Everything You Need To Know About Japan's Mountain Dew Inspired Cheetos

Why settle for cheese and wine when you can have cheese and Mountain Dew? If you think the pairing doesn't make much sense, the soda folks beg to disagree. Just take a peek into the Official Mountain Dew Cookbook, and you'll find a plethora of likeminded recipes, from Mountain Dew Grilled Cheese to Mountain Dew Mozzarella Bites coated in Flamin' Hot Cheetos, and even a Mountain Dew Cheesecake (via Insider). 

Of course, those don't even stand a chance compared to Mountain Dew Cheetos — it's not a recipe from the cookbook, but rather the result of a 2014 collaboration between PepsiCo and Frito Lay Japan (via Food Beast). Unfortunately the snack has never been distributed in the US, and was only available for a limited time in Japan, but that doesn't mean it didn't quickly become a fan favorite. 

Following the commercial success of Mystery Doritos in 2008 (the flavor of which was later revealed to be Mountain Dew) as well as Pepsi Cheetos in 2013 (via USA Today), Mountain Dew Cheetos soon began appearing on the shelves of Japanese grocery stores the following year, and was well sought after by avid Dew drinkers outside of Japan, too, despite ultimately receiving mixed reviews.

Mountain Dew Cheetos left out the iconic orange dust

Cheetos are known for their bright orange cheese dust — or red-colored dust, if they're Flamin' Hots. But as Snaxtime described, Mountain Dew Cheetos instead are "ghostly colored" with a white coating on the corn crisps. Described in the article as having an "odd flavor," this Cheeto dust isn't as cheesy as a the traditional kind, but is rather more tangy and citrusy, like Mountain Dew. Even the soft drink's characteristically artificial-tasting sweetness is there, along with a soda-like effervescence when eaten. 

Despite this airy mouthfeel, this snack maintains the texture of the crunchy variety of Cheetos rather than the Puffs variety, making for an intriguing balance of texture and flavor. According to Snaxtime's review of the product, "Surely it tasted a bit like Mountain Dew, but overall there were so many flavors going on that ultimately we were left confused by the strange Japanese snack."

Salty lemon-lime chips may be an acquired taste, as evidenced by the discontinuation of the product — but clearly there's still a market for the flavor, as Cheetos has since concocted a bizarre Mountain Dew Mule cocktail as seen on the brand's official website. So while you won't see Mountain Dew Cheetos on the shelves of the chip aisle at your local grocery store, with all the cheese and soda collabs between happening, it wouldn't come as a surprise if this snack pairing started to gain more popularity Stateside in the future.