The Real Reason Pocky Is Called Pocky (and More Pocky Facts)

There’s a lot of imported treats from foreign countries that have become extremely popular in the U.S. Haribo gummy bears from Germany (the best gummy in our books), Ferero Rocher from Italy, even Godiva chocolate from Belgium—they have all had massive crossover success in America. But no imported snack is more fun to eat than Pocky from Japan. This snack has a cult-like status among certain groups, but it’s time for it to take its place on the International Snack Pedestal.

What is Pocky? What are Pocky sticks?

Pocky is a long, thin biscuit, similar in shape to Italian grissini. Traditionally, it is dipped in chocolate on one end while the other end is left bare. This allows the snacker to eat the Pocky stick without getting any of that pesky chocolate on their hands; it’s like having a built-in handle. Pocky is packaged in a long thin box that has about 30 sticks in it, chocolate side down, of course. This makes Pocky the perfect sharing snack—you can pass the box around and people can pull a stick out like they are selecting a colored pencil from a box.

Where is pocky from?

Pocky originated in Japan, arguably the Kingdom of Fun Snacks. In 1966, the Japanese company Ezaki Glico started hand-dipping their thin biscuits into chocolate and putting them in their iconic red box. They got the name “Pocky” from the onomatopoeic Japanese word pokkiri, which is said to be the sound the biscuit makes when you crunch into it. 

The product was instantly popular in Japan, so much so that Ezaki Glico had to automate their dipping process. They soon began experimenting with different flavors as well: First there was an almond-flavored Pocky in 1971, followed by a strawberry-flavored variety in 1977. 

Pocky popularity soon spread throughout most of east Asia, including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore, among others. In Europe, the global food company Mondalez, which also owns Sour Patch Kids and the Cadbury Company, license Pocky from Ezaki Glico and sell it under the brand name Mikado. It can be found in grocery stores in over a dozen European countries. And in the United States, Pocky is sold in Asian specialty markets and in many other grocery stores like Kroger, Costco, and Walmart.

How many Pocky flavors are there?

On the Pocky website, there are currently five flavors available: chocolate, strawberry, cookies n cream, matcha green tea, and banana (which has a chocolate biscuit; the rest have a regular biscuit). These flavors are mainstays and the ones most likely to pop up at your local grocery store. However, because Pocky has expanded throughout the globe, there are a lot of regional flavors. They also create seasonal flavors for certain times of the year that correspond to popular celebrations.

Past pocky flavors have included honey, kiwifruit mango, lychee, coffee, sweet potato, pineapple, pumpkin, and dozens of others, most of which were only available in Japan or other Asian countries. They’ve also created a bittersweet chocolate version called Men’s Pocky (not just for men, of course),  a version with extra fancy icing called Decorer Pocky, and an extra-thick icing version called Mousse Pocky. There are so many variations that, if you are a big Pocky fan, it’s worth traveling to Japan just to try all of them. It’s a Pocky paradise.

How do you pronounce pocky?

Paa-kee. It’s exactly like hockey, but with a P.

best pocky flavors

Best Pocky Flavors

Now that you know all about Pocky, find out what the Pocky flavors are. We snacked on stick after stick to find the tastiest Pocky flavors

About the Author

Luke Field

Luke Field is a writer and actor originally from Philadelphia. He was the former Head Writer of branded content at CollegeHumor and was also a contributing writer and actor to the CollegeHumor Originals cast. He has extensive improv and sketch stage experience, performing both at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and with their Touring Company. In addition to writing, he also works as a Story Producer, most recently on season 4 of Accident, Suicide, or Murder on Oxygen. Keep your eyes peeled for his brief but impactful appearance as Kevin, the screaming security guard, in the upcoming feature The Disruptors, directed by Adam Frucci.

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