Japanese KitKats II

 

Due to popular demand and the fact that we love trying weird foods and candies, The A.V. Club will now regularly feature “Taste Tests.” Feel free to suggest disgusting and/or delicious new edibles for future installments: E-mail us at tastetest@theonion.com.

KitKat: Azuki Red Bean, Triple Berry Swirl, Caramel Macchiato McFlurry, Muscat Of Alexandria/White Grape, Rock Salt, Apple, Brown Sugar, Blueberry Cheesecake, Strawberry Cheesecake, Watermelon, Salt & Caramel, Chestnut, Sweet Pudding

America, you think you’re so great. You like to scoff at the commies who wait in a line for three hours to be served exactly ONE kind of toothpaste, while you stroll down to the store and luxuriate in brightly colored aisles of the stuff. You have choices! Democrat or Republican. Coke or Pepsi. Paper or plastic. You are free.

But let me tell you something: Japan is kicking you in the balls when it comes to KitKat choices. You can get fatter and fatter on just the Original, White Chocolate, and Chunky varieties—the latter of which is just a huge version of the Original flavor. Hell, even Australia has flavors like Cookie Dough and Honeycomb. But the Japanese have introduced literally dozens of KitKat variations over the years, from mango to “Hascapp,” which Wikipedia tells us was only available in the Hokkaido prefecture. (“If you are interested in distributing Mr. Sparkle in your home prefecture…”) And you astute readers will remember that we already taste-tested a bunch of Japanese KitKat flavors last year. We can’t even keep up, there are so damn many.

But guess what, America? Your lack of vision may have resulted in something you crave even more than empty calories and the perception of choice: the last laugh. The round of Japanese KitKats we ate last year (Soy Sauce, Cherry Blossom, Green Tea, Banana, Strawberry, Soy Flour, Exotic Tokyo) had a few winners. This time out, we were hard-pressed to find more than one flavor that anyone would want to eat again. And before you accuse us of going into this thing with a bias (or, yawn, cultural ignorance), I’ll say this: We were all pretty excited to eat some exotic new KitKats. The flavors sounded tasty.

But choice failed us, for the most part. After a few bars, people even started abandoning my office—the makeshift Taste Test Labs for the day. Tummy aches were hatched. Palate-cleansing was necessary. Mild disappointment abounded.

The only flavor that we almost unanimously enjoyed was Rock Salt, which was basically a white-chocolate KitKat, but with a kick of salt at the end. The most disappointing was probably the Salt & Caramel, which sounds delicious on paper (ever had salt and caramel ice cream?), but was in fact terrible. Many of these flavors didn’t feature chocolate of any kind, and the ones that did—specifically Watermelon and Apple—didn’t benefit from the combination.

The only way to make this Taste Test something other than an overall disappointment was to put all the leftovers in a bowl, microwave it, and have Internet Eating Sensation Dave Chang try it out. But even that was a failure, as one of the flavors (we’re not sure which) immediately burned and liquefied, while the rest barely melted. There was so much smoke that we thought the fire alarm might go off, and a good portion of the office smelled like cheap caramelized cocoa for about an hour. (Sorry, office, it won’t happen again!)

But in short: Think before you make any more KitKat flavors, Japan. Sure, the packages are bright and shiny, but it’s what’s inside that counts. And most of your special flavors—this time around, anyway—shouldn’t have gotten out of the super-secret underground KitKat laboratory.

Office reactions:

Azuki Red Bean (white chocolate flecked with red bean paste)

• “It just tastes like white chocolate.”

• “It does have a lingering aftertaste that isn’t white chocolate.” “Maybe it’s just bad white chocolate.”

• “It’s kinda cakey.” “Now that you said that, I like it!”

• “Azuki red bean is as much about texture as flavor. These didn’t seem to have either.”

Triple Berry Swirl (a mix of blueberry, strawberry, and cranberry—white/pink chocolate)

• “That’s a lot of berry.”

• “It tastes like that stuff that you get to make impressions of your teeth at the dentist.” “Eww, why’d you have to say that?”

