Trips to the shops never cease to delight me. In this visit, another unexpected find hopped into my shopping basket. The adventure began when I was browsing the snack aisle in search of some munchies to add to my snack stash. Glancing at a few shelves below my eye level, a row of green-colored boxes stood out.
Noticing Kit Kat’s recognizable logo on the box, I instantly gravitated towards that section at the chocolate aisle. Kit Kats come in plastic packages instead of boxes in this corner of the world, therefore, I knew there was a possibility that it is a special flavor. From afar, it looks like the regular matcha (green tea) ones solely by the box’s green color. The image on the box, however, doesn’t suggest that green tea is the ingredient. With a piqued curiosity, I found myself reaching for a box to investigate. As it turns out, this confection is worlds away from matcha. It is, in fact, wasabi!
Regional Kit Kats in Japan
Just like the red bean Kit Kat, this wasabi version is only available in a specific region. Among the plethora of flavors, some Japanese Kit Kats are special editions that aren’t sold in every city or town across the nation – you’ll need to travel to a particular region to grab the special Kit Kats! Kit Kats tend to be perfect omiyage (Japanese culture of souvenir gifts for family and friends) for visitors to purchase at local shops. From the perspective of international visitors, a trip to Japan is incomplete without adding interesting Kit Kats to your luggage before you leave!
As traveling is currently restricted, Kit Kats that were once available as regional exclusives have ventured out from their home prefectures and dispersed beyond Japan. Since we can’t travel both to and around Japan (yet), little pieces of those places have arrived in the Lion City!
The wasabi Kit Kat represents the Shizuoka Prefecture. Located in the Kanto region, Shizuoka is also the home of Mount Fuji. Wasabi is one of Shizuoka’s specialties, as it is one of the places where wasabi fields thrive. Normally, this box of Kit Kats is an omiyage / souvenir that can only be purchased within the Kanto region. Additionally, a wasabi brand hailing from Shizuoka named Tamaruya Honten supplies the wasabi that is used in the Kit Kat.
World of Wasabi
Wasabi is essentially a green-colored root vegetable from Japan, and it is the ‘cousin’ of horseradish. It is commonly consumed in the form of a paste, which is perfect to complement dishes such as sushi.
In my eyes, wasabi is classified under the list entitled ‘Condiments with a Kick’. While it is known for its distinctive flavor that is loosely comparable to mustard, wasabi’s effect is commonly described as “clearing the sinuses”. Hopping onto the wasabi ride is an experience in itself: it’s neither spicy like chili peppers nor smokey and tangy like barbecue sauce. A rule of thumb when opting for wasabi is less is more!
Not stopping at just savory foods, wasabi has entered the desserts dimension through interesting creations that make sweet tooths say “wow”. I’m looking forward to tasting the Kit Kat, with my metaphoric magnifying glasses in hand!
Before diving into the chocolates, I had to admire the box itself! The eye-catching image captures the transformation of the wasabi root into a form that most foodies are familiar with, hence the picture of the root that is in the process of being grated into a paste.
The presentation of these Kit Kats is impressive, with 12 mini Kit Kats lined together beautifully inside the box. All of their wrappers are identical, and they continue the box’s wasabi root theme. Also, the box includes some information in Japanese (my guess is that it’s wasabi-centered) that is printed on the lid. As much as I felt like admiring the box and the neatly-arranged Kit Kats, I couldn’t wait to have a taste!
Unwrapping & Taste Test
Upon unwrapping them, I noticed that these Kit Kats are a light green color on the outside, which isn’t as bold as the green hue of matcha Kit Kats. On the inside, they look like regular Kit Kats with the exception of chocolate layers that I reckon follow the footsteps of its wasabi-chocolate exterior.
White chocolate’s scent greeted my nose first, followed by a whiff of wasabi. As much as it is an undeniably odd blend, the aroma is actually pleasant. It’s like smelling a block of white chocolate and a small plate of wasabi paste together, which is essentially what this Kit Kat is!
The taste experience follows the same order as its aroma: white chocolate’s flavor is prominent at first, then wasabi’s signature flavor enters and rises as the lead note. To me, the wafer biscuits seem to be identical to the ones in regular Kit Kats. It’s mind-blowing that the holistic taste of the mini chocolate bar that I was joyfully munching on normally belongs on my favorite sushi rolls and inari sushi! Taste-wise, it is an accurate wasabi experience but sans the kick. This means that chomping on this choc is especially enjoyable for both longstanding wasabi fans and anyone who wishes to enter the wasabi world for the first time.
White chocolate is an excellent chocolate selection to showcase wasabi. It possesses a mild flavor in comparison to dark and milk chocolates, which means that wasabi doesn’t compete with other additional elements. Also, with its ‘milkier’ and sweeter characteristics, white chocolate eliminates wasabi’s intensity. Even though wasabi is a savory ingredient, it feels right at home in the chocolate realm when it’s paired with white chocolate. Hence, anyone who typically isn’t a huge fan of white chocolate might find themselves enjoying this Kit Kat.
It’s truly a joy to taste this Kit Kat, as I feel like I’ve visited Japan from my home. Also, it is now one of my favorite white chocolates! I can’t wait to see what Kit Kat comes up with next!