Other: The Use of Superstores
"Erin! But... you're white!"
I thanked her for the observation, and wondered if my parents had noticed. In any case, we continued to talk to each other, and one of the comments she made was that the fruits in the West had very little flavour. So I've tried a variety of foods from the East, and encountered the odd nature of mangoes: women are far, far more likely to love mangoes with a sheer, blind passion that borders on (and occasionally crosses) the obscene. Guys, on the other hand, usually shrug and say "they're okay". Go ahead, ask among your friends - you'll get the same results. Occasionaly, a woman will shrug and say "they're okay"; but then they'll say "But if they're really fresh..." and then you'd best have a towel ready.
Where the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks is this going? Well, I don't live in a place that has a very large Coastal Eastern community in its small population. We're about half white, maybe a fifth native, another fifth East Indian and a few Japanese and others. So while there is a variety of foods here, there are no real specialty stores here like you might find in a larger city.
Enter the superstores.
Personally, I hate superstores. They give me a headache after about five minutes, so I have to keep distracting myself if the Signifigant Other has decided to drag me along. And I encountered a pop can with cyrillic writing on it. I looked a bit closer and found kanji, arabic and roman lettering on it as well. Then I looked a bit farther away, and saw it was advertising "Melon Milk". The shelf this delightful can was sitting on was covered with drinks I had never heard of, or even imagined. I immediately bought a half dozen, brought them home to chill in the fridge over night, and have drunk one a day since. Here, from most familliar to least, is how they tasted...
Chin Chin Mixed Fruits Juice Drink
Ingredients: Water, pineapple, orange, banana, guava, apple, peach, passion fruit, sugar.
Taste: Sweeter than I like, but otherwise pretty much what you'd expect. I'm surprised to be able to taste the banana, as that's a very light flavoured juice.
Oddest Detail: According to the nutrition label, the Serving Size the label is based on is for 240ml, or about two thirds of the 340ml can. Wha?
Six Fortune Mandarin Juice Drink with Pulp and Juice
Ingredients: Water, mandarin orange pulp, concentrated orance juice, sugar, natural flavour, citric acid, ascorbic acid.
Taste: Again very sweet, but not too unpleasant. If you've ever bought mandarins on Christmas, you know what this tastes like. Only sugared.
Oddest Detail: The insistence that what's in this can is liquid. This juice drink is with juice? Oh, thank god!
Pokka Mango Drink
Ingredients: Water, sugar, mango juice, citric acid, vitamin C, natural flavouring.
Taste: Sugar is the second item on the label - noticing a theme here?
Oddest Detail: When you have to add vitamin C to your mango juice, you know there's damn little mango included...
Pokka Melon Milk
Ingredients: Water, milk, sugar, melon juice, stabiliser (E491, E473, E339), flavouring, permitted colouring (E-102, E-133).
Taste: Quite nice, actually. Brush your teeth afterwards, though. I can't quite identify the melon pictured, though it seems to be a white-fleshed cantaloupe. No guarantee that's what's in the can, though, which is only described as "melon".
Oddest Detail: "Permitted colouring"?
Pokka Pulpy C Lychee Drink with Jelly and Juice
Ingredients: Water, suger, lychee juice. gelling agent (sodium alginate), citric acid, ascorbic acid, calcium phosphate, flavouring.
Taste: Bland, mostly. The shock comes at the end when lumps of jelly start dropping into your mouth. Yugh.
Oddest Detail: Have I mentioned the lumps of jelly yet?
Chin Chin Grass Jelly Drink
Ingredients: Water, grass jelly, cane sugar, corn starch, fructose, honey.
Taste: Surprisingly good. Despite three sweeteners among six ingredients, not too sweet. Actually tastes like grass, or at least like damp grass smells after it's been cut, and I like that.
Oddest Detail: The picture on it looks for al the world like a glass dessert dish of flat cola with translucent Jello cubed very small and a straw. Which I suppose it is, in a way. Still gag on the lumps of jelly at the end of the drink - but then, I'm a food texture freak, and I hate eating squishy food like jellies or traditional puddings. So that's just me.
All told, I think I'll stick to the drinks I know for now, but some variety never hurts. Go ahead, see what the odd little corners of your local store hold, and give them a try - with a strainer.
P.S.: Australia played better than the Italians - bugger about overtime.