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Long time no see. Ume Soda KitKat.

August 21, 2009

In the month or so that has gone by since I my last post, I have moved back to the United States, and I have helped my fiance move to her new apartment, which has resulted in almost a month without internet access and the means to update this blog. Hopefully things have changed now.

I filmed plenty of videos and sent a lot of stuff that I haven’t reviewed to my house in the US, so I will still be able to make updates while my backup supply lasts. After that, I should hopefully have people in Japan who can still send me new treats to try out. Don’t worry! Things will continue on, but the info will not be as breaking as it once was. Alas.

Anways, the most recent KitKat flavor I saw before moving was:

Ume Soda KitKat

Ume Soda KitKat

Unfortunately, I forgot two separate packs of these in two separate refrigerators on two separate occasions, so I was never able to try them out. I sent a box or two to my house via surface mail, so I will try these out eventually. We will just have to wait until then. =(

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American “street” Pringles

July 28, 2009

The East Coast vs West Coast rivalry finally spills over into the snack world:

Los Angeles BBQ Chicken Pringles

Los Angeles BBQ Chicken Pringles

I’ve never been to LA, so I can’t comment on whether or not they actually sell BBQ chicken wrappen in a tortilla that you are supposed to eat while walking. Do these taste like BBQ chicken? Kind of.  It tastes like sweet BBQ sauce, and like the standard BBQ flavor you can get back in America only, again, sweeter. There wasn’t anything tasting like chicken here, which is pretty par for the course for Pringles. They’ve never had a chicken-themed flavor that tasted like actualy chicken.

And in this corner…

New York Cheese Dog Pringles

New York Cheese Dog Pringles

I’m not sure if that is some kind of typo or if the street in question here belongs to the people of New Yorker. Either way, when I think “New York”, cheese dogs certainly aren’t the first thing that come to mind, and I don’t know how qualified they are to represent New York, but none of that matters, I suppose.

Again, the first thing I thought of is that these taste initially like BBQ sauce, althought it’s a very weak and subtle version. When compared to the the BBQ Chicken chips, these do taste kind of “cheesy” in comparison, but not so much when tasted by themselves. They don’t come off as really cheesy, but they do have kind of a smoked flavor that is more similar in taste to a hot dog than the chicken ones were to BBQ chicken.

So, in terms of being accurate, the Cheese Dog ones are better, and I have to admit that I like them better than the chicken ones when it comes to just tasting good as well. Here’s hoping nobody gets shot over this review.

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It’s Mango Mania in Japan.

July 23, 2009

Summer is in full swing, and that means it’s time for all of the tasty tropical flavored things to go on sale. This year, the flavor of the year is mango. Here’s a quick rundown of a few things you can now find:

Peach and Mango drink

Peach and Mango drink

Here’s a drink that’s a combination of peach and mango with an overall yogurt flavor to it. This “World’s Kitchen” brand often releases different kinds of drinks supposedly inspired by various countries, and this time around, they say that they got the idea from Hungary.

Dessert Mango Milk Tea

Dessert Mango Milk Tea

The Kocha Kaden Desserts line also brings out many different kinds of really sweet kinds of milk tea. They’ve done caramel, strawberry, and this time around, they’re doing mango. This really tastes like mango and milk tea separately, but at the same time (if that makes any sense). You can taste the mango, and you can taste milk tea, but for some reason, it doesn’t come off as tasting like “mango milk tea”. The previous varieties got a little too sweet about halfway through the bottle, but I’ve had no problem finishing off many of these.

Mango Pudding Country Ma'am cookies

Mango Pudding Country Ma'am cookies

Country Ma’am is a brand that I’ve, unfortunately, been neglecting since I started reporting on flavors. They always are coming out with new flavors of cookies every season, and have been doing so as far back as I can remember. Well the neglect ends now!

They certainly look the part.

They certainly look the part.

For a cookie, these taste surprisingly accurate. There is a lot of mango flavor in these tiny little cookies. The while chocolate chips get completely overshadowed by the mango flavor of the cookie, but they still had that nice texture that comes with chewing on a chocolate chip cookie.

