Traditional Japanophiles enjoy partaking in the hanami cherry blossom festivities every spring, while pop-culture Japanophiles can’t get enough of the seemingly endless array of flavors that Kit Kat keeps rolling out here year-round.
While pigging out – er, I mean doing research – for a sakura (cherry tree) themed food article last year, I found some overlap between between those two interests in the form of sakura-flavored Kit-Kats:
If you’re on a low budget or have to buy something at the last minute, stop by a convenience store or train station kiosk to pick up a 105 yen packet of sakura-themed Kit Kat balls. They don’t actually contain any flowers or leaves, but they come in seasonal pink and white colors with a cherry blossom printed on the package along with the slogan, “Kitto, sakura saku” (Sakura will surely bloom). The candy is meant to encourage school entrance exam-takers [Japan’s school year starts in April], as “Sakura have bloomed” is a standard expression for examination success.
I have also heard, but cannot confirm, that some Japanese trial lawyers try to cheer up their clients with a gift of Kit Kats because the name sounds like “kitto katsu,” which means, “We will surely win.”
Those zany chocolatiers at Nestle have done something a little different this year, with a sakura-matcha flavor (cherry blossom and strong green tea) among their latest offerings. Other flavors currently listed on the Japan Kit-Kat site include maple, banana, caramel, plum soda, roasted sweet potato and even soy sauce.
The full text of my sakura snack story can be found at the Singapore foodie website soshiok.com, which has added some information about restaurants in Singapore that serve sakura dishes.
Here in Japan, I found the biggest variety of sakura snacks and drinks, including a pulpy and delicious amazake beverage, at Kaldi Coffee Farm, a chain of imported food shops that, like the veggie-rich buffets in my previous post , has seen its number of outlets grow along with the shopping mall boom of the past decade. According to Kaldi’s website, this year’s hanami-season product lineup includes sakura wine, sakura tea, sakura baum kuchen cake, sakura dorayaki cakes and sakura sembei rice crackers crackers.