Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Daigaku Imo (Japanese Candied Sweet Potato) KitKat


This bar is another adaptation of a Japanese treat to KitKat form. The last time I tried one of these adaptations, it was a disaster. However, I think it's difficult to really spoil sweet potato. The worst that Nestlé Japan could do is likely make it anemic in flavor and overly sweet. That is their usual means of failing rather than making something utterly awful.


This bar was introduced in January and clearly plays to high school kids. As some may have read on Wikipedia, Japanese KitKats are often given to kids studying for or taking entrance exams because the phrase "kitto katsu" (which roughly translates to "you will succeed/win") resembles the name of the bar. It's a way of wishing one luck or offering encouragement in candy form. This one is more closely marketed at such kids because "daigaku" means "university" ("imo" means potato). The food this was modeled after, the candied sweet potato dish called daigaku imo, was named that way because it was popular in university towns. If the name isn't enough to convince you that this is targeted at such kids, the fact that there's a picture on the back of the hat commonly worn with high school boys' uniforms is a giveaway.


This bar is constructed with a variety of flavors. The coating is sweet potato chocolate. The creme between the wafers is soy sauce powder, sweet potato powder, and black sesame powder. It smells heavily of sweet potato with a hint of black sesame. The first bite tastes like sweet potato cake with an aftertaste of black sesame. The next few bites reveal a lovely complex mix of the sweet and the savory with the soy and black sesame underscoring the sweet potato chocolate coating.

This is a very good approximation of the candied sweet potatoes and a great tasting bar. This is by far one of the best limited edition KitKats I've tried. I think they balanced the savory aspects with the sweet ones exceptionally well. The nice thing about it is that, while it's very good, it's not the sort of thing you want to scarf down. It's more in line with a delicacy you enjoy and savor, then can wait to enjoy again.

This bar is also reviewed at Sweet Pursuits.

13 comments:

Kelly said...

Yum!! I love daigaku imo!! I want to try these... :)

Kelly said...

I've just seen a whole new world of kit kat's on this fellow's ebay store.

Hokkaido Roasted Corn Kit Kat
Hokkaido Baked Potato Kit Kat
Watermelon Kit Kat
Kokutou Kinako (black sugar soy bean)
Kobe Pudding Caramel

wow! :)
http://stores.ebay.com/napaJapan-Candy-and-Bento_Kit-Kat_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZ1QQfsubZ21263144QQftidZ2QQpZ2QQtZkm

I have to buy some! :) Can't imagine baked potato kit kat! What next, pizza kit kat, french fries, steak? anything's possible!

Orchid64 said...

I think Nestle Japan is out of control. I realized I can never review all of the KitKats from Japan, though I guess I can try. ;-)

Sherry said...

I just saw these in the store today and was wondering if you would review them. LOL!

Yes, Nestle Japan - totally out of control, but you know the fickle market here.

Orchid64 said...

There are two things that will always suck me in - sweet potato and chestnut. Fortunately for me, there's generally a plethora of both types of items around to sample. :-)

At least this one was a winner!

Thanks for your comment!

ebidebby said...

Interesting, interesting. Another person I know tried this and didn't like it. I love daigaku imo, so I think I would like it.

I actually have Roasted Corn and Baked Potato KitKats coming to me soon!!

Helen said...

My husband brought back the Tohoku special KitKat's last week from Fukushima. They were Edamame flavoured and were surprisingly nice. I haven't tried the sweet potato ones. I'm not a huge fan of sweet potatoes.

(( K@Y )) said...

Wooo love to try this flavor but yet to see it in stores. Can't wait..hehe

Girl Japan said...

I am a huge fan if daigaku imo, in fact I love when they knock of a % in the evening... I am a sucker for these, crisp on the outside, soft and sweet... but KIT KAT... oh my gosh!

Do they favor the daigaku imo flavour?

CrackerLilo said...

I love daigaku imo, too. All things sweet potato, really. I can't wait for my Japanese snack connection to bring us some of these!

Orchid64 said...

CrackerLilo: "Japanese snack connection" makes it all sound pretty elicit. ;-)

Thanks for reading and posting!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this blog. I just finished eating one of these and my friends thought I was making it up. Now I have proof. It was oishii!

Orchid64 said...

Hi, anonymous, and thanks for reading and commenting. If your friends knew Japanese KitKats better, they'd know very little is out of the realm of possibility!