They normally reccommend that you microwave them for 20 seconds or so to make them hot and moist, and normally, this is a good idea.  I thought that they flavor was more pronounced when eaten “cold”, but what it lacks in flavor, it makes up for in being realy moist and warm (although doing so always makes them kind of oily).

Mango Pudding KitKat

Mango Pudding KitKat

Of course there’s a new KitKat flavor as well. Unfortunately, those ripoff “combo packs” are back in Pog form once again. At least this time around, the chocolate to mango ratio is a lot better than with previous flavors. In this particular bag, you get 7 pairs of milk chocolate and 6 pairs of mango pudding. Still a long way to go, but things are getting better (I gueeessss).

An individual mango pudding KitKat.

An individual mango pudding KitKat.

Unfortunately for the KitKat, there’s a lot of competition in the mango flavor department, and these don’t really stand up to the others, specifically the Country Ma’am cookies. There’s a nice mango smell to them, and there’s a decent initial mango flavor, but it doesn’t really last. As you keep eating them, the flavor kind of fades into more of a generic white chocolate wafer with a hint of mango. If these were the only snacks in town, I might have given them a more favorable review, because they are pretty tasty, but unfortunately, there are others who can do mango better.

Coconut Mango Cocktail

Coconut Mango Cocktail

Even the alcohol gets frutier in the summertime, much to my delight. This “coconut mango” flavor sounded like it would be right up my alley, but by trying to pull off three flavors at once, they end up lacking with each one. They mix all of this with vodka, but these things never really taste like alcohol, so that’s never a problem. The mango doesn’t taste as good when compared to the peach and milk tea drink mentioned earlier, and the little bit of grapefruit that they decided to add in just detracts from the mango and makes it more sour than I felt it should be. That might just be to cover up the alcohol taste. In a time like this, I would expect the sweetness of the coconut flavor to come in and make everything better, but there was barely any coconut flavor to be had, which is what attracted me to this in the first place. If they had axed the grapfruit in favor of making the coconut flavor stronger, I could see myself enjoying this a lot more, but alas.

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Finally, Sports Drink KitKat

July 10, 2009

When I was in Tokyo last week, I literally went into every single convenience store and grocery store that I walked past to try and find these damn things. 7-11? Nope. Lawson? Nope. Family Mart? Nope. Sunkus? Nope. Newdays? Nope. It wasn’t until I was getting ready to head back home that i walked past an AMPM. Sure enough, they had them! I proceeded to buy what little stock they had left.

Sports Drink KitKat

Sports Drink KitKat

When I first heard of these, I figured that they would taste like at least one of two things:

  • Citrus/Grapefruit in order to seem similar to Aquarius.
  • Somewhat salty in order to seem similar to Pocari Sweat.

It turns out I was right on both points, but only under certain conditions, but even with both of those accounted for, I never thought that they tasted like a real sports drink.

Outer and inner packaging.

Outer and inner packaging.

I first tried them out as soon as I bought them, and in the middle of summer, there was nothing I could do to prevent them from melting a little. I tried them again later after having put them in the fridge for a bit, and the flavor seems more “accurate” after being cooled down.

When it was kind of melty, it tasted more like white chocolate and yogurt with a little bit of saltiness as well. I was kind of disappointed, because I don’t recall any sports drinks that taste like yogurt, unless you want to count Protein Water.

After having chilled them, I noticed that they didn’t taste like the yogurt flavor I had remembered. Instead, they tasted more like lemon than anything else, and they still had a salty taste to them as well. I tried some of the recent Lemon Vinegar ones again just to compare, and while not as lemony, the sports drink ones still had enough of a flavor to jog my memory. I wanted to make sure that they didn’t just take the lemon vinegar ones and add salt to the mixture. As an added bonus, there were times when they reminded me of those little wafer cookies that usually come in vanilla/chocolate/strawberry assortments if you can imagine one with a slight lemon taste to it.

