Asian Drinks Page

John's Asian Drink Adventure
After becoming bored living vicariously through other peoples’ international travels, I decided to go on an exotic adventure right here at the local Asian supermarket (99 Ranch Market, if you were wondering).I was amazed by he veritable cornucopia of drinks and, being that I’ve saved so much on airfare, I’ve decided to sample them and share my results with you.

Table of Contents:

Grass Jelly Drink
Water, grass jelly, sugar, honey
I’ll be honest, the name does nothing for me. “Grass Jelly Drink” sounds like something from a documentary on insects. “The wood carver beetle harvests the fungus and produces what scientists call ‘grass jelly’. This is fed to its larval young…” You get the picture. The drink looks like apple juice, which I like. It smells like… I have no idea… almost musty? The taste is sweet and slightly gourd like. There’s a hint of cereal, like Cheerios. I think I’ll give it a pass….
It’s a 2.
Aloe Vera Pulp Juice
Aloe Vera pulp (30%), water, sugar, honey.
It’s good on burns but is it good as a refreshing drink? I’ll be the judge of that.
If you have ever wondered what Aloe Vera juice would look like, wonder no more. It’s as clear as water, but chunky. That’s right, chunky. It has these little white feathery flake-like things in it. Some have what can only be part of the plant’s supporting structure. It tastes OK, much like very diluted peach juice. The chunky bits add texture but have no real taste as far as I could tell . I’d drink it again if someone offered it to me.
A hard 7.
Star Fruit Drink
Water, star fruit juice, sugar, citric acid, vitamin C, salt
I have seen the star fruit on my visits to the Asian markets but have never tried any. If you have never seen one, it’s a waxy fruit that has five wedge shaped sections to it and is kind of greenish-yellow.
The drink made from it looks like grapefruit juice and even smells a bit like it. Too bad it does not taste like one. For some reason only known to the guy who engineered the star fruit in his basement lab it tastes like tomato juice. It has that same earthy kind of mid-taste that V-8 has. At first you think, “hummm, not bad.. I could like this”. But then that is shoved out of the way and replaced by “what the?… tomatoes?”. I’d consider this an OK mixer for vodka and celery maybe, but not something to drink everyday.
From 1 to 10, it’s a 4.
Calpis Soda
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, nonfat dry milk (treated with a lactic acid culture), natural and artificial flavors, sodium citrate.
Calpis soda has a sweet tingly odor to it. It resembles a glass of Alka Seltzer. It’s a good thing that it does not taste like it looks. It has a nice, mild yoghurty taste. I’d drink this if I had to, in fact I think I’ll go get a case of the stuff.
From 1 to 10, it’s an 8.
Basil Seed Drink with Honey
Water, basil seeds, cane sugar, honey, banana flavour
I approach this drink like all the others, I pour it into a clear glass so I can observe the appearance and bouquet. But the picture on the can is a bit of a put off. It brings to mind a place where frogs go to have a bit of fun on a holiday. Millions of little embryonic frogs all saying in unison, “Don’t drink me!” Anyway, Basil Seed with Honey looks like a clear liquid with little black seeds in semi transparent spheres. If you saw it you would understand the frog reference. It smells a bit like bananas and kiwi fruit, not too bad. Tastes like a banana flavored water, but with little lumps in it. If you can get past the looks, its an OK drink.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 6.
Bird’s Nest Drink
Water, jelly, granulated sugar, bird’s nest flavoring, ginseng flavoring, genuine bird’s nest.
Birds nest… you can drink them? Birds Nest drink is a non carbonated slightly yellow drink with a slightly spicy aroma. I suspect that the birds nests are just dunked in it and not made up real birds nest. If I find out any different I’ll be sure to warn the general readership. It has a sweet but bland taste and I can detect a bit of ginseng in it. Not too bad, but I don’t think I’d recommend it to less adventurous drinkers.
From 1 to 10, it’s an 5.
Lychee Drink
Water, cane sugar, lychee juice, citric acid, vitamin C, artificial flavoring and carmel
From the picture on the can I expected the drink to be red, but its not. It the same color as pineapple juice. It even smells like it, not all together a bad thing. I what I can only say is unusual in these drinks it tastes like to looks! The Lychee fruit must be related to the pineapple in some way. A good drink.
8 out of 10.
Rice paste drink with peanut flavoring
Water, rice, sugar, peanuts
This is an odd drink. Its got a bit of body, its a bit like chocolate milk with far too much chocolate in it. It has a peanut butter color, and what do you know even smells like it. It tastes like a peanut butter sugar cookie, but wetter. Its OK.
I’d give it a 5.

Posted: February 13th, 2006
at 12:11am by John

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Comments: 7 comments



7 Responses to 'Asian Drinks Page'

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  1. About that Bird’s Nest drink, it seems to have the real thing in it based on the ingredients list , ” genuine bird’s nest.”
    The stuff is a VERY expensive component to a very expensive soup (the stuff is worth more than black truffle). There are types of swallows (I think they’re called Swiftlets, specificilly), that build nests on the roofs of caves and in really high, out-of-the-way places for saftey out of….get this….their own SPIT!

    So yeah, swallow’s nest drink is derrived from bird spit. but if it makes you feel any better, the stuff is so expensive that there isn’t very much in the can.


    11 May 06 at 9:34 pm



    Lychees have been available in some American supermarkets for years now. It has slightly dense grape-like flesh and is very sweet and
    [I can only find them localy in Asian markets here in Az. I loved being able to buy them super fresh on the streets in Bangkok. Such a treat on a hot winter day. -John]


    23 May 06 at 2:35 pm


  3. “tastes like a wet peanut butter sugar cookie”

    I think I’ll give that one a pass. I can’t drink anything with lumps in it either, but the lychee-based drink actually sounds quite tasty (I love pineapple)

    Marsh Gabin

    3 Mar 07 at 2:44 pm


  4. bird nest, as i heard, was supposed to be the artifiacl version of a type of bird who spits.


    13 Aug 07 at 3:23 pm


  5. Bird’s nest is made out of swiflet saliva.


    25 Sep 07 at 3:32 pm


  6. ummm… u noe the birds nest thingy… way expensive… and the jelly u said was in the drink… thats bird spit (: teehee

    the saliva that was used in the birds nest is extracted and there’s no ACTUAL birds nest in the drink. and yea, ginseng is usually added. =]

    oooo… and lychee IS lovely… i am asian myself, noe? >.<


    11 Aug 08 at 8:00 pm


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