Bizarre Biscuits (that would be cookies for our American readers)

A quick follow up to Tuesday’s Ninja post today I am going to discuss.

NINJA BISCUITS!!!!

Oh yes!

There were a huge variety of different brands of ninja biscuit available in Iga, all basically the same thing. An incredibly, astoundingly hard biscuit covered in either ginger or seaweed (Japan has different ideas about what constitutes savoury).

How hard are they I hear you cry. So hard my friends that they come packaged with a tiny hammer.

A tiny hammer which incidentally is bloody useless for breaking the damn things.

Ostensibly these biscuits are really hard to prevent them from going stale and so a ninja can keep a stash of them to feed himself on dangerous missions.

Considering neither museum once mentioned these biscuits I’m going to treat this claim as, um, shall we say dubious. Nonetheless stick the word ninja in front of something and it automatically makes it 1000 times better in my world. I was powerless to resist the allure of ninja biscuits.

That said, they’re not very nice. Oh sure they taste nice, even with the inclusion of sweet seaweed, but it’s difficult to get too excited about eating something that could make passable tank armour. Honestly you have never eaten anything this hard. You may be thinking “oh ho Adam, I’ve eaten some pretty tough toffees in my time,” well not as hard as these biscuits you haven’t. I’m sure if pushed to it I could kill a man with one of these. Actually come to think of it maybe that’s why the ninja carried it around. Food and weaponry in one handy package; it’s dwarf bread from the Discworld books. Available for consumption in Japan, the land of no food taboos whatsoever.

In the world of more palatable confectionary we have two new offerings from Kit-Kat this week. Well newish.

The first is a Muscat of Alexandria Kit-Kat from the premier line. The premier line consists of incredibly pretentious packaging, within which are 2, single finger kit-kats which are slightly larger than the standard size and have very unusual flavours.

The Muscat of Alexandria is a white grape flavour rendered in slightly pale green chocolate. It smells, very, very strongly of grapes but also faintly of milkshakes. I’m not sure why it smells of milkshakes, possibly a shared gelatinous component but I do know that such an odour provides a torment for me. I gave up eating at fast food places about 5 years ago and milkshakes are the thing I miss more than anything.

The first taste of the Muscat kit-kat is surprisingly bland. It doesn’t really taste of anything other than vaguely waxy. After a few chews though the grape flavour is really, really strong. Much stronger than I’ve come to expect from these kit-kats. Obviously it lacks the sourness of a proper grape and I think without that it’s way too sickly sweet. It probably needs some salt (like the watermelon) to just cut the sugar down a bit and make it a nicer overall experience.

Next up we have…. Untranslateable flavour. I’m pretty sure the hiragana says kooji (pronounced ko-O-jee) but I can’t even hazard a guess at the kanji. The picture on the packet seems to indicate English (or if you prefer Black) tea but the Japanese for that is koocha.

A quick taste check confirms that this is indeed English tea. This is not a new flavour for kit-kat. I had an English tea kit-kat last year as part of the premier line (which was very strong and unmistakeably a cuppa). These are part of the kit-kat mini line, apparently meant to be eaten alongside a cup of Japanese tea. Japanese tea is notoriously bitter and it customary to eat really very sweet cakes and biscuits with it to counteract some of the bitterness. Consequently the tea flavour is a bit weaker but the product is much sweeter. It isn’t nearly as sweet as the Muscat though. In fact I really quite like these. They taste like what a kit-kat tastes like after it’s been dipped in tea (but with a still crisp texture). However, for the life of me I cannot figure out what the market for these is? Surely they can’t complement a cup of green tea, because, well, they taste like black tea. And eating them with black tea would just be redundant. They’re too small to be eaten on their own so I ask you Nestle Japan, what are they for?

Oh and before you ask, yes, Japan does produce matcha and green tea flavoured kit-kats too. In fact I’ve eaten them and I do intend to get around to reviewing them on this site eventually.

Well that’s all for now. Next week I’ll probably get some of my Tokyo trip photos posted (finally) and we’re all going to learn about Japanese politics. Don’t miss out.

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