Sometimes when you visit one of the Asian supermarkets in Newcastle it can be a bit of an overwhelming experience for those unaccustomed to the brands and the types of food available. In this series of articles we hope to profile some of the Japanese products available in Newcastle’s Chinatown, we have previously covered the drink Ramune.
Pocky (ポッキー) was introduced in 1966 by the Japanese company ‘Ezaki Gilco’ and is supposedly onomatopoetically named after the sound that the biscuit makes when you bite into it. Pocky is a thin biscuit finger covered for the most part in a flavoured chocolate. Pocky is a good place to start your quest into Japanese sweets as it has a very familiar taste to those unaccustomed to Asian sweets and, more importantly, Pocky is damn delicious!
You may be thinking that Pocky sounds awfully familiar to the Mikado product line available in many UK supermarkets, and that’s because it is the same. In the UK and Europe it was deemed that Pocky needed a rebranding (which included an ad campaign featuring a woman accidently photocopying her genitalia, much to her bosses delight) and thus the Japanese Pocky biscuit became Mikado. So why should you bother buying Pocky instead of Mikado if it is essentially the same product?
Firstly Pocky is usually much cheaper than Mikado, selling from as low as 70 pence in the Asian supermarkets compared to the standard retail price of £1.35 for Mikado. Next, the variety in pack sizes of Pocky. From mini-packs all the way through to novelty sized jumbo packs (which make great gifts, by the way) are for sale in Chinatown. Finally, the flavours available! Mikado currently only has 5 varieties (milk/dark/white chocolate, hazelnut and Daim bar) where as you can seemingly find a different flavour in each store you visit! There are too many flavours to list here, but include milk, banana & chocolate, strawberry and green tea.
Pocky is one of those products that can be found in almost all of the Asian supermarkets, but they are easiest to find in 7Days, where the Pocky display is literally opposite the main door, Hiyou and Wing Hong Supermarket stock a respectable selection in their sweet isles as well. You may also find next to the Pocky display the ‘Pepero’ brand, this is a similar product of Korean origin.
Next time you are passing by, why not pick up some Pocky to have during your lunch break at work? Try to avoid photocopying your genitalia though…