How does a strawberry maple Kit Kat sound to you? Or a wasabi Kit Kat? Or a “butter” Kit Kat? (Admittedly, I don’t have a sweet tooth, and I don’t care for Kit Kats, but I have to say that the last one sounds especially disgusting.)
All of those unusual flavors — and many, many more — are variations of Kit Kat that are available in Japan. In that land across the Pacific, Kit Kat is one of the most popular candy bars around. There are about 300 different varieties of the venerable wafer and chocolate bar that you’re supposed to snap apart and share with your friend, and each has its own brightly colored wrapper. New flavors — like the single stick, dark chocolate, coated in gold leaf Kit Kat that was sold for a short time last December — are developed all the time, too. Even more strikingly, every region of Japan has its own special flavor of Kit Kat that is sold only in that region.
Why is Kit Kat so popular in Japan? Well, it’s undoubtedly a classic candy bar, but a lot of the popularity has to do with the name. Kit Kat sounds a lot like kitto katsu, which is Japanese for “surely win” — an expression of good luck. When Japanese schoolchildren are getting ready to take their tough, make-or-break college entrance exams, they can expect to get a supply of Kit Kats as exercises in positive thinking from their family and friends.
But purple sweet potato Kit Kats? I guess it’s the thought that counts.