Japanese Snacks: Pocky

[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

Like monster movies, martial arts, and cartoon pornography, the Japanese are the only ones in the world who have managed to refine and re-imagine snack foods in a way that can only be described as art. Whether they're wacky, cute, insane, or just plain delicious, we've got a major thing for Japanese snacks at SEHQ.

A few weeks back, I took a trip out to Mitsuwa in Edgewater—the largest Japanese supermarket in the United States—where I went on a minor shopping spree and bought every single candy they have on sale.

Don't know the difference between a Crunky and a Meltykiss? Never had your mouth puckered by a Super Lemon? Not to worry. Just follow along as we eat our way through our Japanese candy box over the next few weeks, and you'll be snacking like the pros. First up: Pocky.

"there's well over a dozen varieties in all shapes, sizes, and colors (OK, they're mostly brown and beige)."

As a kid, I'm pretty sure only the chocolate and strawberry versions of these cream-coated biscuit sticks existed. These days, there's well over a dozen varieties in all shapes, sizes, and colors (OK, they're mostly brown and beige).

The classic little-kid way to eat them is to try and suck all the chocolate off of them without breaking the biscuit. It's harder than it seems, and as a kid, I'd often get stuck debating whether or not to use the tongue-melt technique, or revert to the tooth-scrape.

My reward for successfully completing the Pocky-Chocolate-Lick challenge? Another Pocky. If I failed and the Pocky broke mid-process, I'd just eat it and try again with a new one. Either way, I never didn't finish a box of Pocky in one sitting.

Word of warning: There are a number of Pocky imitators out there. For your protection, we've identified them in the slideshow.

Stay tuned for the rest of the Japanese Snacks series in coming weeks.