Today, I had Pocky.
Yeah, I've been called something that resembles that and I do indeed like Pokemon, but I love Pocky.
For those of you who have never had Pocky, it's essentially a Japanese snack food produced by the Ezaki Glico company. It's a a biscuit stick coated usually with chocolate or strawberry.
And that's all I had ever had until today, when all of a sudden a plethora of taste was afforded me.
My friend at work, Cathy, is a cute Chinese woman who is a self-proclaimed Japanophile. She likes Japan.
Yesterday, she dropped by my desk as she does everyday to chat about work and other mundane things like my life. More often than I care to admit, she has something for me... usually it's some baked goodie she has concocted, or she offers me candies (it would be impolite to refuse), but this time, she shows me a box of Pocky with a flavor I had not seen before.
This is Japanese fine grain green tea powder that would be used in the very posh Japanese tea ceremonies. I partook of one of those ceremonies in Kyoto once with Ashley... the whole turning of the bowl, small sips, before downing the whole thick, frothy, gloopy thing... and while honored to have been invited to partake in this ceremony, I hate having to follow rules all the time.
And brother, Japan is full of rules. I don't mind the rules of society and even high society, but dammit, when it comes to eating and drinking, I'm not one to stand on ceremony. Just get out of my way and let this boy eat and drink to his heart's content, because both should be fun occupations.
So, while I appreciate the solemn tea ceremony, I should freely admit that I did not care for the green, grassy bitterness of matcha green tea. Blech.
Still... I was curious to taste what this Matcha-flavored Pocky might taste like. Pocky, at least the chocolate and strawberry flavors I noshed on once a month, were sweet. Surely this Matcha Pocky could only follow suit?
But I asked Cathy if I could take a photo of the box - for posterity and this blog - and she readily agreed even though it would mean waiting a day until I brought my camera in to work.
She's so freaking nice, that she agreed without hesitation.
So on Friday, I brought in the camera, snapped of a photo of the outer box. She then opened the box and I noticed the cool looking inner package that held five sticks of green-covered Pocky.
You can see the inner package here - and no, you can't see the color of the Pocky, but I knew what it would look like from the outer packaging - what with me being a so-called packaging expert by those in the industry. I am, but I'm not.
That's her tape dispenser (thanks Vincent) and postcard of a dog behind the lovely flexible foil film pack... that really does give one the impression that you are opening up a high-quality pouch of matcha green tea. I think it was a foil... dammit... stupid memory.
So... we opened it up. I quickly took one offered me and bit into it. Hmm... the same wonderful crunchy biscuit... and that same horrible green, grassy smell and taste of that ceremonial green tea. Blech.
Needless to say, with the face I offered up, she wouldn't allow me the chance to be rude(r) and didn't ask if I wanted more.
My buddy Stewart - he tried one - and loved it. Cathy... she loved it. I guess I'm uncouth. I lack couth. Is that even a word? My spellchecker doesn't like that word.
So... armed with Japanese snack food on my breath than reminded me I needed to cut my lawn, I went out at lunch and bought my eel - unagi sushi - and lo and behold... they had a new flavor of Pocky. Maybe not new as in just available, but new to me.
This one was - see above - an Almond Crush flavor with a chocolate coating. Okay... almonds can be bitter, but that chocolate will surely cover that up... and you know what... it did! Yum!
I bought a large box containing three packages of five Pocky sticks.
Now, of course you would expect me to give a pack to share with Cathy and maybe Stewart.. but no... I greedily ate all three packs - all 15 sticks - by myself. It was like it was a freshly nuked bag of popcorn. All mine and no need to share.
I told you to get out of my way and let me eat.
Shocked at my greedy piggishness? I was. But I think I'll get Cathy something nice - something special - this weekend. Fair is fair, after all.
Anyhow... in the photo above, you can see the cool inner packaging of the chocolate Almond Crush Pocky. Notice how you can see the snacks through this clear flow-wrapped flexible plastic film pack? Do you know why you can here, but not for the Matcha variety? Because they know it looks as good as it tastes.>
That Matcha... if you already know it's matcha-flavored, you aren't buying it for its superb, sweet taste, so there's no need to show off the sickly grass green color of the Pocky. Blech.
Anyhow... for a better listing of some of the other Pocky flavors, visit its Wikipedia site: HERE.