While here in the United States we have stunt Oreos, in Japan the oddly flavored treat of choice are Kit Kats. The candies are so popular there that Nestle is building a new factory there that will do nothing but crank out Kit Kats.
The green tea Kit Kat debuted in 2004, CNN reports, beginning a trend that has somehow ballooned to hundreds of different flavors.
The special flavors just for the Japanese market help explain the candy’s popularity there, and so does the brand name’s similarity to an expression in Japanese, “kitto katsu,” which means “surely win.”
That makes the bars a popular gift for occasions where people want to win, like students taking exams. Exotic Kit Kat flavors are popular with visitors to Japan, who bring them home as a novelty.
The BBC notes that Kit Kat sales are up 50% in the last seven years, an part of that is tourists bringing home confections that they’d never find at home. Wasabi, banana, muscato grape, ginger ale, or soy sauce flavored Kit Kats definitely fit that description.
If you aren’t satisfied with those but still hunger for chocolate and wafers, there are limited edition versions available in Kit Kat boutiques from pastry chef Y. Takagi. You can buy those in the company’s Kit Kat boutiques, which are an actual thing. The seventh one opened this week in Tokyo.
Relatively few of these special flavors make it to the United States, except through the candy gray market, since our Kit Kats come from a different company, Hershey. The most exotic thing that we usually have access to are white chocolate or strawberry Kit Kats.