Saturday, February 21, 2015

Berry Carnival Pocky - Asian Food Market: Cherry Hill, NJ

Berry Carnival Pocky - Asian Food Market: Cherry Hill, NJ
It's snowing again, and instead of digging out my car like a responsible adult, I'm going to stay inside and review a tropical pack of Pocky featuring a toucan. (I think I've got this life thing figured out.)

It might just be me, but this design looks really unpolished. The last few flavors of Pocky I've reviewed have either been very clean and modern, decorative, or (pretty much) monochromatic. By comparison, this garish color combination seems really out of place, and it doesn't make sense. What does green and yellow have to do with toucans or berries? I guess it's an homage to the Brazilian flag? That would make sense since açaí berries are found in Brazil, but I don't think that's common knowledge. Is it? I looked it up, and it seems like the toucan pictured on the box is a "Toco Toucan" which is found in South America, so I guess the entire box in inspired by Brazil. If so, the company did their homework making the box look like the flag and featuring a bird found there, but I think that might be lost on the general consumer. (Then again, I can only speak as an American growing up in New Jersey, maybe those of you living in other places would know all this just by looking at the box.) I like the illustrations on the front, but I really like the green text against the yellow background on the back of the box. I wish they had done that on the front too. I think it's really the logo and text on the front of the box that is bothering me. The white with a green stroke just isn't working for me.

Inside the box are three portioned packets of Pocky, and each packet has line-art featuring tropical flowers and the same toucan as the front of the box. Bird packaging inside bird packaging? Birdception. (Those jokes are so old, and I still haven't even seen the movie.) The flowers seem a bit out of place here, since the original illustration featured fruit, so I wonder if the flower design is recycled from another tropical Pocky flavor. I looked it up, and low and behold, IT IS! They just added a bird and changed the fruit out at the bottom. It's understandable to recycle artwork, and they did tweak it a bit to suit this flavor, so I can't pick on them for it. It's just fun playing food design detective.

Visually, these sticks look a lot like the strawberry version of Pocky, only this time there's more of a varied fruit-pulp mixed into the white chocolate coating. They smell fruity and artificial, but no one flavor really stands out. This aroma is more like a generic fruit-smoothy version of the strawberry Pocky, but it's tangy and a little sour smelling, like citrus or a lemonade-berry-blend.

I took a bite, and it doesn't taste as strongly as it smells, but it's got a bit of a tangy to it. It's not sour by any means, but the white chocolate coating starts out sweet and very similarly to the strawberry versions I've had before, but as it melts you get a slightly tart but non-specific berry flavoring. I guess that's from the açaí. It leaves a bit of a bitter flavor towards the back of your tongue, which isn't all that strong, but it's a different sensation than I'm used to.

Berry Carnival Pocky is a bit different from the typical berry flavored Pocky, but it's not a huge difference. I found  that this had a slightly deeper fruity flavor, and a lot more tanginess than the usual flavors, but that doesn't feel like an improvement to me. I'm glad I bought this box, but this isn't a specific flavor I'd ever want to buy again.

If you really really like Strawberry Pocky and want something slightly different, this could be what you're looking for. Otherwise, unless you're like a crazy Pocky collector or something, this is a flavor you can skip.
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