A licensed product of America's own Hershey Company, the American Kit Kat is a timeless chocolate bar. It's sturdy and it's brown. Like the logs that built Lincoln's cabin and equally as exciting. Yet overseas, and in the rest of the Kit Kat-eating world, the bar is made by the Swiss corporation Nestle, which, in the last decade, has introduced more than 200 flavors of Kit Kat in Japan alone. Aside from regional flavors like soy sauce, pickled plum, buttered corn, and wasabi -- which are rarely available outside Japan -- national flavors are often sold in L.A.'s Japanese markets. These flavors are often introduced on a limited time basis, and not just for the sake of a gimmick (though there are plenty of those too). They pay tribute to athletic competitions, holidays, popular beverages, even religious ceremonies. So "take a break", and enjoy this list of the top ten flavors of Kit Kats you've probably never tried.
1. Kinako Ohagi -- Kinako Ohagi is a traditional Japanese treat which is similar to mochi. Covered in sweet beans, sesame, or a toasted soy flower called "kinako", the treat is traditionally served during Higan, a Buddhist holiday celebrated around the Spring and Fall equinoxes in which people visit family graves to comfort the spirits of ancestors. Although it tastes more like a hazelnut latte (with 3 pumps) than red beans, the message here is loud and clear: Kit Kat respects and encourages tradition. Clever move, Kit Kat.
2. Royal Milk Tea -- Despite the armed members of the Queen's guard shown marching across the bottom of the box, royal milk tea, sold in vending machines and snack shops all over Japan, is a purely Japanese creation. It tastes similar to English breakfast tea, but with a ton of milk, and five or so lumps. As a beverage, Royal milk tea can be headache-inducing at best, which makes it the perfect Kit Kat flavor. Very sweet, with a mildly floral white chocolate coating, and a hint of saltiness in each crunchy bite.
3. Double Cookie -- Within the subcategory of special edition Kit Kats, there is a subordinate subcategory of special edition double cookie flavors. Few rise above novelty status. But Kit Kat Double Cookie Butter Cookie, which is thicker, with two kinds of crunch (biscut kind and wafer kind), and lightly buttery, shifts the Kit Kat paradigm entirely. Yes, there is a Kit Kat paradigm.
4. Roasted Sweet Potato -- Imagine a sweet potato pie, in bar form, with wafers. A special flavor introduced for Fall '09, when sweet potatoes are at their height, the bar infuses both the autumn-yellow chocolate coating and the creme between the wafers with sweet potato flavor. Roasted Sweet Potato isn't available in individual bar form but is sold in big bags of minis, along with classic Kit Kat.
5. Kuchidoke Kakao -- Or "Melts in your mouth." Coated in a creamy, fudgy, darker chocolate with chocolate creme filling, Kuchidoke Kakao lives up to its name.
6. Maple -- For the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Nestle created the Maple Kit Kat bar to honor the event's Canadian host. And according to the package, the bar is made with maple syrup imported from Quebec. C'est bien!
7. Raspberry Passionfrut -- A special edition flavor for Valentine's day, Raspberry Passionfruit Kit Kat is packaged in pink or brown boxes with hearts. Dark (and handsome) chocolate coating, with sweet and subtly tart pink raspberry passionfruit creme.
8. Ginger ale -- Another limited edition Kit Kat flavor based on a drink, Kit Kat Ginger ale doesn't really taste like ginger ale. Coated in green, tangy white chocolate, with an all too mildly fizzy crunch, is more of a gingerfail. (Note: Kit Kat Ginger Ale squeaked into the Top 10 because we believe in rewarding imagination.)
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9. Vegetable Juice -- Imagine if V8 Juice was made with chemicals.
10. Ramune -- You know, the Japanese soda with the marble in it...? Anyway. It comes in a number of different flavors, but the Nestle flavored the Kit Kat after the original lemon-lime. Coated in a fizzy white-chocolate, it tastes like sour bubble gum, in cookie form.