Monday, April 29, 2013
Meiji Lucky Stick Cappucino
I've read that the name "Pocky" came as a result of the sound that is made with the stick is snapped. I'm guessing that Meiji named this "Lucky" because it was close in sound to "Pocky" (sharing the basic "vowel+cky" sound), but wasn't going to get them sued by Glico. In Japan, I don't recall seeing "Lucky" sticks, though this is clearly identified as being a Meiji product and therefore released by a Japanese company. The box says these are made in Indonesia for Meiji Japan and are to be marketed to Canada and Singapore. I'm not sure how they end up in America, but I found them at Daiso Japan for $1.50 (147 yen). They are incredibly international for such a simple thing as is evidenced by their multi-country origins and the presence of 3 languages (French, Japanese, and English) on the box.
I don't recall seeing a product by Meiji called "Lucky Stick" in Japan. Their Pocky rip-off over there (as far as I personally noticed) is "Fran". Fran tends to have more sophisticated offerings than this simple cappucino "cream" on a stick version. The types available at present include macadamia cheese and macadamia chocolate. The cheese one would scare me and I'd never buy it, and the chocolate one would be too boring to sample. Also, I was never intrigued by a product that seemed to be named for a particularly bossy aunt. No, I didn't have an Aunt Fran, but it just sounds like the type of aunt who'd leave a big lipstick smudge on your cheek when she kissed you hello, talked too loud, and probably drank bad coffee and smoked cigarettes.
Getting to the matter at hand, which are the "lucky" sticks and not Aunt Fran's cancer sticks... If you take a moment to smell these, they smell like instant latte powder. I know this because I was given a free box of Nescafe latte instant coffee at Safeway and it was 140 calories of disappointment. These sticks are very reminiscent of that very coffee, though they do have some advantages. They are sweet, but not overly so (unlike that instant latte powder) and they have an excellent crunch factor. The coffee part of this is extremely subdued and comes across more as an aftertaste of coffee than true coffee bitterness. The milkier elements, which taste like fairly decent non-dairy creamer come through more strongly, so these might be a nice alternative if you are a coffee wuss. The biscuit stick itself is very bland, but if you eat the small part which is not coated, it has a floury taste which reminds you of very bland, dry cookies. I actually rather like that flavor, but it comes across poorly to most people.
These are not bad at all, but I can't personally get past the fact that it is so reminiscent of non-dairy creamer and instant coffee. I ate the whole box over time (probably a few sticks here and there over 5 days), which means that I spread the 220 calories over about 5 days. It also means that I wasn't so drawn to these that I scarfed them down or had to stop myself from eating them. While I'm not the world's biggest fan of these coated stick snacks to begin with, this definitely rates lower than even standard Pocky and absolutely pales in comparison to things like "Winter Pocky". I wouldn't buy them again, and, unless you're a fan of powdered coffee-like beverages, I wouldn't recommend them.