It’s no secret the Japan is home to a vast array of flavors for the popular chocolate covered wafer. From Grape, Chili, and Wasbi flavors to bake-able Custard Pudding Kit Kats, there’s a seemingly never-ending stream of possible varieties for the popular sweet snack.
This time we’ve stumbled upon some Zunda Flavored Kit Kats. After a brief explanation on what zunda is for those of us not schooled in Tohoku region cuisine, an attempt will be made at describing how these deceptively deep candies taste.
Zunda is a paste made from ground beans which are then lightly sweetened. Usually edamame (soybeans) are used but other types of bean have also been selected depending on the season such as black soybeans or fava beans (though sadly lacking a nice Chianti).
It is often served atop a gelatinous rice snack known as mochi for a mellow but deeply flavored snack. The taste can be described as not strong but fills your mouth with a soft flavor that’s hard to pin down like many Japanese snacks are known to do.
The food is said to have originated from the Tohoku area of Japan most notably Sendai City, which is why if you happen to be in the area you should also be able to find a box of Zunda Kit Kats.
■ Taste test
Taking the first bite into one of these bars there wasn’t any big taste sensation to be had. It didn’t taste like regular Kit Kats at all but I didn’t taste anything uniquely outstanding either. It was very sweet and kind of chocolately, but more like white chocolate I suppose. However, it was more than tasty enough, and I didn’t hesitate to unwrap a second and third bar in quick succession. For science.
I gave one to a Japanese friend of mine who has a more sophisticated palate for Japanese food. She said it did taste like zunda but a little sweeter because it was mixed with chocolate rather than mochi. I asked what about it tasted like zunda but she just said it was “moyamoya” (hazy or foggy). That didn’t really make sense to me so I bit down on a fourth bar to try and understand. That and because they were really good.
After eating about five bars I was about to give up. Just then I reached for my cup of coffee to wash them down. However, when I drank the coffee I was surprised that it tasted oddly different. Somehow I could the taste of roasted beans of the coffee was much more distinct than before eating the Kit Kats.
My friend explained: “See, coffee’s not moyamoya. You can taste it clearly and sharply because the beans are roasted. Other bean foods are moyamoya.” That kind of cleared things up, but my simple ketchup-loving sensibilities still had a hard time comprehending this level of subtlety in food. I gave up and went about my day.
Then, what must have been around 30 minutes later, I felt an odd taste emerge from the back of my mouth. I could distinctly sense that savory flavor that I had in so many izakaya (drinking establishments). It was edamame. I guess all of these small experiences together were what makes up a moyamoya taste. I could be wrong but I still felt somewhat enlightened by these candy bars. Thanks Kit Kat!
Zunda Photo: Wikipedia – Σ64