The weirdest Japanese snack flavours that no one ever asked for

From chocolate shrimp crackers to tomato-flavoured lattes, these are the most challenging flavour combos to hit konbini

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen

We love our konbini snacks as much as the next person, maybe even a little more. From the creamiest treats in the freezer section to instant ramen produced by Michelin-starred ramen joints, a trip to the nearest convenience store for a snack is always a tantalising highlight to any day.

On most occasions, new and exotic flavours that come in seasonally, like sakura chiffon cake Oreos, are cause for immediate purchase. Other times, they’re shocking enough to fuel your worst nightmares. We’ve tried some of these flavour abominations so you will never have to – if they ever make it back onto the shelves again. Here’s a look back at some of the konbini snacks guaranteed to make your stomach churn.

Chocolate kappa ebisen
Photo: Lotte

Chocolate-covered shrimp crackers

Sometimes, a snack is not greater than the sum of its parts. In this bizarre collaboration between Japan’s much-loved chocolate bar and shrimp cracker, Lotte and Calbee presented us with the abomination of the chocolate-coated Kappa Ebisen. This isn’t the first time that Calbee has gone down the sweet-salty route – Calbee’s Harajuku shop is popular for its freshly fried crisps covered in chocolate, but chocolate with seafood is where we draw the line. 

Banana Yoghurt Fanta
Photo: Coca-Cola Japan

Banana yoghurt Fanta 

What goes on in the decision-making meetings at Fanta, we may never know, but one can’t help but wonder what the thought process was behind this particular pitch. Yoghurt-flavoured drinks are usually a safe bet in Japan, where Yakult or nomu yoguruto (drinking yoghurt) is more popular than yoghurt itself, but trying to translate that into a soda is a different story. The addition of banana flavour only made matters worse, proving this was one Japan-exclusive flavour other countries don’t envy. 

Tomato Latte
Photo: Lawson

Tomato latte

From Japanese tea variations to cutesy foam art, lattes have been all the range in Tokyo for the past few years. Every coffee shop in the game knows to have at least a dozen variations of the humble latte on their menu to bring in the crowds – think matcha or wintery gingerbread spice – but konbini chain Lawson decided to go in a different direction by offering a limited-time tomato latte. The drinks were only available iced, as they were a summer exclusive, and thankfully disappeared by autumn.  

Mayonaise Ice cream
Photo: Kaila Imada

Mayonnaise ice cream 

Japanese mayonnaise has just the right amount of tanginess – if you’ve lived here long enough, you’ll want to put it on everything from fried chicken to pizza. But not even the world’s best mayo could justify the confusion that was the mayonnaise-flavoured ice cream bar. The ice cream was coated in something that resembled a white chocolate shell, but its creamy centre left a lingering vinegary aftertaste that you couldn’t shake from your memory no matter how hard you tried.

Napolitan ice cream
Photo: Akagi

Napolitan ice bar 

Gari Gari-kun popsicles are as cheap as they are versatile. The popsicles will cool you down in the summer, but also make an excellent addition to at-home cocktails. The brand’s most iconic bar is probably its sky-blue soda popsicle, but every season sees new flavours in freezers.

While we’re normally on board with these time-limited offerings (like the summer-only mint choc chip), some items have been downright confusing. The Napolitan Gari Gari-kun bar, for instance, was one left untouched by even the morbidly curious. A popsicle inspired by a tomato-based pasta with onion and green peppers? Thanks, but no thanks. The same goes for the tamagoyaki version, though at least that one wasn’t hiding a strange glob of gelatin in its centre. 


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