Whether you grew up in America or an overseas country, you’ve probably had most, if not all, of these drinks before. From authentic Asian restaurants to street night markets, and even your own cupboard at home, these drinks satisfied your thirst when you were younger. Ready to review?
1. Soybean Milk: 豆漿
Do not mistake this for the milk substitute at many coffee shops. Sweet, unsweetened, and even salty — this was the first thing we drank in the morning as kids.
2. Rice Peanut Milk: 米漿
Served alongside soybean milk at breakfast is this slightly viscous, sweet, and filling drink made of perfectly roasted peanuts blended with soaked rice and water.
3. Almond Tea: 杏仁茶
Most often found in powder form, this almond tea has a rich, nutty flavor and a sweet, creamy base. A thicker version of this is commonly served as dessert in traditional Chinese restaurants. This drink works perfectly as breakfast, an afternoon snack, dessert, or bedtime drink.
4. Hey Song Sarsapilla: 黑松沙士
The closest version of root beer, this Taiwanese drink is best when chilled, with a dash of salt upon opening.
5. Apple Sidra: 蘋果西打
This light and crisp Taiwanese apple soda comes in its iconic yellow cans and is guaranteed to quench your thirst on a hot summer day.
6. Grass Jelly Drink: 仙草蜜
Also a summer favorite, this mysterious dark drink with equally dark jelly tastes best with a splash of evaporated milk.
7. Chrysanthemum Tea: 菊花茶
Forget about the tea served in teapots at dim sum — it was all about the sweetened version in yellow boxes. Like Southern Sweet Tea, but on a Capri Sun level of fun and addiction.
8. Sour Plum Juice: 酸梅湯
Best on a hot day spent outside, this chilled juice can be found anywhere on the streets in Asia, or in the refrigerators of many Chinese delis and cafes. One rule: never add ice, or the sweet, tart, and salty flavor of plums will be diluted.
9. Wintermelon Tea: 冬瓜茶
A drink that can be served hot or cold during the entire year, wintermelon tea is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. The secret? Dark brown sugar.
10. Ovaltine: 阿華田
Like chocolate milk, but even better because it is a whey-based malted drink intended to replenish your body with nutrients before sleeping at night. Perfect hot or cold, the more scoops of Ovaltine your cup of milk or water has, the merrier you will be.
11. Milo: 美禄
If you didn’t have Ovaltine in your kitchen pantry, you probably had Milo, its Australian-rooted twin. Also malted and nutritious, this is just a bit less chocolatey and creamy than Ovaltine. Nothing can stop you from eating it by the scoop, straight out of the can.
12. Horlick’s: 好立克
Yet another malted drink, but thought of more as an “adult drink” because it isn’t chocolate-flavored! Made of malted barley and wheat flour, it is also fortified with vitamins and minerals. A cup of warm milk mixed with Horlick’s seems to always help us sleep better at night.
13. Super Supao: 舒跑
One of Taiwan’s best-selling sports drink, this delicious isotonic drink was probably not just consumed after exercising. With delicious hints of a grapefruit flavor, Super Supao quenches your thirst and revitalizes your body with electrolytes. Definitely super!
14. Yakult: 養樂多
This probiotic drink was most likely the first thing you ran to grab from the refrigerator of your local Asian supermarkets. Whether you meticulously peeled off the red foil, dug a hole with one of your fingers, or neatly poked a straw through, this was the best drink you’ve ever had and will ever enjoy.
#SpoonTip: To enjoy on hot days, pop them in the freezer for a couple of hours and enjoy Yakult slushy.
There’s nothing quite like sipping on any of these drinks. If you’re lucky, you might find some of these in the Asian/ethnic food aisle in an American grocery store like Safeway. And if you’ve never had these drinks before? Well, you’re missing out big time.