Japanese Snack Food Review: Kurogoma Pocky (black sesame)

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And more Pocky?? Does it ever end? For those of you keeping track of this sort of thing at home, this week’s entry puts Pocky ahead of Pretz by a good margin. I don’t have my notes with me at the moment and I’m also feeling the lazy so I’m going to go with a WAG of…5. Give or take. This is not because I review more Pocky than I do Pretz, this is because they keep doing weirder and weirder stuff to Pocky. Take a look at any JSF store, I bet the ratio of Pocky to Pretz is about 2:1. Those crazy Pocky people!

And now, sesame! But not just any sesame, black sesame. I had no idea there was such a critter but there you go. Also, did you know that sesame pods, when they are ripe, will burst open and scatter the seeds (assuming you don’t have one of the mutant ones that don’t go all pod people on you) – hence the term “open sesame” or at least a likely origin for it anyway? It’s amazing the things you can learn on the internet these days. There does seem to be a black variety of sesame seed (the kernel of wisdom I was originally looking for before I read about the exploding pods), but it’s not grown in the U.S., or at least it wasn’t at the time the site I found was put up. What I did find is that in Japan, black sesame is known as kurogoma (see the title for today’s review), tan sesame is kingoma, and white sesame is shirogoma. Ergo, the Japanese word for sesame is goma. Your educational blurbit for today.

Before I (ever) get reviewing the Kurogoma Pocky, I’d like to point out the packaging. It reminds me a lot of Just black choco wafer roll in the styling but just a touch more…well I’d go with uneasy but you can also probably say “artsy” just as well. Both products have a stark black/white thing going on, but the cartoony Just Black is happy. The little flute fella is black when it’s white, white when it’s black and he has an order. The Pocky just doesn’t care. Look at the sticks stabbing their black (gray really) covered selves into the black of the packaging. That’s not friendly, that’s an aggressive act of visual space war! I think the sticks look like they are getting ready to rumble, personally.

The Pocky is actually a dark, charcoal gray in color rather than black. It’d be sort of the color you would get if you made an ash slurry out of the remnants of a good cozy fire but a lot more tasty. Surprisingly tasty. I admit, I had reservations about sesame because I’m really not that fond of the flavor. Sometimes you can’t taste the sesameness, other times (like the time we ordered sesame noodles) I’d swear I was eating peanut butter. Peanut butter is good combined with a white chocolatesque coating and stuck on a graham-like stick but absolutely disgusting on noodles.

The stick is the stick and I’m not going into it. Again. If you must know about the stick, think of this as your opportunity to review the other fine Pocky products which have been discussed at length already on this site. As to the type of stick, Kurogoma Pocky fancies the plain honey graham stick. The coating, now, that’s where the tasty lives. Several of the sites I visited while looking for info about sesame seeds claimed that the darker the seed, the more flavor it holds. Well, OK then! Sesame reminds me a lot of peanut butter with a little more nuttiness and a little more oily. This stick had a peanut butter on steroids thing going on for it, but also a creamy smooth which the white chocolateesque coating brought to the table. We liked them. We liked them quite a lot. We also admired their somewhat savoriness that the sesame flavor brought to the normally sweet Pocky. Kurogoma Pocky is still sweet, as all Pocky so far have been, but the little edge of sesame savory was nicely pleasant. Ergo, I think I’ll give Kurogoma Pocky a

rating

of 4.5 Wasabi Peas out of a possible 5.

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