Sunday, February 12, 2012

Word of the Week: Pocky

Pocky (also known as Mikaido and Rocky) is a Japanese snack food. I will grudgingly explain it as a biscuit stick covered in cream, but I don't like using the word "biscuit". In the US, biscuits are little round baked goods, not sticks. However, pocky sticks have no US equivalent.

In the lower left you can see a heart.
They come in a large variety of flavors ranging from bitter-sweet chocolate Men's Pocky to Almond Crush. To date, I have tried: Chocolate, Strawberry, Strawberry Bits, Giant Strawberry Bits, Vanilla, and Mixed Berry. There's a lot more flavors I've never even seen here, so I don't think I'll be able to try them all.

So far, my favorite is the Strawberry Bits Pocky. My sister recently picked up a Valentine's day themed box when we went Chibi Pa Sampler III. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Pocky sticks were actually heart-shaped! My photo doesn't really do it justice, but it was very cute in person.

There are three methods I know for buying Pocky: buying it at cons, buying it from the store, and buying it online.

If you're buying from a con, expect a limited selection. I seldom see more than the standard 3 flavors: Chocolate, Strawberry, and Strawberry Crush. Sometimes, you may get lucky and find an extra flavor, but this isn’t very likely. The prices vary by vender, but I never pay more than $3 a box at cons.

Since I live near a couple Asian food markets, it's fairly easy to buy Pocky. The selection is small as well, but far larger than at conventions. The downside is that it's slightly expensive. In my area, the price is typically $2 to $4 a box, depending on the flavor. Plain strawberry and chocolate are $2, and everything else is $3 or $4 (not including tax). Some normal supermarkets where I live have also begun stocking plain strawberry and chocolate pocky, but I’m not sure of the prices.

The last method –buying online— has the largest selection. The prices vary website to website, however, and you have to pay moderate - expensive shipping because it is a food item. You also run the risk of having melted stuck-together Pocky if you live in a hot area. It still tastes the same, but I hate having to break them apart after refrigerating them.

Whichever method you choose, it’s always best to shop around and weigh your options. If you are buying online, double check to make sure the website is legit before putting in your card info. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to explain how you got ripped off buying Japanese snacks unless you were buying H-Games, or shimapan, or something.

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