Food Review: Mikado vs Hello Panda

Mikado vs Hello Panda

Glico ArtworkMikado or as it is known in the non European market Pocky (named for Pokkin or ポッキン which is a Japanese onomatopoeic word for the noise when they are bitten) is a product of Ezaki Glico Co, Ltd. A Japanese food manufacturer based in Osaka. If you’re interested, Mikado, Pocky’s name in the western market comes from a pick up sticks game where the highest scoring stick is known as Mikado. Mikado only differs from its parent brand in two real ways, other than the name, the flavour mixtures where altered somewhat, presumably to better suit the western flavour palate and the range of flavours , with Pocky having more variations. 

Meiji Artwork

Hello Panda is a product of Meiji Seika Kaisha, Ltd a Japanese confectionery and pharmaceutical company based in Tokyo. The products of Meiji Seika were originally made in Japan but were eventually moved to Singapore and Indonesia.

Okay so before I move on for the product Review of Mikado vs Hello Panda I’ll admit I could probably have just reviewed off-brand or own brand versions of Mikado for a true comparison review but I thought considering the simplicity of the product in question I thought I wouldn’t have much to say in regards to comparison, so instead I thought I’d compare Mikado and Hello Panda which are functionally similar in ingredients, packaging and target market.

Mikado and PockyMikado
For the record I like Mikado, they are an above average snack that blend sweet and savoury but I’m not super impressed. I know some people who are obsessed with them and frankly I think they are a bit over hyped for a biscuit stick dipped part way in some sort of chocolate flavouring. That being said they are tasty and especially where I buy them they are reasonably priced, which is good as I wouldn’t pay much more than £1 for a box. Additionally they come in a variety of flavours, personally favourites of mine include Daim, white chocolate and dark chocolate. Although even the basic milk chocolate version is good. A perfect balance between the creamy chocolate and biscuit and moreish without making you feel greedy for eating an entire packet.

Hello PandaHello Panda
Now onto the contender, as I said above both are overall fairly similar, both made in Japan, both biscuit and flavour combinations, but it’s how they go about it, whereas Mikado is a long biscuit stick, coated on one end with chocolate, hello Panda is a small hollow shortbread biscuit, filled with a flavouring. In this regard I think Hello Panda has the edge, while there’s nothing wrong with the biscuit of Mikado it’s just not as good as Hello Panda biscuit. Hello Panda also has flavour variants such as strawberry, coconut, milk and of course classic chocolate again. A win for Mikado is that I enjoy each of their variants at least as much as the base product, whereas the coconut, which is usually a strong favourite flavour of mine was really weak on the side of Hello Panda. Other than that the flavours I did like where great, the strawberry and chocolate where both really enjoyable.

I think it’s already clear I set out favouring the Hello Panda, but yeah. Mikado is good, a strong base level quality, that’s consistent and doesn’t deviate much between flavours whereas Hello Panda does have dips in quality but the products I really enjoyed really surpassed Mikado. Additionally I prefer the small flavour filled pillows, as opposed to the long chocolate coated sticks. Even branding wise Hello Panda is better…or at least cuter. It has as you might guess from the name, little pandas on the box, and each of the biscuits also has a panda on it as well. Also at least where I can find them, Hello Panda is cheaper than Mikado, I was able to buy three boxes of Hello Panda (one for each of the flavours I planned to try) for £1, wheas Mikado was £1 for list one box. That being said Mikado does win in quantity with a standard box being 70g as opposed to Hello Panda which has approximately 50g. So overall Hello Panda wins but I wouldn’t sniff at a box of Mikado.


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