Japan, renowned for its innovation in the world of snacks, never ceases to amaze with its unique and creative inventions. As we step out of 2023, it's time to explore the coolest new snacks that are taking Japan by storm. From tantalizing flavors to quirky packaging, these snacks are not just a treat for you; they're a feast for the eyes and proof of how awesome Japanese snacks can be.
In Japan, Kit Kats can be made to represent famous meals in a particular region. Tokai and Hokuriku are two regions that are linked by a long expressway in Japan. It is known for many dishes and snacks like the azuki bean sandwich. Azuki bean paste is used to fill many snacks like daifuku, Dorayaki, Dango, and Mochi. Nestle managed to create a Kit Kat that embodies the taste of this special bean-paste sandwich. Because it is a regional flavor, it is mostly sold in the region it was made for, but you can get some online.
Caramel corn is a popular corn puff snack that has been sold in Japan since the 1970s. Even though it’s not a cookie or biscuit-like popular Japanese snack, it remained popular for over 50 years as a classic Japanese snack. During fall in Japan, residents start eating roasted sweet potato as a popular street snack. In 2023, Tohato infused one of Japan’s favorite treats, sweet potato, with its caramel corn product. The sweet potato-flavored caramel coats the corn puffs in this flavor to give the satisfaction of fall sweet potato.
Fanta products in Japan are on a whole different level compared to the rest of the world. For one, they use real fruit extracts instead of just flavoring. That means that orange-flavored Fanta will taste richer and generally be healthier in Japan than in other countries. Japan is also known to interact with its consumers in Japan. For instance, they released a “What the Fanta” zero-sugar drink in 2023 that doesn’t reveal the flavor to the consumers. People have been making videos where they guess the flavor. It is a bright purple drink, but some people have said it tastes as sweet as cake, even with the zero-sugar label. Will you buy this drink to taste?
The name "Mont Blanc" is synonymous with a famous dessert that originated in Europe, particularly in France and Italy. Mont Blanc desserts are known for their chestnut-based goodness, typically having a chestnut puree atop a sweet base. This is the inspiration for this seasonal flavor of Tohato caramel corn, which often makes its appearance in the autumn and winter months when chestnuts are in season.
The chestnut element brings a nutty, earthy richness to the snack, mirroring the chestnut puree found in Mont Blanc desserts. The sweetness of the caramel corn puff combines with the chestnut to create a mix of interesting tastes.
When it’s summer in Japan, refreshing flavors like mint come into play. Japan’s popular ice cream chain called Baskin Robbins has a crowd favorite every summer, which is the chocolate cream ice cream. Kit Kat collaborated with Baskin Robbins to create a Kit Kat with chocolate filling coated with mint chocolate to replicate the refreshing taste of the ice cream. If you want to get the best out of this Kit Kat, Nestle says to take it when it is cold just out of the freezer. The collaboration swings both ways because the company now offers Kit Kat toppings for their ice cream flavors.
Earlier this year, Fanta Japan released the Yoghurush Mellow Strawberry flavor. Fanta created the Yoghurush drink series in 2021 as a creamy energy rush drink to give their customers that boost of energy. This drink was only sold for a limited time, but Fanta promised that it was not a regular strawberry yogurt but had 1.2 times more yogurt than the other flavors. If you’re a fan of flavored yogurts that still serve as energy drinks, then this is right up your alley.
Daifuku is a traditional Japanese sweet made from glutinous rice flour called mochi, typically stuffed with a sweet filling, such as red bean paste. These chewy and delightful small snacks are enjoyed across Japan and are often served on special occasions or as a sweet treat with tea. As one of the coolest 2023 releases by Kit Kat Japan, the Kit Kat Daifuku flavor aims to capture the essence of this beloved traditional sweet in a convenient chocolate bar. Like many releases in Japan, the Kit Kat Daifuku flavor may be available for a limited time or in specific regions.
Jagabee is a French fry snack by Calbee in Japan made using unhusked potatoes. The company recently released a cooked plum Jagabee flavor in September 2023 for a limited time only. Plums are a very popular fruit in Japan. It has a rich, sweet taste that deepens as it becomes ripe. However, one popular way Japanese people eat plums is by turning them into umeboshi (pickled plum) which has a sour taste. This plum flavor used for the wave-cut Jagabee has a sweet and sour taste, which is an extremely satisfying combination. Plus, the packaging is so cute.
Yep, this is a real snack flavor. Calbee is Japan's number one Potato snack manufacturer, and they do not disappoint with their Potato Chip flavors. In August 2023, the company released a new flavor that's quite a mouthful - literally. The pizza honey cheese chicken chips combine four unique ingredients in one chip. They had earlier released a pizza-flavored Potato Chip, which impressed their customer, so they decided to take it to the next level by giving it an upgrade. Even though it seems like a confusing flavor, you taste a little bit of each ingredient in each bite.
DARS is one of Japan's most popular chocolate brands that has been in existence for 30 years. Each pack has tiny bite-sized chocolate that comes in different flavors. Recently, the company announced a collaboration with the popular Blue Lock anime to release four flavors of chocolate called EGO choco. You can now buy the strawberry, muscat, milk chocolate, and cream flavors of DARS chocolate to present the characters of the anime.
In conclusion, Japan's snack industry will remain as dynamic and innovative as ever in 2023. From traditional flavors with modern twists to bold, unexpected combinations, there's a snack to suit every palate and preference. So, whether you're a seasoned fan of Japanese snacks or new to the world of Japanese flavors, keep an eye out for these coolest new snacks as they make their way to stores and online retailers.
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This article was originally written by our freelance writer Umm-Kulthum Abdulkareem and edited by us.