What is Lightning Chocolate? Searching for Thunder and Lightning in the West
Last year, China Airlines began including a chocolate bar called Lightning Chocolate as one of their dessert options:
Starting April 4, I-Mei’s Lightning Chocolate will be one of the dessert choices aboard CAL flights. This is in addition to existing Taiwan pineapple cakes and Jiayi square cakes to allow passengers to sample Taiwanese delicacies carefully chosen by CAL.
On my short jaunt from Taipei to Hong Kong with the airline, we were given this chocolate bar on the return flight. I had never heard of “Lightning Chocolate”, so I didn’t have the highest of expectations for the snack-sized bar. Like many other of my Asian brethren, one bite of the crunchy, chocolate biscuit bar was all I needed. It was denser and more flavorful than a Kit Kat, it looked like a Whatchamacallit and when you bit into it, the cocoa from the bar came off. I was hooked. I asked the crew member for another and then asked my sister to grab two more.
Unfortunately, I was leaving the land that produces this snack bar. I had devoured one Lightning Chocolate in haste and had just three left I planned on rationing for the rest of my days since I had no idea how to procure more. Outside of the information about China Airlines adding it to their snack list, I couldn’t find very much information online or off about Lightning Chocolate.
With really no English-language information about the chocolate, I felt desperate. Ok, maybe I wasn’t desperate, but I had anxiety. Maybe I was sweating a little too, I don’t know.
Where There’s Lightning, There’s Thunder?
Eventually, I came across this blog post— that detailed how Lightning Chocolate was just a derivative, a “copycat” of a popular bar called Black Thunder created by Yuraku Seika, a Japanese baker.
You see, the popularity of the chocolate bar grew so fast that Yaraku was not able to keep up. In 2008, the demand for the bar far outreached the supply and the cravings of the population for the already popular snack bar skyrocketed.
A few years later, the appetite for the bar would spread to Taiwan via travels through Japan. Taiwanese loved Black Thunder bars so much that tourists would go to Japan and stock up to bring back. I-MEI Foods, the mega-food manufacturer in Taiwan, wanted to steal some of Black Thunder’s thunder. So they created their own version of Black Thunder, a less-sweet version suited more to Taiwanese tastes; and “Lightning Chocolate” was born.
I haven’t had the high honor and extreme pleasure of trying the original, but if Black Thunder is anything like Lightning Chocolate, I am not worried about it. Once I get back on American soil, the search for Thunder and Lightning will commence.