In Japan, these black buns have KISS marks
By JAMES KIMBER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 27, 2015
TOKYO — Ahead of the band’s 40th anniversary world tour, hot KISS buns hit store shelves at Circle K and Sunkus convenience stores throughout Japan on Feb. 27.
Officially named Spicy Chili Tomatoman, the KISS-inspired steamed buns are somewhat black from the now trendy bamboo charcoal smoke and boast a bright red “Hotter Than Hell” filling of tomato sauce, chili and jalapeno.
Unlike Burger King’s gimmicky and weird Black Burger, these limited-edition buns are almost certainly going to be a hit in Japan especially since KISS still has a large cult following here. With only 300,000 buns available nationwide in their roughly 6,300 locations, each store has a limited quantity.
The Sunkus, pronounced “thanks” as it would sound with a Japanese accent, location we visited is right outside the Seibutachikawa Station in Tachikawa, Japan. Though it was early in the afternoon, only two of the eight cooked that day were still available.
Like the Black Burger’s bun, this bamboo charcoal-smoked bun is not black at all, but a strange greenish gray shade with weird-looking greenish gray air bubbles. The outside of the bun is also branded with one of four logos inspired by the face paint of each classic rocker. While probably quite spicy for Japanese taste, our foreign and worldly taste buds said it’s basically canned spaghetti sauce with a couple of Taco Bell’s Fire sauce packets mixed in.
For 100 yen (about 85 cents), it’s actually not as bad as it looks, but it’s certainly not good either. Fortunately, convenience stores in Japan have quite the selection of hot and cold coffees, both canned and fresh, to cleanse the palette, and that’s exactly what I did right after KISSing my black bun.
Sunkus officially says the buns go on sale March 1 through March 9, though many locations in Tokyo were already selling them on Feb. 27. Circle K locations started selling them Feb. 24.