What is a good barometer of having ‘made it’?
If you were an artist, it could mean a collab with Nike/Adidas and/or getting your own signature sneaker.
If you were a musician, it could mean a collab with Nike/Adidas and/or getting your own signature sneaker.
If you were a fashion designer, it could mean a collab with Nike/Adidas and/or getting your own signature sneaker.
If you were a self-important, self-aggrandising prat with a secret inferiority complex writing about snacks, junk food and various other things that only barely pass muster for being actual food, knowing you’ve made it could mean Internet randos calling you out for referring to McDonald’s as ‘Maccas’ instead of ‘Macs’ or ‘Mac’.
To that end…
Right. Now that’s out of my system.
Anyway, just how do you know you’ve made it as a nation? No, it’s not having a first-world standard of living, world-class transport infrastructure, low levels of crime or high levels of employment.
Nay, good sir/madam. You know a country has made it when any one of the two most important deities of the snacking pantheon—KitKat and/or Pocky—deign to release seasonal, limited-run flavours based on your local cuisine.
And it is with great pleasure that I can announce to you, on the cusp of the 54th birthday of our
United GRCs of Singapore Federated States of Malaya Imperium of Singapore glorious island in the sun that we are finally, after a half-century of trying, finally cool.
For we have received the blessings of the Great Old One Glico, and its prophet here on Earth, Pocky-sempai has finally noticed us.
In collaboration with Ya Kun, which I would argue is the original retro-hipster brand, it has released two new varieties. Specifically, kaya and kopi-o Pocky.
In the best traditions of Pocky, with its near-infinite number of seasonal flavours, the two new varieties above are a limited release. Emphasis on limited, because by the time you read this, it’s already been sold out.
There’s talk of a limited (but of course) re-release, though even then, unless you have a plug or are willing to pay resale prices at the dark altar of Carouhell, you’re not going to get your hands on it.
But the more important question is this: is it worth standing in line, or paying resale and enduring the horrors of the
Immaterium Carousell for it? Or for that matter, is it worth finding out Ya Kun’s delivery routes and attempting a kaya/kopi-o Pocky heist?
The answer to that is broadly yes, as with most things in life, is somewhat nuanced.
There is, however, one tiny caveat. Listen up, because this is important. Kaya and kopi-o Pocky isn’t Japanese Pocky, but it’s made in Thailand. While there are some who will no doubt point out they’re one and the same, I think Thai-made Pocky suffers from too much baking soda in the biscuit sticks, making it taste powdery and unsatisfying.
It’s not enough to earn it a failing grade, though, and a good deal better than the hilarious spaghetti-thin pretzel sticks made-in-Thailand Pretz suffers from.
That aside, the two Singaporean-inspired Ya Kun flavours are a bit of a hit-and-miss affair… in that one’s a hit and the other is a miss.
The kopi-o Pocky is most definitely a hit. It captures low-acidity richness and dark chocolate notes of local coffee almost perfectly. It’s almost uncanny how Glico and Ya Kun have managed this. And the fact they resisted using too much sugar here and blunting the bitterness too much is also worthy of mention.
It’s like if a cup of Ya Kun kopi-o was somehow transmogrified into Pocky form, which for most people should be worthy of compliments, but to the Snacktivist, should be the minimum acceptable standard.
The kaya Pocky, though. Well, an attempt was made. And The Snacktivist, like the world in general is unmerciful and doesn’t reward the attempts, only the successes.
Kaya Pocky doesn’t fall flat because it doesn’t have enough kaya notes. In fact, it quite accurately nails that bit. It’s disappointing because the cream, as with all Thai-made Pocky, coats the roof of your mouth with a sort of plasticky film. Japanese Pocky, in contrast, is unctuous and coats the roof of your mouth in rich, rich creaminess.
Either way, as I said earlier, Ya Kun’s collab with Pocky is a sure sign of Singapore having made it.
Together, we can achieve.
Passion made possible.
10-word review: We did it Singapore, we have gotten a Pocky collab.
Best paired with: Some Japanese Pocky, to remind yourself how much better it does its cream coating.