enough to grab some for me. Thanks Miyuki! First up on my return was the Umeshu Soda Kit Kat.

I love umeshu soda. It's my drink of choice when I dine out here in Japan. A plum liqueur mixed with soda water, it has a sweet and sour taste that I really enjoy. So I was really interested in trying this one.

The Kit Kat is a light green color and has a generic fruity smell to it. The white chocolate lends to the sweet side but there is a sourness in the wafers. In fact, on the back of the box it talks about a soda powder in the creme to give it a fizzy taste but the effects are mild. In the end it's not a super close match to the taste of a umeshu soda but it's still a flavor I enjoyed. I've never had plum candy in Japan but my friend Marie likened its taste to the plum candy she used to eat as a kid. We both liked it. I would definitely eat this one again.

Final score: 6.5/7

New Scores

I've decided to implement a scoring system to better rank the different Kit Kats I try. A 10 is the very best - Woohee, stockpile it while it's available to last me a long long time good. And a 1 is the very lowest - why oh why did I put this in my mouth *gag* kind of bad. With everything else in between. And don't be shy! Weigh in with your own scores as you get to try them.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

USA = boring Kit Kats

I'm still in America - land of boring Kit Kats. Why is it do you think that Japanese people are so ready to dive into crazy flavors like Rose and Jasmine Tea while Americans stick to just plain old chocolate?

My theory is that Japanese kids are told in school not to talk about what they like or dislike food-wise and to just eat their kyushoku without complaining. I've seen students holding their noses and choking down things they don't like because they aren't allowed to put them back or give them away. They come out of school with a more adventurous spirit when it comes to eating because of it. American kids on the other hand have moms who pack their lunches with their favorite foods and can buy whatever they want on the lunch line so they never venture too far out of their comfort zone. Thus, we have boring Kit Kats in America and crazy "what were they thinking?" flavors in Japan because Nestle execs in Japan know that people will try them, no matter how crazy the flavor might be (Soy sauce anyone?) I have to say in this instance I side with Japan.

But that isn't to say I haven't had fun with Japanese Kit Kats while in America. I've been forcing
all the leftovers I've had from the bags of minis on friends and family. Some people looked at me suspiciously. Others who hadn't received any looked put out I hadn't saved any for them. But the most excited was my friend Kristin, who was in fact the inspiration for this blog in the first place.

Back in the spring I happened to mention to her that they had some crazy flavors, "for example I just ate a Jasmine Tea Kit Kat the other day and they have Espresso Coffee Kit Kats too."

Her response: "OMG! You should try them all and them put them on your blog and I will TOTALLY read it!!!....er...not that I don't read it now, but it would be really REALLY cool!" And thus JenKen's KitKat Blog was born.

So naturally I had to bring her back some Kit Kats. In return she took me on a chocolate tour of Chicago (where we had champagne truffles flown in weekly from Switzerland, designer cupcakes, and chocolate tea) and introduced me to the wonders of bacon chocolate (that's right bacon and chocolate - a match made in heaven!) Is it any wonder we are the best of friends?

I'm headed back to Japan next week where I'm hoping I can still find some of the bars that came out while I've been gone like Ume-shu Soda and Sour Orange. Many more reviews to come soon!

Oh and you can read Kristin's thoughts on her Japanese Kit Kats here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Interesting Kit Kat promotion

You can get a Kit Kat in can in vending machines in Tokyo but for one day in Victoria Station in London commuters could buy a Kit Kat from a very special vending machine.

This is part of the "Feel like a machine..." ad campaign in the UK. My job as an ALT can be boring but I'm awfully glad I don't have this job. ;-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mango Pudding Kit Kat

Mangoes don't really rate high on my list of favorite fruits. This probably has something to do with the cost and availability of them. I once saw a mango selling for $80 in Tokyo and I don't think I've ever seen them in Tahara. But despite not especially liking mangoes, I was excited to try the Mango Pudding Kit Kat.

It came in a mixed pack of minis with a couple of mini regular chocolate Kit Kats. When you open the package you can really smell the mango. This is another white chocolate kit kat and it's colored a very bright orange. If it wasn't for the nice aroma the color might put one off, but luckily it tastes as good as it smells, with the mango flavor mostly concentrated in the chocolate. Overall, it was a pretty good taste. Like I said, I'm not a huge mango fan so I probably won't be buying anymore Mango Pudding Kit Kats, but for a one off I have to give it two thumbs up.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Soda Kit Kat Redux

If you remember from my Soda Kit Kat review I was confused about which soda Nestle was trying to emulate with this candy bar. I guessed Creme Soda at the time but that was because I hadn't done my research. It's true that if you type "ramune" into a Japanese dictionary it will return the result of "soda" but that doesn't fully explain what "ramune" is. After my friend Miyuki tried the Soda Kit Kat and told me it tasted just like "ramune" did I even think to look into it more.

