The Snack Report: Cookies & Cream Pocky
Posted by Erik
I’m gonna let everyone in on a little secret here. I spent a large chunk of my childhood and early teens as a total weeaboo. You know, those dopey, white kids that obsess over everything Japanese because it’s the number one source of anime and video games in their narrow, youthful scope of the world. Fortunately I outgrew that archetype, and as an adult I have a modest appreciation for Asian culture in a more subtle, grown-up way. That said, I do have a soft spot for wacky Japanese stuff and when Meg and I hit up Asian markets once in a while to get groceries, we do end up with our fair share of zany foods and snacks. See: everyone’s favorite stick-based snake, Pocky.
If you’re not aware, Pocky are little biscuit stick things that taste similar to unsalted pretzels that originally hail from Japan. They’re acclaimed for the same reason that Pop-Tart (and now Oreo’s weirdly) are, in that they have a ton of interesting flavor editions. Now-a-days they’re pretty easy to find, but I remember back when I was a kid in the ’90s, they were a magical item that you only got from your friend’s super-cool uncle who traveled to Japan frequently. Since then, the makers, Glico, have expanded to the U.S. and manufacture them here as well. That’s good and bad since on one hand we get easier access to them, but on the other hand the quality seems like it’s gone downhill for some varieties since they began making them for western audiences.
Recently we found this interesting variety, Cookies & Cream Pocky. We’ve discussed cookies & cream as a flavor before, and generally I’m a fan of it. Sadly with these Pocky though, the whole decline in quality I just mentioned really overshadows everything here. For starters, the cookie/cream flavor that we’ve all become accustomed to from other foods, just really isn’t there. Instead you get this greasy, generic sweet sensation that you can tell is probably the result of some of the more questionable ingredients in there. These include something called “papain” (which I actually had to look up) among others. Apparently papain is some sort of latex-like protein compound processed from papaya fruits, sometimes used in toothpastes, tenderizing tough meats, and cell culture preparations (???). Pocky from Japan is by no means a health food, but the ingredients are a bit more familiar at least.
For the record, “papain” sounds like the name of a papaya themed super villain, and I will never forget about it now.
Like I said, Pocky is junk food and a junk food is junk food no matter where you go. But the varieties of Pocky I’ve eaten in the past at least tasted good. And they at least featured real chocolate as an ingredient, in the chocolate cream mixture. These cookies & cream Pocky just really aren’t worth your trouble to look for. They might pass as good for children, but personally I can’t get over the overly-artificial taste they have. There’s not even a hint of chocolate in there… it’s just sweet, fake creamy flavor… Ugh. Save yourself the trouble and just have some Oreos with milk.
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