Wasabi Kit Kat: Brave Enough to Take a Bite?
(This article was originally posted in Japanese at 13:00 May 15, 2010)
There are all sorts of wacky Kit-Kat flavours only in Japan, but this one sounds foreign even for us Japanese. We've spotted the unusual wasabi-flavoured Kit-Kat at a souvenir stand in Shizuoka Hobby Show 2010. Apparently it's a Shizuoka-limited edition since the area happens to cultivate most wasabi in Japan.
For those unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine, wasabi is the little bit of green relish hidden under the sashimi(rawfish) on a sushi. It gives you a distinct spiciness that opens your nasal passage, sort of close to horseradish, but not really.
So a wasabi Kit-Kat. Is it as wicked as it sounds? We braved a bite to find out!
Read on for details and pics.
"KitKat Wasabi" sold at Shizuoka Hobby Show 2010.
We guess they'll be available all year round at most gift shops in Shizuoka region. Look for this poster.
Comes in a box of twelve.
You can see "茎わさびパウダー" (wasabi-stem powder) listed on the ingredients label.
69 calories per packet.
The wasabi is provided by Tamaruya-honten, a well-known wasabi merchandiser established in 1875.
It says "Shizuoka-Kanto Limited" so it must be available in the greater Tokyo area. Try gift shops in airports, train stations or rest areas (which are called service areas in Japan).
The Latin name of wasabi is "Wasabia japonica". The name "wasabi" can be found in documents dating back to Nara period(AD 710-794), and its cultivation started in Utogi district (todays Aoi-ku, Shizuoka) about 400 years ago.
Each bar is wrapped in an individual packet.
Pale green, looks kind of like Matcha-chocolate (green tea chocolate) which is fairly popular in Japan.
You can see the wafers underneath the chocolate coating.
It smells mostly like white chocolate but you can detect the subtle hint of wasabi before you take a bite. The white chocolate is strong in flavour, but there definitely is the spiciness of wasabi, although not powerful enough to clear your nasal passage. The milky white chocolate goes surprisingly well with wasabi, not overwhelmingly sweet but taming the pungency. The cream between the wafers is also wasabi-flavoured, and you can feel the hotness when the wasabi powder in the cream touch your tongue. All in all, the unique spicy and sweet combination was quite nicely done, not bad at all if you're okay with wasabi. Not recommended, of course, for those who can't stand the slightest hint of wasabi in their sushi.
So we finished the box. Despite our apprehension, there was nothing malicious or torturous about it.
Little Known Fact:
The hotness of wasabi is quite different from chili pepper because it comes from allyl isothiocyanate rather than capsaicin. Chemically, the two are completely different things. Allyl isothiocyanate and other isothiocyanates providing the unique flavour of wasabi are also responsible for the pungent taste of mustard, so if you like your hot dogs doused liberally in mustard, the chance is you won't feel a thing with this Wasabi Kit-Kat.
Favourite Wasabi Quote:
"As far as I can tell, there are two basic rules: 1. Don’t bite anything without permission, and 2. the human tongue is like wasabi: it’s very powerful, and should be used sparingly." -John Green
Should be used sparingly, indeed. As far as wasabi-flavoured white chocolate goes, they did a great job finding the best balance. Don't be afraid to try it!
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