No matter where you are in the world, there’s a very good chance you’ve tried Pocky before! These crunchy biscuit sticks with chocolate coating were first launched in 1966 by the major confectionary Glico and quickly became a national favorite. Before long, Pocky had established itself abroad as an iconic Japanese snack, thanks in large part to its ambitious international expansion. These days, Pocky can be found on supermarket shelves in as many as 30 countries, including China, the Philippines, India, the United States, Canada, and much of Europe—where the chocolate biscuit stick continues to be marketed under the name “Mikado,” after a popular children’s game.
Even more than Pocky’s impressive international availability, Pocky distinguishes itself by its incredible range of varieties, with over 50 different flavors of Pocky to choose from. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the rare Pocky flavors that have made an impression as some of the best and tastiest of all Pocky flavors out there!
Before getting into Pocky’s more unusual varieties, let’s take a quick look at some of the most common flavors currently in circulation. The most readily available of all Pocky flavors by far are some of the first varieties Glico ever released, dating back to the early 1970s: the original trifecta of Almond, Chocolate, and Strawberry Pocky. By the 1980s, having established itself as a beloved Japanese candy, Pocky began to experiment with new and varied flavors, creating such favorites as Almond Crush Pocky, where crunchy roasted almonds are incorporated into the chocolate coating.
Some other classic Pocky flavors are more recent inventions, such as Matcha Green Tea Pocky, which combines powdered Japanese green tea with chocolate for a slightly bitter taste, and Cookies & Cream Pocky, which incorporates tasty cookie bits into the Pocky stick. Another popular and readily available flavor is Chocolate Banana Pocky, also a recent creation, where the chocolate biscuit stick is covered with a layer of banana-flavored coating, giving this snack a taste similar to a banana split.
Now that we’ve covered off Pocky’s classic flavors, let’s get into some of the rarer varieties of this famous chocolate snack: seasonal flavors, regional flavors, and special product lines.
Seasonality plays an important role in Japanese cuisine, and Pocky flavors are no exception to this rule! In spring, you can expect Sakura Pocky to hit the Japanese market—a gorgeous variation on the snack where each chocolate Pocky stick is dipped in pink sakura coating and dotted with salt—alongside a Honey Pocky variety with a sweet, floral flavor. In summer, meanwhile, Glico releases limited edition Pocky with a more tropical appeal, including such refreshing flavors as Coconut, Pineapple, Kiwi fruit, and Mango Pocky. For winter, you’ll find the limited edition “Kuchidoke” Pocky on the shelves, with a dark chocolate coating and dusting of cocoa powder, as well as the super-rich, melt-in-your-mouth Chocolate Butter Caramel flavor Pocky. Last but not least, fall is dominated by the creamy, orange Pumpkin Pocky variety. Whatever the weather, you can be sure there’s a limited edition seasonal Pocky flavor to match!
That’s right—just like other classic Japanese snacks such as umaibo and Kit Kats, Pocky also has a full range of regional flavors only available in certain prefectures and areas of Japan. Some of these include the Nagano Grape flavor, available only in the Japanese prefecture of Nagano, the citrus-flavored Kyushu Giant Mikan Pocky from the Kyushu region, and the Kyoto Powdered Tea Azuki Bean Pocky, flavored with the traditional taste of sweet red beans and Japanese tea and only available in Kyoto.
What’s more, unlike many other Japanese snacks that release local regional varieties, Pocky’s international popularity has made it possible for Glico to create flavors unique to specific global regions as well! One example of this is the Daim Pocky (or Mikado), which is only sold in Europe. where Daim chocolate bars are popular. Another European exclusive is Pocky Intense, which comes in two high-quality dark chocolate varieties: Hint of Salt, and Salted Caramel.
Finally, Pocky has also expanded its range through the creation of a number of specialised product lines. One of the most successful of these is the Mousse Pocky range, where the chocolate coating is extra thick and creamy, giving it a mousse-like texture. Within the Mousse line, you’ll find a subset of Pocky flavors, from classic flavors such as chocolate, matcha, strawberry, and white chocolate; to less common flavors such as mango, tiramisu, and royal milk tea. Then there’s the Dessert Pocky range, where each biscuit stick benefits from a double coating of chocolate cream for an extra indulgent flavor; Decorer Pocky, where the chocolate coating of the Pocky sticks is artfully decorated with a top-layer of colored icing; and Reverse Pocky, which flips the recipe so that the flavored coating is a filling encased in crispy biscuit—to name just a few!
Some varieties are more about size and shape than different flavor themes or textures. Pocky Midi is one such example: with this product line, the biscuit sticks are shorter but thinner, and coated with enough chocolate cream to give them a fluffy texture. Another popular variety in this category is the Heartful series, which capitalises on the Japanese association between love and pink fruits such as strawberries and cherries to make a romantic Pocky snack. In this line of Pocky, which comes in cherry and strawberry flavors, a groove is carved into the biscuit stick in order to make them heart shaped!
Pocky has certainly come a long way since its early days, when each Pocky stick had to be hand-dipped in chocolate before packaging! Now you can find an incredible range of Pocky available worldwide, catering to almost every flavor, texture, shape, and packaging you can imagine. While chocolate Pocky will always remain the classic flavor and a beloved favorite for many, Glico has released enough variety to encourage even the least adventurous of snackers to experiment. Wherever you live and whatever you are craving—Pocky is the perfect chocolate snack for the occasion.
Yen is a freelance writer and editor based in Tokyo, Japan. In their spare time, they enjoy playing video games with friends and experiencing all of the delicious traditional snacks and candy Japan has to offer!
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