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Apr 5, 2012 01:13 AM

Asian Market: Beverages

I was browsing the beverage aisle at the Asian market and felt overwhelmed. There was 5 different kinds of coconut juice, 3 mango, guyabano, lychee, tamarind, and on and on. These were the canned beverages btw.

Does anyone have a tried and true favorite? I know more than some of them are gonna be a miss.

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  1. I've enjoyed grass jelly drink since I was a kid. It's a fairly mild flavor, not too sweet. Not sure how to describe it, especially since I haven't had it in a while. It's not for everyone -- my SO didn't like it because there are little cubes of jelly in it. Worth a try, though.

    The coconut water is super refreshing, if you haven't tried that.

    2 Replies
    1. re: juster

      I really like grass jelly drink as well and also find it hard to describe the flavor - unless "medicinal, but in a good way" sounds halfway appetizing? Not for everyone, but I find the flavor and the chewy jelly very appealing.

      1. re: Sarah Perry

        I've never had the canned grass jelly drink - perhaps because I used to have the real grass jelly - in blocks - cut up and incorporated into a tall glass with rose syrup water and ice, or in other syrupy concoctions with ice; or in warm bowls of sweet dessert-like melang├ęs of stuff. :-) My parents used to buy those blocks of grass jelly from a shop which specialized in it and use it in "sweet treats" a la what I described (home edition) or after some begging from one...

    2. When I was young I always asked for soursop/guyabano juice. It was very sweet with a sour apple kick and I loved it. Nowadays I steer away from overtly sweet things. I like Sarsi, a Filipino brand of sarsparilla and Japanese soft drinks like Calpis which are mildly acidic with a slight yogurt flavor. Some stores also sell brands of mangosteen jucie which are on the pricey side as they are believed to be medicinal, but I think they taste like a great breakfast drink.

      9 Replies
      1. re: JungMann

        I second the soursop juice. I also like the aloe and the flavored Calpis milk drinks (mango, leeche, and strawberry) in the refrigerated section.

        1. re: Crockett67

          I think the Calpis milk drinks are a good place to start. The name has been changed to Calpico (at least here in LA) because Calpis sounds closely sounds like cow piss. :)

          The coffee drinks can be hit & miss. I like the ones from Japan - the flavors tend to be more pronounced.

        2. re: JungMann

          On the cans of soursop in my fridge, it says guanabana, not guyabano - are those the same thing, or is guyabano something else? I'm buying them from a Latin market, not Asian, so maybe that's the cause of the different spelling.

          1. re: LisaPA

            Yup, same thing, by any other name just as sweet.

            1. re: JungMann

              As the name implies, fresh soursop is not that sweet, and has a significant sour component. One of the best taste sensations of my life, impossible to find in the US because it's not grown here, and I think it's illegal to import.

              Swwetsop is more what the canned or frozen soursop tastes like.

                1. re: huiray

                  Thanks for posting this. "Requires tropical conditions" has me wondering, though. I am not sure I will be able to grow indoors.

                  My family is from Miami, and even when I scour the farmer's markets there, I can't find it.

                  1. re: Steve

                    Go for it! Park it in a sunny, warm spot indoors and see what happens...after some years, that is... :-)
                    [You're in the DC you have a sunroom?]

                    I vaguely remember I might have seen it (the fruit, that is) for sale in one of the large "International Markets" [Saraga] in my area, but can't swear to it.

          2. Sour plum nectar (to be diluted with water)

            Corn soda

            Grass jelly drink

            1. The last few times to an Asian store, I've been grabbing a canned basil seed drink for the ride home.

              1 Reply
              1. re: FoodPopulist

                I grab a different one to try each time and got the basil seed drink on the last trip- and really liked it!

              2. I usually go for lychee, but there is a brand of "mixed fruit" that is really good. I buy it at a Vietnamese banh mi counter.