Pizza Pretz: Big in Japan?

Not so long ago, this reporter found himself at Yagura Market, grabbing a quick lunch of sansai udon to go. (There's not much in the way of good pizza in Midtown.) While waiting for order number hyaku ju ni to come up, I figured I'd pick up a box of that old gaijin favorite, Pocky, manufactured by the Glico company. Though I was familiar with the sweeter versions of the chocolate- and what-have-you covered pretzel sticks, I was not aware of the company's Pretz line of snacks, which apparently predate Pocky (the latter being Pretz dipped in different confectionary concoctions).

On the shelf were Tomato Pretz and Salad Pretz, and I thought, "Why, that'd just be rich if there were ... " and then I saw it, "PIZZA PRETZ!" I felt as if I had singlehandedly willed this insane and unexpected snack into existence through the sheer power of wishful thinking. Of course I bought a package. (Three, actually.)

"Number 112! Hello! One hundred twelve!" My udon was ready. I paid for it, and my Pizza Pretz, and hightailed it back to the office, keen on tearing into this salty snack.

20050620Pringles.jpgCan you believe it's actually good? If you've ever had pizza-flavored Pringles, or pizza Combos, you might have a hard time believing that, but I kid you not. Pizza Pretz are subtly flavored, and you can actually detect a hint of tomato in addition to the more pronounced cheese taste. Unlike the aforementioned Made in the U.S.A. pizza snacks, Pizza Pretz don't overwhelm the eater with a huge hit of nasty powdered cheese that tastes nothing like pizza. There's just enough of the flavor powder dusted on the sticks to make them tasty but not so much that you quickly tire of the snack and wonder how you're going to finish the package.

Speaking of package, the Pretz box contains four slim foil packages, each one containing about nine sticks, that look almost astronauty. Next time I need a quick meal to go, I suppose I could pick up a box of Salad Pretz in addition to the pizza variety. I've gotta get my veggies somehow.

Where: Available in New York City at Yagura Market, 41st Street between Fifth and Madison avenues.
Ikura desu ka? $1.25
Extras: Which Pocky Flavor Are You?