Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kit Kat Passionfruit キットカット 大人の甘さ こだわりパッションフルーツ

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As I was leaving Japan to come home, Nestle released a new Kit Kat flavour. It was a surprise, mostly because the flavour is so mundane. A fruity flavour for summer but something I would expect to see at home in Australia, not in Japan.

However, I was happy to be able to grab a share pack of 12 minis for ¥298 to take home as souvenirs for my friends, who were delighted to try it and all raved about the flavour. I wish I had brought more than one bag home with me!

The Kit Kat itself is a creamy yellow colour and smells strongly of passionfruit from the chocolate coating which is smooth and soft. Biting into the Kit Kat finger the chocolate is sweet, and the wafers are crispy but the cream inside is tart and makes an interesting combination when mixed. 

 

I can see why my friends raved about this. I like the tart and the sweet together, and as well as that at the very end there is an unexpected creaminess. This Kit Kat is delectable and really lends itself to being more like a dessert than a snack. 

It is really more sophisticated than previous flavours, and I could imagine it more as an elegant dessert for adults. I really do like this, and luckily I have 3 minis left so I can keep them all to myself!

If you haven't already tried this I recommend that you do! But make sure that you keep it hidden so no one steals it! ;)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Nestle Kit Kat Green Tea (Matcha) キットカット 大人の甘さ 抹茶

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It's been a while since I have reviewed a Kit Kat, probably at least a couple of years. It's good to be getting back into reviewing Kit Kat though as I've never lost my interest in the weird and wacky flavours that Japan keeps putting out.

It seems since the disaster of March 2011 (I hate saying that as my son was born the same month and year), that Nestle have been releasing less Kit Kat flavours than they did before. I know you can still get regional versions but when I went to Japan recently I really struggled to find anything other than regular, white, and green tea.

Japan seems to have renamed their Kit Kat to be "大人" (adult) flavour, or sweetness at an acceptable level for adults. I am not sure why this is, but they have a lot of advertising featuring office ladies or "OL's" so maybe they are aiming more towards weight conscious women?

This is a share pack of 12 individually wrapped minis which is great for me as I have been able to give lots away as souvenirs after coming home from Japan. This flavour was released in both a share pack and a single pack edition. In Japan, the share pack of 12 Kit Kat retails for around ¥298 which is how much I paid for this bag at Mega Donkey (a large discount retailer).

The one thing I noticed about this Kit Kat is that the chocolate coating is very mousse-like and it melts very easily. We are in the throes of Winter here and it's around 18 degrees during the day, but even with the heater on low this little mini melted. 

  


The outer chocolate is green tea green and smells strongly of matcha. Biting into it I get a very strong hit of matcha from the soft green chocolate. The matcha cream inside the crispy wafer also tastes very strongly of tea but with a sweetness. Right at the end there is a familiar bitterness from the matcha.

This Kit Kat was a hit with me. It was very authentic to the taste of real matcha and the soft outer chocolate, even though it melted easily, was delicious. I also enjoyed the crispy texture of the wafers inside. Unfortunately for me it was over too soon, so I might need the whole bag of minis to myself! 

I would recommend trying these if you like matcha or if you want to try a really authentic Japanese flavour paired in a Kit Kat.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Country Ma'am Crispy Almond カントリーマアム クリスピーアーモンド

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I have 5 more packs of Country Ma'am to review, and this is the next one in my stash. This is the "crispy" version of Country Ma'am whereby the cookie is very crispy and crumbly and as you can see by the photo below, falls apart quite easily.

These cookies are very dark and like the previous share pack, are individually wrapped. There are 6 in this bag, which I bought from Daiso for ¥105 (around $1). 

The flavour is "almond" but actually I can't smell any almond from the cookie itself. All I can smell is strong cocoa and a slightly burnt scent. There seems to be a theme with Country Ma'am in that no matter what flavour the cookie is, there are chocolate chips inside. It's more suitable for an almond cookie to have choc chips than a matcha cookie though, in my opinion so this cookie seems interesting.




