Pocky are small, thin pretzel sticks about 6 inches long that come dipped at the end in an assortment of delicious frosting flavors. The balance between flavoring and stick-thing is terribly addictive, and must be consumed to be truly understood. A pity it isn't manufactured in North America.

The Glico corporation first launched Pocky in 1965, under the name "Chocoteck". Sold originally at 60 ¥ per pack (approximately 46 cents in the US), Pocky's success astounded even Glico, with sales in the first two years reaching 30 billion ¥ (about 235 million US dollars), over three times the estimate. To give some scope of the success, that would be about 685 thousand boxes sold every day, in just the first year of production. That's a lot of Pocky.

Chocoteck quickly became the modern Pocky, supposedly due to the "pockin" sound the sticks made when munched. The revolutionary success of Pocky demanded a second flavor, and Almond Pocky was released in 1971. Strawberry was released six years later, and now Glico puts a new variety out on the market every month. Oddly enough, new Pocky flavors aren't created via the American tradition of six months in group testing, they are marketed directly to small, rural areas where they either survive and are "promoted" to the urban marketplace, or become unpopular and are discontinued. This has created a sort of mystique among devoted Pocky fans, who will travel out of Tokyo in groups in order to get ahold of such rare Pocky as grape-flavor (found in Nagano), or the prized Giant Yubari Melon Pocky (Hokkaido).

While those of us in the United States previously had to pay exorbitant import prices for our precious Pocky, it is now available for 99 cents a box in the chocolate and strawberry flavors at most asian grocery stores. However, don't try the asian food section of your local supermarket, as they tend to charge around twice the cost of Pocky elsewhere. Also be on the lookout for Pocky imitations, such as the amusingly-named "Chocky", or "Pikey".

Reportedly, over 100 varieties of Pocky have existed over the years. Research has yielded the following flavors (in alphabetical order):

  • Almond
  • Almond Crush
    • Anglaise
    • Chocolate
    • Plain
  • Azuki
  • Butter
  • Cereal
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate-Banana
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Coconut
  • G Berry
  • Giant
    • Chocolate
    • Chocolate-Banana
    • Double-Chocolate
    • Melon
    • Strawberry
  • Grape
  • Green Tea
  • Hello Kitty (Strawberry)
  • Honey
  • Marble
    • Black Bitter Chocolate
    • Custard
    • Mocha
    • Royal Milk Tea
  • "Men's" (Dark Chocolate)
  • Melon
  • Milk
  • Peach
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin
  • Purin (Pudding)
  • Strawberry
  • Tsubu-Tsubu Strawberry (Contains little strawberry bits)
  • White Mousse
The box of strawbery pocky sitting on my desk contains a small blurb telling me that it's "The Super Snack that's great anytime, anywhere". It also gives the following nutritional information:

Net Weight 1.4 oz

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 47.5g --------------------------------------- Calories 230 Amount Per Serving % Daily Value Total Fat 9g 14% Cholestrol 0mg 0% Total Carbohydrate 34g 11% Dietary Fiber <1g; 3% Protein 4g 8% --------------------------------------- Vitamin A 15 IU Vitamin C 0.4 mg Vitamin B1 7% Vitamin B2 36% Calcium 5% Iron 5% ---------------------------------------
Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Sugar, Tapioca Flour, Palm Oil, Milk, Salt, Artificial Strawberry Flovor (sic)

Some information taken from http://www.tokyoclassified.com/biginjapanarchive299/259/biginjapaninc.htm

Pock"y (?), a. [Compar. Pockier (?); superl. Pockiest.]

Full of pocks; affected with smallpox or other eruptive disease.

Bp. Hall.


© Webster 1913.

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