Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weird foods found only in Japan




This blog entry started when bartman905 ran a blog post on KitKat bars in Japan. Right after that, I discovered his earlier entry on Pepsi's latest flavor. It was right around the time I encountered sweet potato-flavored KitKat bars in the grocery store, so I figured "why not" and I went out and bought everything I could find. Which was kind of a challenge, because none of the stores carried all of the flavors in one place.

First, the sweet potato bars. In fact, these were in a bag of "KitKat minis", where half of the little bars were normal chocolate KitKats, and half "yaki imo" (baked sweet potato). I ate all of them before getting around to taking a photo. They're light yellow colored bars with a strong sweet potato aroma, but mostly they taste like just sugar.

Second, the new Pepsi flavor - Azuki (sweet red bean). The soda is red-tinted (just food coloring) and has a weird "off-taste" that's not really azuki flavor. It's not bad, but it reminds me more of grape soda than Pepsi-flavored anything else. I'm not going to bother getting another bottle at the current full price (140 yen ($1.50) for a 20 ounce bottle). It'll probably show up at the Jason's discount store at some point when Pepsi tries to dump its stocks, like they did with Pepsi Shizo (which is still available in Jason's).

Third, there's the mango pudding-flavored mini KitKat bar. It tastes a little like mango and cream, but mostly it just tastes like sugar again.

Fourth is "Ripe vegetables". The package shows apples and carrots. It tastes like granny smith apples, with a bit of a carrot aftertaste. Surprisingly not as disgusting as you'd expect.

Fifth, Salt and Caramel. This one has a strong caramel flavor that is augmented by the salt, but it tastes almost like malted milk balls.

Sixth we have Ginger Ale. Yes, this tastes like a sweet ginger ale, but without the bubbles. Of the group, this one's my favorite, mainly because I really like ginger. If I had the choice, I'd make it less sweet and make the ginger flavor 2-3 times sharper. Still, it's not that bad.

And finally, there's "kinako ohagi", soybean flour-coated pounded rice balls with paste fillings in the center. This one tastes just like chocolate and peanut butter, but a little "dustier".

None of these products really scream "market killer". None of them are so horrible as to make great practical jokes, either. They're mostly just amusing little oddities that will soon disappear from the shelves to be replaced by something else.

There are other flavors that have only been available locally in different cities in Japan. Apparently, cayenne-flavored KitKats weren't assigned to the Tokyo market. A shame, because I would have liked to try those...

1 comment:

bartman905 said...

Thanks for the links to my blog posts. Looking forward to your future reviews of "weird" foods found only in Japan!