Kit-Kat Densetsu 1: Suppai Orange

Cat and I just finished watching Eat Drink Man Woman, and it was a beautiful movie. A beautiful story, filmed beautifully. But the most beautiful thing of all was the food! The glorious food. Classic Chinese cooking, prepared meticulously and elegantly by expert hands. And it reminded me, oh, hey, we have this food blog, huh? So, hey. Food blog.

Tonight, I’m getting back in the swing of things by launching a recurring feature called Kit Kat Densetsu. That’s “Kit Kat Legend” in Japanese, for those who don’t know Japanese terms that have become terribly generic through overuse in videogame parlance. The name fits, though, because this section is devoted entirely to the unique and exotic flavors of Kit Kat sold only in Japan. Yes, that’s right: The common, everyday Kit Kit, available in a pitiful three flavors here in America (plus a gross orange-colored white chocolate version at Halloween) exists in a cornocopia of flavors over in Japan. I make it a point to try every kind of Kit Kat I can find when I travel to Tokyo; some are unpleasant, like the “vegetable health drink” kind they were selling last fall. Some are utterly amazing, like the seasonal winter black tea bar I picked up two years ago at a convenience store at Inara. I’ve acquired more than a dozen different sample flavors, and at a needlessly high cost — but it’s all for the noble purpose of writing about the fascinating variants of Kit Kat sold in Japan. It’s funny, but my favorite Japanese mass-manufactured snack is actually an American candy bar.

Sour Orange Kit-Kat: Far too delicious to sell in America. (Photo: Jeremy)

To inaugurate this section, we’re starting with the classic: Orange Kit Kit. Technically, this edition is “Suppai Orange,” or sour orange, but it tastes about the same as the Orange Kit Kat I fell in love with the first time I ever went to Japan. Interestingly, they actually did offer Orange Kit Kat here in the states in select regions for a limited time, but like other great ideas of the early 21st century (see also: Diet Pepsi Twist), it was deemed unfit for this world. Except in Japan, of course. I bought like three bags of these things at TGS last year, and distributed most of them to friends. That is because I play a Paragon in real life, not just in Mass Effect.

The Orange Kit Kat is precisely as it sounds: A Kit Kat bar infused with a strong orange flavor. As we all know, chocolate and orange are one of nature’s most perfect combinations. Kit Kats aren’t exactly gourmet chocolate, but they’re one of the few candy bars I enjoy — they’re not overly sweet, and the chocolate is a great complement to the crispy wafer interior. I wouldn’t eat a bar made of just Kit Kat calibre chocolate, and I wouldn’t eat the wafers alone. Together, though, they’re pretty good! But mix in the taste of orange and you’ve officially reached “day-yum!” territory.

The orange mixes well with the chocolate, but it overpowers the flavor of the wafer. That’s OK, though, because the wafer is really more about texture. The orange flavor teeters at the precipice of being too strong, but it’s actually just right. More importantly, it doesn’t leave an unpleasant chemical aftertaste like a lot of fruit-flavored candies. The bar tastes sweet as you eat it (Cat described it as tasting “like an orange creamsicle chocolate bar”), but afterwards the lingering orange flavor becomes a little bit tart in your mouth. It’s something of a rarity in that it’s a mass-produced convenience store chocolate bar that you actually want to savor. It’s a pity this flavor never caught on in the U.S., but maybe they’ll bring it back someday. If not… well, I end up in Japan at least once a year, so I suppose it’s reason enough to suffer through those interminable trans-Pacific flights.

16 thoughts on “Kit-Kat Densetsu 1: Suppai Orange

  1. You say “Sour Orange,” but it doesn’t sound particularly puckering. Does it taste sour at all going down? I remember loving the orange Kit Kat when I had it a few years back, but now I’m wondering if this Suppai variety has it beat. Or is it more or less the same? I guess the fact that it’s still in production is a bit of a boon, eh?

    Also, how does the flavor compare to, say, a Chocolate Orange? I remember the chocolate in the US version tasting rather similar, but I could be wrong.

  2. “Sour” is their name for it, not mine. It’s sweet in the mouth, but it does leave a tart aftertaste. It’s pretty much the same as the original orange Kit Kat, though.

