[personal] Asian soda taste test panel - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2007-12-20 18:27
Subject: [personal] Asian soda taste test panel
Security: Public
Location:Nuevo Rancho Lake
Music:cooking noises in the kitchen
Tags:food, funny, photos
This afternoon while misspending some time, khaybee, danjite and I went by Fubonn, the Asian superstore for all your durian fruit and pig uterus needs. Opting to pass on those items, we scored some other Asian food of various descriptions. Some of this is even now being cooked in the kitchen as I write.

However, in the interests of science and as a public service, we decided to taste test some Asian soda pop so you don't have to.

The Suspects


Through a process of random selection and mutual oneupsmanship, we selected six sodas. These were:
  • Aloe Muscat Grape
  • Basil Seed with Honey
  • Winter Melon
  • Grass Jelly
  • Mangosteen
  • Artichoke

The Testing Protocol

The sodas were laid out on the table at Nuevo Rancho Lake. Soda crackers and filtered water were provided as palate cleansers, while an emergency spitting trajectory was agreed upon. We passed the camera around as we worked each in our turn to sacrifice ourselves on the altar of science.

Aloe Muscat Grape


This one mostly tasted like grape juice with the skins left in. The infusion of texture was a little odd to Western tastes, but the flavor was not unpleasant. danjite actually kept this around to drink more of later.



Tasted like grapefruit without the bite. In other words, pretty much like mangosteen. Also not unpleasant.

Winter Melon


The Thai word for this fruit translates as "bitter gourd." The flavor of the drink was something else entirely. To quote khaybee, "This tastes kind of like dirt. Sweet, though."

Grass Jelly


Alarmingly opaque. It looked like old motor oil. It smelled like a stale puddle of rain in the drive way. It tasted like something the dentist puts in your mouth.



A deep, mellow brown, approximately the color of an entire keg party's worth of urine in a nonworking toilet. It had the piquant odor of reptile dung, and tasted like the world's worst iced tea.

Basil Seed with Honey

The undisputed horror of the tasting panel. This stuff poured out reluctantly, as if clinging to the birth-can. khaybee said it looked like little eyeballs. danjite and I thought it looked more like canned frog eggs. While the flavor was not actually all that objectionable — watered down honey with a stale grassy undertone — the texture was a violation of all that my mouth has ever held as sacred.

As usual, more at the Flickr set

Remember, here at this blog we live vicariously through ourselves. This has been a public service bulletin. The comments section is now open for your suggestions about this blog's next tasting panel, to spare you the agony.
Post A Comment | 19 Comments | | Flag | Link

User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2007-12-21 03:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I love going to Fubonn, they even have Balut, which no sober sailor would ever touch. The Tea aisle is amazing.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2007-12-21 03:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And you object to anchovy pizza??
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timalyne: drink this
User: timalyne
Date: 2007-12-21 03:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:drink this
Too late, we've tried a few of those ourselves already...especially the basil seed one.
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it's a great life, if you don't weaken: rengeek skinhead fortinbras
User: matociquala
Date: 2007-12-21 03:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:rengeek skinhead fortinbras
You know you can buy little packets of basil seeds to soak in water and make your own basil seed drink?

You gotta wonder who the first guy to go, "ooo! mucilaginous!" was.
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User: desperance
Date: 2007-12-21 08:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
...and did they find the word just lying there, ready to their hand and fit for use? Or did they have to composit it to suit the need...?
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it's a great life, if you don't weaken: muppetology need bears fozzie & kermit
User: matociquala
Date: 2007-12-21 13:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:muppetology need bears fozzie & kermit
It's such a good word.

And so suited to many things in non-Westernized Asian cuisine.

Like natto. Ewwwww.....
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robin catesby
User: deedop
Date: 2007-12-21 05:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That last one goes down much better with a durian smoothie chaser. Trust me.
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calendula_witch: asparagus juice
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2007-12-21 05:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:asparagus juice
Haha! Yes my brother has shared with me the wonders of asparagus juice soda. Yum!!!
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russ: pasporto
User: goulo
Date: 2007-12-21 06:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
One thing you might try at your next tasting is those Dutch candies that are solid black disks of salty licorice. My old cow-orker Ivo brought some in to the office once and almost everyone who tried one immediately spat it out.
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User: jetse
Date: 2007-12-21 12:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You mean 'drop'!

Check it out: .

Licorice is actually very old. And we got you American Johnny-come-latelies hooked on 'oliebollen' (you turned them into donuts), and 'drop' will be next...

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dinogrl: wino crossing
User: dinogrl
Date: 2007-12-21 06:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:wino crossing
Really, you should cross post this to the Vintacon community. It may not be wine, but it does have it's value as a food review. I use the term "food" loosely in this sense.

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User: hkneale
Date: 2007-12-21 13:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I had been eyeing off the Grass Jelly at the grocery store.

Thank you for being a sucker guinea pig and saving me the horror hassle of experimentation.

As for that honey basil one... That's like someone had blown a fish.
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User: threeoutside
Date: 2007-12-21 13:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I owe you guys a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. Not that I would ever have actually tried any of those things, but now I know that's because I'm wise.

Are you working your way up to challenge that idiot on the Discover channel who will literally eat ANYTHING?
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User: singingwinds
Date: 2007-12-21 15:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Since this was a public service bulletin, I felt it must be shared with my friends list. :) Hope you don't mind.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-12-21 15:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Not at all! Thank you very much.
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Bibbit: china fu black
User: bridget_coila
Date: 2007-12-21 19:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:china fu black
Very nice review (and entertaining photos)...

mmm... looove mangosteen... wish they'd been in season while I was in Beijing...

If I do get back there, I will have to do a taste test of the odd chips they have - noticed potato chips in the following flavors at the local grocery:

- ketchup flavor
- steak flavor
- cucumber flavor

I was a little afraid of them, but in the interest of science I may have to try a few.

Interestingly enough, in China, winter melon and bitter melon were two different things.
WM was a huge green melon (of "bigger-than-a-turkey" size)that was white inside. They made it into soups a lot.
BM was a smaller (about large-eggplant-sized or a little longer) that had a really wavy/warty skin and was light green and really was much more bitter than the winter melon. (Though it did work surprisingly well as a counterpoint dish to some spicy pork thing we were eating at the time)

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User: jenntheamazon
Date: 2007-12-21 20:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've tried those! Yummy. The Steak chips were my favorite (reminded me of BBQ flavored chips), and cucumber ones were nice and cool tasting. The ketchup ones reminded me of eating french fries, only crunchy. Either way, they sounded wierd, but tasted pretty good. :-)
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User: jenntheamazon
Date: 2007-12-21 20:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Where do you guys find this stuff? And I agree...the Basil Seed with honey do look like little frog eggs. And I think I've had a Mangosteen before...kinda a wierd taste, but no wierd faces afterwards. :-P

BTW, if anyone is looking for new drinks they want to try, I just found a low carb drink called Fuse. I Love It!! It comes in a wide variety of fruity flavors, and only has 2 carbs per serving (better tell all your diabetic-y friends...there is a new friendly drink on the market) :-)
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User: willyumtx
Date: 2007-12-22 23:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I really like grass jelly. The canned drink is okay. It is best to buy a can of the jelly only and then put it into a simple syrup solution.

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