Is Mikado Pocky? A Taste Comparison
Date: 2009 April 26th Sunday [16:27] | Posted By: Joe
UK readers might have noticed adverts on TV, for a product called Mikado, which looks strikingly like the favourite otaku snack Pocky.
In this article we'll do a taste comparison and reveal the differences, and answer the question, is Mikado Pocky?
After seeing the adverts on the TV, we had to dash down to our local supermarket to see if they sold Mikado.
Looking at the box, it's labelled Glico Mikado. Glico originally created Pocky, which is reassuring. Looking at the small print on the side of the box reveals that "Mikado is manufactured under license from Ezaki Glico Co. LTD JAPAN". The bottom of the box even has the Glico running man icon.
Mikado is in fact made by Kraft Foods, and branded with the LU Biscuits logo.
The branding is all to do with corporate history. Mikado was originally launched in France in 1982 as a joint venture between Glico and Generale Biscuit S.A.
LU stands for Lefèvre-Utile Biscuit Co, it was once owned by Generale Bicuits, but was eventually sold to Kraft. We're not really an expert on the history of biscuits, but if you do want to read more about biscuits you can't go wrong by visiting Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down.
Mikado was sold in the UK a few years back (we can't remember the dates), however it is easily available in France, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Germany and Spain, in a variety of different flavours, including milk and dark chocolate. The websites for each country are roughly the same and suggest that Mikado is perfect in ice cream, (like a wafer), or served with coffee.
For this taste comparison we have regular red box Pocky, in dark chocolate. We tested it against the only Mikado sold in the UK, the milk chocolate.
The Mikado box is 75g while the Pocky box is 52g. So you do get a bit more Mikado than Pocky per box.
The next thing to do is to open the boxes, the red Pocky box was a lot easier to open thanks to the thumb tab at the top. The Mikado box was actually harder to open without tearing it. In the end we resorted to a knife to open it.
Inside both boxes, the sticks are wrapped in foil. The Pocky is wrapped in a white foil with Pocky and Glico printed all over it in red text, while the Mikado foil is plain silver.
Looking at the sticks side by side, it's clear that they're both the same size (or near enough, we're not that pedantic). Because we're comparing milk against dark chocolate, we can't do a like for like taste comparison. We're not gourmet taste testers either. Eating just the biscuit segment of the sticks we could not tell the difference between Pocky and Mikado.
During the taste tests, it really depends on what you like. Some of our specially selected otaku tasters prefer milk chocolate, and did enjoy the Mikado sticks, while the dark chocolate fans preferred the Pocky. The chocolate on Mikado is noticeably thicker.
In conclusion we say that yes, Mikado is Pocky, it's made under licence, albeit in Europe, instead of Japan, Thailand or China. As we haven't got any milk chocolate Pocky we could not do an exact taste comparison. We have had tried Thai made Pocky before and noticed that the dark chocolate is not as nice as Japanese or Chinese made Pocky.
It really depends if you prefer milk or dark chocolate, along with the availability. You can currently find Mikado at local supermarkets, while Pocky is available in a variety of places including Japanese and Chinese food shops.