When it comes to Japanese sweets, there are few that are more immediately recognizable than Pocky. Delicate biscuit cookies covered in sweet chocolate and sold in iconic flip-top boxes, Pocky can be found in every Japanese supermarket and convenience store. Further, almost every store selling Japanese imported goods around the world will at least have a few selections of Pocky flavors. What is the secret behind the popularity of this humble sweet?
Pocky arrived to the scene in 1966. Created by Koma Yoshiaki, Pocky takes its name from the sound of the characteristic “snap” of the sweet in the Japanese language, which is described aspokkiri(ポッキリ). Produced by the Glico Candy Corporation, Pocky ballooned in popularity not only in Japan but across south and east Asia as well. Even today, new and unique flavors are being produced not only for the Japanese market but also for many other countries in the Asian region.
Basic Pocky is a relatively simple product consisting of just cookie and chocolate. However, that simplicity is what allows Pocky to get creative and try new combinations. Perpetually popular flavors of Pocky include vibrantly green matcha and vividly pink and red speckled strawberry Pocky! Personally, my go-to flavor of Pocky is always the Almond Crush variety, which is a bit less streamlined than standard Pocky and looks more like a lumpy baseball bat. Delicious chocolate mixed with crushed almonds, you can almost always find this variety of Pocky.
Rare, regional varieties of Pocky can be found if you are willing to do a little traveling. If you find yourself in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido, you can sample melon-flavored Pocky made in honor of the town of Yubari, which is famous for the delicious (and expensive!) melons grown there. Similarly, if you are exploring western Japan and stop by Miyazaki prefecture, you can enjoy refreshing yuzu-flavored Pocky. Yuzu features heavily in many Japanese snacks, and these tart lemony Pocky will stay with you long after you finish the package.
There are always new flavors and combinations of Pocky arriving and keeping up with each new addition can be a full-time job, even if you live in Japan! So take it easy, open up a new package of Pocky, and relax with one of the most iconic Japanese sweets of all time.
About the author:
Michael is originally from Chicago, IL in the United States, but has lived in Japan for seven years in Niigata and Hokkaido. He is an avid home chef, baker, and coffee enthusiast, but his one true love is ramen. Ever in pursuit of the perfect bowl of noodles, you can always find him by listening for the tell-tale slurp of ramen being enjoyed!