Unfortunately, these were anything but refreshing, and they don’t do any sort of electrolyte replenishing, but you would be silly to actually have these kind of expectations from a KitKat. They seem to simply be advertising a soccer program and not being marketed toward actual soccer players.

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New things at KFC and Wendy’s

July 8, 2009

I saw these when I was walking by the other day. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to stop in and try either of them out. These might have come out a long time ago for all I know, but they’re new to me.

The large tapestry outside the restaurant.

The large tapestry outside the restaurant.

KFC has a new line of drinks that “Aren’t quite a shake. Aren’t quite a smoothie”. The four flavors are:

Cookies & Cream

Caramel Crunch

Orange Sorbet

Strawberry Banana

Apparently they are only available at 19 stores in all of Japan, so I should have had one when I had the chance. Here’s a promotional video that tells you nothing about the drinks:

New at Wendy’s:

Spicy Chili Cheeseburger

Spicy Chili Cheeseburger

The Spicy Chili Cheeseburger doesn’t look like anything too special. They just took their regular Wendy’s Chili and put it on a burger. Perhaps it’s a great combination, but they’re not winning any creativity points here. Maybe they saw some customers putting this together themselves, and they decided to try and market it to everyone. I’ll give it a shot.

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“Sports Drink” KitKat

July 1, 2009

According to Nestle’s website, a new flavor of KitKat went on sale June 22nd: Sports Drink.

Sports Drink KitKat

Sports Drink KitKat

Apparently, this is a collaboration between Nestle and the JFA Dream Asia Project that looks to promote soccer within Asia and Japan.  If it’s like most of the sports drinks here, it will probably have a slightly citrus, more than likely grapefruit, flavor. I don’t think that these will be all too refreshing, nor will the replenish your electrolytes, but I doubt that’s the point on these.

I’ve been looking for these for about a week now with no luck. There one more place that I’d like to check out, but if it doesn’t turn up, I’m sure I can find at least one store that has them when I head to Tokyo this weekend.

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Afternoon Tea: Lemon Cookies and Milk Tea Pie

July 1, 2009
 

I guess I’ll get this out of the way now: These cookies more or less taste like the drinks that they are inspired by, but they get completely overshadowed by the drinks’ flavor if you try to eat them together which defeats the whole point, I feel. For now, I’ll just be commenting on the cookies themselves.

Lemon Tea! 

 

I originally thought that they were simply going to be regular sugar cookies with some lemon flavored cream in the middle, but that’s not the case. They do actually taste like the real drink even if the flavor is a bit on the weak side.
Here's what's on the inside.

Here's what's on the inside.

 The flavor seems to come from the entire cookie rather than relying on just the cream. It’s not an extremely strong lemon flavor either, and I’m not sure how easily some people could recognize it as such. This is because these cookies taste like “lemon tea” and not just “lemon”, which is a good thing, because I don’ t normally like artificially  flavored lemon snacks. These I don’t have any problems with.

While we’re at it, let’s check out the Milk Tea Pies.
Everything's individually wrapped.

Everything's individually wrapped.

Out of the three varieties, these are the ones that look the least like a “normal” cookie and the most like a frosted saltine.

Care for some pie?

Care for some pie?

Unlike the lemon tea cookies, these seem to be relying on the cream for 100% of the flavor, and the “pie” simply for its texture. As you may have guessed, the cream frosting, or whatever it is, tastes like milk tea, and the flavor itself is pretty accurate. Unfortunately, because it’s such a thin layer, the flavor doesn’t stand out very much and, like the other two, the flavor is very very subtle.

This is what they call "pie" in Japan.

This is what they call "pie" in Japan.

When they call this a “pie”, they are simply referring to the layered and flaky nature of the cookie itself. I thought the cookie was somewhat bland, and as a result, it detracts from the flavor of the cream. These are decent, but I think that they would have turned out better if they had just made another “cookie” rather than trying to out-fancy the straight and lemon tea varieties.

Lemon Tea Cookies