Turns out ramune is a popular Japanese soda sold in summertime. It's a lemon-lime flavored pop that comes in a special codd-neck bottle with a marble that floats around inside (and sometimes knocks you in the teeth if you aren't careful.) The word "ramune" is actually a very poor rendering of the English word lemonade into Japanese. (This makes more sense if you remember that R's and L's sound exactly the same in Japanese.) Once I realized I had missed a pretty vital piece of the Soda Kit Kat puzzle, I decided it was time to try again. How exactly did the Ramune Kit Kat stack up against a bottle of Ramune?

The Kit Kat had just as strong an aroma as I remembered. And upon smelling the ramune I decided that I was a little off with the creme soda; it definitely smelled very similar to ramune. The taste was a different matter. The ramune did have a lemon-lime flavor but it wasn't a very strong flavor and it wasn't as fizzy as I generally expect pop to be. Overall it tasted like a watered down Sprite - not exactly my favorite. The Ramune Kit Kat on the other hand had a much stronger flavor that I really enjoyed. It was sweet, sour, and even a little fruity. Others have said they thought it tasted like bubble gum but I still think it reminds me more of Fruity Pebbles cereal than bubble gum. I think I might have liked the ramune better if it hadn't tasted so watered down, and it might just be a case of me needing to try a different brand. But for now the Ramune Kit Kat wins in a contest between the two.

On a side note I've also tried the Soda Garigarikun (a popular popsicle that also comes in many flavors) and while it doesn't come anywhere close to the awesomeness that is the Pineapple Gargarikun, it is still pretty tasty. I can only conclude that the Japanese idea of "soda" taste is something I like.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Vacation

I'm back in America for the next six weeks for summer vacation. Don't worry though, there are still Kit Kats to be blogged about since I'm way behind in posting. Coming soon we have Mango Pudding Kit Kats and a Soda Kit Kat Redux. And who knows, maybe I'll find some new flavors here in my home state of Ohio! (I'm not holding my breath but my friend Nathan swears he found an Orange Creme Kit Kat in the States once.)

Kit Kats aside, I'm happy to be home with friends and family and where people eat wheat bread. The best part though about having a candy blog...people buy you candy! Look what I found waiting for me on my bed when I got in last night. Sometimes it's good to go back and enjoy a classic. Thanks mom!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tiramisu Kit Kat

I reviewed the Espresso Coffee Kit Kat awhile back and I wish I could still find some in the stores because I would love to eat the Espresso Coffee and the Tiramisu Kit Kat one right after another just to see if there really is any difference. Having eaten them a month or so apart my guess right now is no and they just changed the packaging.

The Tiramisu Kit Kat is white chocolate with the coffee flavor concentrated in the wafers. It smells like tiramisu and it tastes very close to it. Where the Espresso Coffee Kit Kat fell short with the choice of white chocolate, this time the white chocolate enhanced the flavor. But in the end it still tasted a lot like the Espresso Coffee Kit Kat. Either one would make a great snack with a cup of coffee, so despite my suspicions I give this one two thumbs up.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rose Kit Kat Revisited

I stated quite vehemently in my review of the Rose Kit Kat that roses should NOT be eaten...ever. And I'll admit I was a little confused on who exactly thought it would be a good idea to make a rose flavored Kit Kat. Apparently it's the same people who buy this.

Those are roses. And no they aren't in the flower section of the supermarket but the salad section right next to the mixed greens. Maybe if I was braver I would try them on my next salad, but I maintain that roses are for looking at and not for eating. The Rose Kit Kat which tasted like soap is a testament to that. But maybe, and this is a very big maybe, they taste better on salad. Tell me, Japanese friends, do you eat roses? Oishii?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Kit Kat in a can

You can get hot drinks, cold drinks, and sometimes even ice cream in vending machines in Japan. But they don't sell junk food or candy because walking and eating is discouraged in Japanese culture. Until now. Kit Kat has started offering their bars through vending machines. The only problem is that most vending machines aren't set up to sell candy bars. They're only really for drink cans. But they work around it by just putting the candy in a can. That's not Kit Kat flavored soda you see there, but a can of candy. (But oh my word I would totally drink Kit Kat soda just for novelty's sake.) I haven't seen one here in Aichi yet, but they've been spotted in Tokyo. I won't be up that way until September to even look for one but until then enjoy this review from orchid64 at Japanese Snack Reviews.