• “Tastes like berry-flavored gum, specifically that pomegranate-flavored gum from Orbitz.”

• “Strawberry ice cream? I noticed some little fruit pieces in the coating.”

Caramel Macchiato McFlurry (white chocolate with tan swirls)

• “Eww, uh-uh.”

• “It tastes like non-dairy creamer.”

• “Tastes like a Starbucks frappucino.”

• “Way too sweet.” “But the coffee-ness cuts the sweetness.”

• “Have you ever eaten the sugar-and-butter mix while you’re making cookies?”

• “It tastes like the cinnamon twists at Taco Bell.”

• “Really strong caramel flavor. Too strong and way too sweet.”

Muscat of Alexandria/White Grape (a strange, almost neon-y green)

• “It tastes like soap.”

• “And it smells like deodorant.”

• “This is by far the worst.”

• “It tastes like shampoo—Herbal Essences!” “Like when you’re standing in the shower and drinking shampoo?”

• “Like old white grape juice.”

• “And it keeps getting stronger.”

• [Everyone exits the room to drink.] “It’s actually affecting how the water tastes.” “It makes the water taste soapy.”

Rock Salt (white chocolate)

• “Mmm! I like the salty!”
• “I like that!”

• “Fuck me, I can’t taste the salt. Seemed weak to me.”

Apple (milk chocolate with apple filling)

• “You know those caramel apple suckers?”

• “My stomach is officially revolting now.”

• “These are so good.”

• “At the end, it gets really intense.”

• “It’s another one with a shampoo aftertaste.” “No, it tastes exactly like Irish Spring!”

• “Ooh, this is wrong. Really musty, old apple juice and chocolate.”

Brown Sugar (milk chocolate coating)

• “Brown sugar, how come you taste to bad?”

• “Ya’ll are pussies, it’s just candy!”

• “There’s something seriously messed-up going on here. You’d think it would be an easy flavor to pin down, but I can’t tell if it's molasses or caramel or burnt sugar. It’s rather unpleasant, whatever it is.”

Blueberry Cheesecake/Strawberry Cheesecake (white chocolate coating)

• “Meh, not bad.”

• “I don’t taste any cheesecake.” “I kind of do.”

• “Yogurt.” “Yeah, yogurt!”

• “Is this really supposed to be cheesecake? I'll give you that it’s white, but all I get is Booberry Crunch.”

Watermelon (milk chocolate coating)

• “Very Jolly Rancher, that’s what it is!”

• “It didn’t taste like anything, then it tasted bad.”

• “It tastes like grape apples.”

• “Fake in the extreme. Chocolate and watermelon is not a place you want to visit twice.”

• “It keeps changing.” “Yeah, it morphs into crap.”

• “It tastes like watermelon that fell in the dirt.”

Salt & Caramel (caramel-flavored milk chocolate coating)

• “Oh no, it’s the bad kind of caramel!”

• “The exit flavor isn’t bad.”

• “It’s kind of a shitty, low-grade caramel.”

• “The flavor takes me to a dark place.”

• “It’s a very dark caramel flavor, almost burnt.”

Chestnut (white/tan-ish chocolate coating)

• “There’s a very strong coffee taste.”

• “It’s something bean-y.”

• “It’s like a coffee-grounds-flavored KitKat.”

• “A lot like mocha. Very clear roasted coffee flavor and chocolate. I’m not sensing chestnut at all.”

Sweet Pudding (milk chocolate coating)

• “It’s a dead ringer for waffle cones.”

• “It tastes like Chinese ice cream.”

• “It’s kinda tapioca-y.”

• “It’s eggy, like a custard. Pleasant vanilla flavor.”

• “The taste and texture remind me of my last bukkake experience.”

Where to find them: There are specialty web shops that sell Japanese candy and toys, but honestly, it’s all about eBay for the wacky KitKat flavors.

BONUS CHANG VIDEO—LISTEN FOR THE SIZZLE ON HIS TONGUE!

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