    I wouldn’t compare it to a chocolate orange at all. The texture is totally different, and it’s much sweeter since it’s milk chocolate rather than dark.

  3. Le sigh. I’ve known of, and loved, the pleasures of orange flavored chocolates, and so to hear that this is no exception grinds my gears even more. Not to mention that I’ve long been wanting to try many of the varied Japanese flavors of Kit Kat, including apple, though that could really swing either way.

  4. Interestingly enough, a couple Fridays ago, someone gave me a Japanese Kit Kat to try.

    I can’t remember the flavor of the center for the life of me, though. It was such a subtle flavor that the surrounding white chocolate easily overpowered it.

    I enjoyed it, certainly — but oh man, what flavor was the center supposed to be? I think I’m going to have to ask again.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  5. So far I’ve only had the pleasure of a green tea Kit Kat that was packed with my order from J-list accidentally. My SO is in love with a number of the flavors available to the Japanese exclusively. Though there are some that I wish I had been able to try before their limited runs ended. Like the red wine version.

    Wish I could afford to buy imported snacks more often. Usually end up getting $50 worth at a time to lessen the impact of shipping charges.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  6. One thing I really like about Kit Kats in Japan is that you can buy them in glass jars from vending machines, and they’ll be nicely, crisply cold. The glass jars/bottles are probably 8 oz or so (perfect size for holding faeries), with a plastic cap you can take on and off, and there were.. 4? or 6? -individually wrapped- Kit Kat sticks in the jar. And, as mentioned, refridgerated, which is my favourite way to eat chocolate.

    Strangely enough, I never saw any of these exotic flavours whilst living there; only regular Kit Kats, in vending machines or in convenience/grocery stores. Where do you find these things, anyway?

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  7. Kit Kat is big business in Japan!

    Right now it is “test season” over here, so everyone is studying to take tests to get into their high school/university/company of choice….and the favorite snack of test season is Kit Kat! Why the connection you ask? Well because a lot of Japanese people think that “Kit Kat” sounds a whole lot like “kitto katsu” which in Japanese means “an assured victory.”

    During hellish late night cramming sessions, many students break out a Kit Kat, and parents are known to put a box of Kit Kats in their child’s back pack as a kind of good luck charm. In fact, on all boxes of Kit Kats being sold right now, there is a space on the back to write a brief message, “Good luck Takeshi!”

    Jeremy was not kidding when he mentioned the abundance of strange flavors….why just over the past year, I have seen: Ginger Ale Flavor, Sports Drink Flavor (Gatorade), Vegetable/Fruit Mix Juice Flvaor, Apple Vinegar Flavor, Lemon Vinegar Flavor, and Sweet Potato Flavor.

    Jeremy: Sorry about that box of Pocky I got you…if I knew you were such a big Kit Kat fan I would’ve gotten those instead!!!

  8. When you say they never caught on in America, you mean they were sold here at some point? Wish I tried one (well, it’ll give me something to try out when I eventually go to Japan).

  9. I feel foolish for never having tried the orange Kit Kats. I don’t ever recall seeing them though, and as a rule I try pretty much every Kit Kat I come across. Still waiting for the White Maple Kit Kat to make a comeback.

  10. America always gets left out when it comes to good chocolates and candy. Maybe the average American palette just can’t handle truly good chocolates?

    My experience with foreign candy comes from Australia, where they have some truly tasty stuff. (We’ve lucked out and one company has started importing a brand of Australian chocolate biscuits, called “Tim Tams” – I *highly* recommend them!)

  11. Possibly the only better combination of flavours is raspberry and chocolate. It is almost impossible to find anything with that flavour though which is sad. There is a shop here in Canada that sells chocolate covered raspberry licorice logs, which looks like a cigar and tastes like heaven.

  12. The regular “Terry’s Chocolate Orange” is actually milk chocolate, but your texture comment is duly noted. Kit-Kats are usually much creamier, although I love letting a chocolate orange melt a bit before going down. Mmmmm..

    Sorry — back to the exotic stuff!

Comments are closed.