Biting into the cookie it completely crumbles, as expected. The flavour is strong cocoa and the dark chocolate chips really shine here. Unfortunately there are only the smallest dots of almond to be seen in each cookie and they don't add anything flavour or scent wise. I think this cookie should be renamed "dark chocolate chip" or something like that. Really, what was the point calling it "almond" when the almonds are non-existent. 

I would have liked to have seen big pieces of almond in here so in that respect this cookie was a let down. However, I did enjoy the dark chocolate flavour and the crispy texture of the cookie, so it's not a total fail.

If you just expect a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie when you buy these then you won't be disappointed. As these have 6 individually wrapped cookies, they are also good to share with friends and family. 



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fujiya Milky Candy 不二家ミルキー

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While I was in Japan, I saw the Fujiya brand everywhere. Not only do they have their own brand of cake shops with the most delicious delights, but they also make every day biscuits, snacks, chocolates and candies.

What I have here is a box of original Fujiya Milky with the iconic image of Peko-chan, the company's mascot, on the front.

Inside there are 7 individually wrapped candies all bearing the Peko-chan mascot. The candies are small, round, and white in colour. There is no distinctive smell from the outside.

The candy is hard, not soft and chewy as I expected. The flavour is quite bland, and I suspect it's aiming to be "milky" which is sweet and creamy.

To be honest, Japanese people probably love these because it reminds them of their childhood. I don't have the nostalgia associated with Fujiya so I don't feel any enthusiasm for this candy. It's too bland.
In saying that though, I'm sure it would be great as a treat for kids, and my Japanese husband loves them.

You can buy this box of Milky Candy from Oyatsu Cafe.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Country Ma'am Vanilla & Fragrant Matcha カントリーマアム バニラ&香り抹茶

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Today I have a share pack of cookies by Fujiya called "Country Ma'am". In the past I have reviewed a black sugar version and a kinako version. Today I am reviewing a pack with 20 individually wrapped cookies inside. 10 are Vanilla flavour and the other 10 are fragrant Matcha (green tea) flavour.

I bought this bag of cookies from Ichimaru Supermarket in Tokachi for ¥258. It's quite a big bag and 20 cookies seems like a lot but actually each cookie is quite small - about 3.5cm in diameter.

The vanilla cookie is referred to as a "Chocochip Cookie Vanilla" on the wrap, but on the actual bag is only called vanilla. However, I think most people would think of this as a "choc chip" cookie as the most predominant smell is chocolate. The outside is crispy and the inside is soft and there is a slightly burnt and sweet caramel flavour. The milk chocolate chips give a hint of chocolate but only when you bite into them directly. Otherwise there is a vague caramel/vanilla flavour present. While it's still nice to eat, it's over rather quickly and it's not the strong vanilla flavour I was expecting.



The fragrant matcha cookie is green in colour and crispy on the outside. When biting into it I inhaled a strong scent of matcha. The flavour is very much green tea but there is a surprise inside : chocolate chips! Again the chocolate chips don't add much unless directly bitten on. This is a very strong flavoured cookie so if you like matcha then you would enjoy this cookie. There is a slight vanilla flavour right at the end that is not unpleasant but seems mismatched with matcha.

I'm not a big fan of the vanilla cookies, they are just "ok" but I really like the matcha flavour cookies. This bag of 20 cookies was great value because I shared them out with friends as part of a "Japanese snacks gift bag" when I got home. They are individually wrapped so they are the perfect kind of snack you can hand out to friends who like to try Japanese foods.

It's also a good pantry filler because you can keep a few in your bag or in my case nappy bag, and take them with you when you go out for a quick snack or when my toddler asks for a snack in the supermarket I can ply him with a cookie. :)

You can visit the Fujiya Website for more interesting Country Ma'am flavours.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Chuoken Hanairo Shion Senbei Set 中央軒 花色しおん せんべい

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Recently when a Japanese friend got married I went to her wedding here in Perth and another friend also travelled over from Japan to attend. The friend gave us some premium Chuoken Senbei as a gift. I shared some on the day with Yasu and then quickly hid the rest away because they were so special. Its not every day you get given senbei from Ginza!

