Over 200 Flavors of Kit Kat in Japan. Who Knew?

One of the great things about traveling abroad is trying the local cuisine and exposing oneself to different flavors and textures that come with it. Being in a place like Japan, you also can’t help but try stuff that’s local to you but exotic to the natives. To get their spin on it.

This brings me to Nestlé’s Kit Kat bar.

International Logo
United States logo

In Japan, Nestlé has introduced over 200 different flavours since 2000, including ginger ale, soy sauce, creme brulee, green tea, and banana. The flavours are designed to appeal to younger buyers, and are often bought as good-luck gifts as the brand name echoes the Japanese phrase “Kitto Katsu”, roughly translating as “surely win.” -Wikipedia

Japanese Kit-Kat commercial from Oyastucafe’s Youtube page.

During my first trip to Japan, I couldn’t help but notice there were KitKat bars all over the place AND they were almost any flavor but traditional chocolate.

I’m not big on sweets but curiosity got the better of us and we tried the Apple, Green Tea, Blueberry, Sweet Potato, Cheesecake and braved the soy sauce flavored one. It’s not what you think (wasn’t salty at all) but not at the top of my list. We liked the Cheesecake and Green Tea flavors a lot, actually.

Cheesecake Flavor

Nestlé will probably never actively market them in the US because of general American consumer conservatism. I mean corn flavor? Really? Compared to American cuisine, the Japanese live more on the edge with their ingredient selections; their food culture is awesomely insane!

Soy Sauce Flavor! Really not bad at all, actually.
Soy Sauce Flavor!
Really not bad at all, actually.
We passed on the baked potato…
…as well as the corn flavor.

Still,  you can probably find some stuff on ebay if you look hard enough. These confections are great conversation starters and could give your taste buds a little adventure. You only live once right?

Maybe I should work for Nestlé…?

Flavors from a Kit-kat collector’s (hungrycurioscat) blog.

I’ve seen people (online) collecting every flavor they can get their hands on, including special edition or limited runs. Again, I’m not really into desserts and sweets but the idea finding a new flavor when I return to Japan is kind of exciting.

More flavors on Pinterest

And now, the American 80’s commercial jingle:

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Yokosuka, Japan – Kanagawa Prefecture Pt.9

We’ve got another treat for you if you head into downtown Yokosuka!

Once you’ve had some 焼き鳥 at our favorite skewer stand (see blog) get back on the main road and walk towards the base. On the right you’ll see another favorite from my wife’s childhood… いまがわやき (pronounced e-mah-gah-wah-yah-key / Imagawayaki) although the owner calls it みかさやき (pronounced me-kah-sah-yah-key / mikasayaki).

Imagawayaki exterior
A humble shop on the main road…

“Imagawayaki (今川焼き?) is a Japanese dessert often found at festivals, also eaten in Taiwan (where it is called chēlún bǐng 車輪餅 or hóngdòu bǐng 紅豆餅). It is made of batter in a special pan (similar to a waffle iron but without the honeycomb pattern), and filled with sweet azuki bean paste, although it is becoming increasingly popular to use a wider variety of fillings such as vanilla custard, different fruit custards and preserves, curry, different meat and vegetable fillings, potato and mayonnaise.[1][2] Imagawayaki are similar to Dorayaki, but the latter are two separate pancakes sandwiched around the filling after cooking, and are often served cold.
Imagawayaki began to be sold near the Kanda Imagawabashi bridge during An’ei years (1772 – 1781) in the Edo period. The name of Imagawayaki originates from this time.” – Wikipedia

Imagawayaki interior
He actually gaves us permission to snap a few photos inside…

Despite the wiki definition, my wife says the filing has been typically red bean. We came back to this shop about three times. It’s so good. Every time we seemed to attract a few foreigners who would have normally walked by, which was awesome.

Imagawayaki cooking
White bean and red bean both sweet and delicious.

The business is family owned and apparently the same cook/owner has been doing this for more than thirty years.

Imagawayaki flip
An artisan at work…

International magazines and multiple tv shows have covered this humble snack place so the owner is not shy in the least but don’t talk his ear off because (like most Japanese) he’s a dedicated pro and is running a business, so there’s not much time for small talk (in the native tongue of course).

Eaten imagawayaki
Eat it hot! Love the red bean filling…

Next to dorayaki, this is by far one of my favorite Japanese deserts.

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