I had a few ideas swirling around for this week’s challenge. Most of them revolved around weird things you can buy at the local market (squid tubes that may or may not be preserved in some way, preserved cabbage stuff, dried fish, live crabs). Many of them will probably feature in future challenges. But when I was doing the supermarket shopping, I stumbled into the drinks aisle. Usually we go down there just to check if club soda is back in stock (it was), but this time around I was on my own (perfect challenge purchasing time), and a rather large display caught my eye. The canned drinks display. This made me think of my sister and her boyfriend’s blog, Are We There Yeti?, where they chronicle their travels, and where they can often be found trying out different sodas of the world. And the idea for this challenge was formed:
Challenge Canned Drinks
(we have watched Japanese Iron Chef a few times lately. If you haven’t seen it before, and this parenthetical statement seems like a non-sequitur, you should probably watch it)
Thanks to my excellent shopping and the cheap price of cans here, The Engineer had 6 different canned drinks to try (and who are we kidding, I was totally in on this one too!). I gave him options as to how the challenge was structured, but he boldly chose to try them all in one evening. And as a nod to our friends over at Are We There Yeti, we’re including real ratings this week (out of 10 and everything…)
(Note: as challengee, The Engineer provided all ratings.)
This is how the challenge went down:
- Water Chestnut Drink
The main advertising point of this one was that it contained chunky bits, which is not entirely positive in our eyes. But the drink was not terrible. It basically tasted like sweet water with some chunky bits. Very sweet water, if we’re honest about it. It tasted a bit like Grass Jelly Drink (which we had tried at a Hash Running event – not by choice), which was not surprising, but also not a great selling point.
- Tamarind Drink
When we first tried this one, it got an 8/10. It was really good! It didn’t really taste like anything else we’ve tried, but was just a plain juice (not a soft drink). It was sour and tangy, and sweet (but not too sweet). But as it got a little warmer and we drank a bit more, it got a bit less good. I think that if it had been fizzy, the 8 would have remained. But as it was…
- Soya Bean Milk
To be honest, I’m not sure why I included this one in the challenge. We’ve both tried plenty of soy milk before, and while we don’t hate it, it’s not exactly something we drink straight for pleasure. Nevertheless, it was included in the challenge, so it had to be tried. And turns out this wasn’t just any regular soy milk. It was soy milk with about 10 teaspoons of sugar added. We shouldn’t have been too surprised; drinks here are always pretty sugary and we tend to order many things with little sugar or no sugar. But surprised we were, and not in a good way.
- Chrysanthemum Tea
This was a bit of an outsider coming in. We had no real idea of what it might taste like before we tried it and no preconceived notions. But the lack of expectations didn’t really help this one much. Like the first one, it was basically tasteless, but extremely sweet. For some people, that might be a good thing. For us, sugar water is not a winner…
- Apple Tea
We intentionally saved what we thought would be the best for last. So the second to last was the Apple Tea. And we were right to save this one. It tasted a bit like apple juice, but less sweet, and with a slight taste of black tea. That sounds a little bit weird when I write it, but we both really liked it. I liked it so much that I tried another can for lunch the next day, but either my tastebuds were a bit messed up when I tried it the first time, or this was a different batch. It was still drinkable, but quite ‘fake’ tasting. Nonetheless, it’s inspired me to make home made iced tea!
- Kickapoo Joy Juice
The description of this one was ‘Citrus Flavoured Soft Drink’, which is pretty much The Engineer’s favourite thing. To be honest, it was only really included in the challenge for the name (seriously guys, Kickapoo Joy Juice?!). And all assumptions about this one were correct. He loved it. It tasted a little bit like Mountain Dew, but less insanely yellow, and less insanely sweet. Reading the label, we even found out that it was made in Brunei. And nothing is really made in Brunei, so that’s impressive! All in all, this one was a big ol’ win.
And there we have it. Six of the more weird and wonderful drinks available in cans here in Brunei. I have to admit that some of the cans were wasted (Soy, Chrysanthemum, and Water Chestnut were just not worth continuing). But some of them were enjoyed, and have even been purchased again since. (And the sugar overload only drove us mildly mental…)