Each set contains an amount of Senbei, divided by two kinds in separate pink and purple packs. We had a set of 6 packages which means we had 3 each of pink and purple.







 Hanairo Pink

#1 - Soy sauce & Nori - with lots of crunch and some tiny sprinkles of nori (seweed)
#2 - Almond Arare - A very nice crunchy senbei with 3 small almond pieces on the top, very flavourful.
#3 - Hana - Tastes like Sakura and the texture is like little rice crips all glued together with sugar. Sweet senbei but very nice.
#4 - Aonori - Light, crisp senbei with a touch of nori and salt.
#5 - Kaifuri - Thin and crunchy, can taste soy sauce and dashi, and has sprinkles of nori on the outside for extra flavour.
#6 - Yuzu - A big hit of citrus on here, thin and crunchy with a lasting citrus taste.
#7 - Plum - Shaped like a Sakura petal, delicate crunch with plum flavoured sugar, has some sour notes as well as sweet.

My favourites out of here were the Plum and #1.




Hanairo Purple

#1 - Seaweed wrap - Thin and wrapped in nori, great crunchy texture and nice nori flavour.
#2 - Soy bean arare - Thick, crunchy and light toasted soy bean flavour, very interesting aftertaste of roasted beans.
#3 - Matcha arare - Green and thin, quite sweet and only light hints of green tea.
#4 - Soba Boro - Texture like a ginger nut biscuit, lots of smoky flavour, quite malty, has soba-esque hints.
#5 - White - Soy sauce flavour on a thin leaf-like senbei.
#6 - Rice arare - Like little rice crispies glued together, dashi and soy sauce flavour and a nice glossy sheen.
#7 - Ebi Senbei - Thick, crunchy and oily. Big prawn flavours.

My favourite of these were the Soba Boro and the Ebi Senbei.



In all, these Senbei were an exquisite snack, and Yasu and I both really enjoyed them and were very sad when they were all gone. If you happen to see these in Japan sometime, they make a great gift and an even better snack for yourself, and I thoroughly recommend them.

You can check out their website here. They also have an online shop.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Pokemon Noodle Soy Sauce Flavour ポケモンヌードル しょうゆ味

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I am back to blogging after my husband caught a cold, gave it to my 2 year old son and then when they were over it, they had given it to me! So I spent a week trying to look after a busy toddler and feeling utterly miserable. There was no incentive to blog because I had lost my sense of taste. :(

I'm back now though with a cup of Pokemon Noodle to review. This will be attractive to fans of Pokemon or Japan-o-files. The packaging is a little scary, with two large dark grey owls in the background and what looks like fire, and Pokemon has his mouth open in an angry expression.
I don't know much about Pokemon so I don't know if this is normally a scary story.

The flavour is "shoyu" which is soy sauce. To eat this pack of cup noodle is simple. Just take off the outer plastic wrapping, unseal the lid half way and pour boiling water inside up to the line near the top. Then cover with the lid and wait 3 minutes, peel back the lid and eat!

 



In terms of flavour I thought this was just ok. What set it apart from other cup noodles is that it had flat pieces of kamaboko (fish cake) hidden amongst the noodles with images of characters from Pokemon. They were really quite cute and it was exciting to uncover all the little discs of kamaboko.

My husband also ate some of the cup noodle and on a scale of one to ten he gave it a 5. Average in flavour but because of its cute factor it would probably be quite popular with the young ones and otaku, so would possibly rate higher to others.








In all this was a fun product to try and I thank Oyatsu Cafe for letting me try it out. It's not something I would normally buy so it's been great to try something out of my comfort zone.

You can buy this product from Oyatsu Cafe now at their online store, along with lots of other great Japanese snacks.

The maker of Pokemon Noodle, Sanyo Foods, have a great website dedicated to this product with lots of cool interactive games and characters that move.