Photo by orchid64

Monday, June 29, 2009

Soda Kit Kat

It's summer time in Japan and that means hot weather, high humidity, and summer flavored Kit Kats like the Soda Kit Kat. I found some individual minis at 7-11 and was so excited to see them that I made friends Nathan and Kaoru try them right there in the store (after I paid for them.) Actually, I tried and failed to get Kaoru to eat it because she didn't savor the idea of A) snacking in the middle of a crowded conbini and B) snacking standing up. She did say she would try it later though. She reads this blog, so hi Kaoru! I hope you liked the Soda Kit Kat!

I know I liked the Soda Kit Kat. For one thing, it's blue. And how can you not like a blue-colored candy bar? Can you even name another blue-colored candy bar? I can't. Because it's blue that means it's another white chocolate bar but that hardly mattered with this Kit Kat. It had such an odd combination of flavors (fruity, sweet, and a little sour) that I hardly noticed that it was white chocolate and not milk like I prefer.

But first, I wondered just what kind of soda flavor this was supposed to be. There are many different kinds out there. Once you open the package though it's pretty clear from the smell that it was Creme Soda they were aiming for when they meant soda. They got the aroma of Creme Soda right with no problems. The taste they had a little more trouble on. It tasted nothing like Creme Soda and everything like Fruity Pebbles cereal but with less crunch. Very different but a good kind of different. But I'll admit that it being blue really wins the most points with me. What can I say? I like blue.

Now I'm on the lookout for the Sports Drink Kit Kat. Can't wait to try it! I wonder what color it will be...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kinako Kit Kat

So what's a Kinako Kit Kat? Don't worry I had to come home and type it into my Japanese dictionary because I didn't know either. Kinako is soy flour. They sprinkle it on mochi here in Japan - think rice taffy dipped in soy flour. Sounds delicious, right? That's one reason I avoid traditional Japanese sweets and go for the Kit Kats. There are very few mochi desserts that I like because they're just too chewy. Although I am pretty good at making mochi. It's not very hard. You basically beat at some rice with a very large stick while another brave soul sticks his wet hands in and repositions it until it achieves the right sticky consistency. (See picture.) Then you pull it out, dunk it in some soy flour and serve, or in my case smile politely and remember you left your purse unattended and should go look for it.*

My experience with mochi did not lead me to believe that I would like the Kinako Kit Kat, so I was surprised to find that I not only liked it, I really liked it. Maybe even really really liked it. It was a Kit Kat Bar so only one large finger and it was made with milk chocolate. The soy flour, concentrated in the wafers, gave it a nice nutty flavor. I've had kinako mochi before and with the rice taffy it's a little bland and sucks all the moisture from your mouth. You definitely want to be drinking something when you eat it. But kinako combined with chocolate is a match made in heaven. Soy Flour Kit Kats for the win!

Check out the mountain of kinako on the package

*Don't listen to me. Lots of people, including foreigners in Japan, think mochi is delicious. I can eat some kinds of mochi but usually I can't get past the texture.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Custard Pudding Kit Kat

I always get excited when we get pudding with kyushoku, or school lunch, so when I discovered a bag of Custard Pudding Kit Kat Minis hiding on a bottom shelf of the 7-11 across the street from my house, I snatched them up. This flavor was released a little before I started the blog so I was really lucky to find any left. I got the last the 7-11 had at any rate.

They were really tasty, not quite as good as a custard pudding, but still really good. They were white chocolate and a little yellow in color. They smelled great and if I had one complaint it was that they were just a little too sweet. The best part of a custard pudding is the contrast of the bitter caramel on bottom with the sweet pudding. The Custard Pudding Kit Kat had a hint of caramel taste but I could have used a little more. Still, I won't have any problems finishing off this bag, so I would count this a success.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tanjobi Omedetou

Last week was my birthday and friends Nathan and Miyuki bought me a great present - a bottle of Beaujolais and a Kit Kat. They really know what I like. Thanks guys!