Japan. Home of solar-powered cigarette lighters and wasabi-flavored beer.
Also home to Pocky, one of Japans most popular snacks.
Named for the sound (pock!
) it makes when you bite down, Pocky is a thin, wand-shaped cookie, coated in melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate. It was released in 1966 by a Japanese confectionary company called Glico, becoming an instant hit that racked up nearly $84 million (30 billion yen) in sales within two years.
A few years later, Almond Pocky debuted, followed by Strawberry Pocky. These days Pocky is sold worldwide in dozens of (often bizarre) flavors, from banana to green tea, from coconut to a delectable mousse. Some, like honey and sweet potato, are seasonal, while others are sold only in certain regions of Japan (grape in Nagano, wine in Kobe). And for Real Men: Mens Pocky, made with bittersweet chocolate.
Pocky's savory, crunchy cookie and silky sweet coating can make an addict out of almost anyone. The snack has spawned oodles of videos and fan sites; one even tracks sightings of new or hard-to-find flavors so that devotees can hop in the car and hunt them down. Track down your own Pocky