Boba is usually the first thing that pops into mind for any sort of Asian drink. However, this spring break I travelled to Bangkok, Thailand and Taipei, Taiwan and discovered a whole new definition of "juicing."
Both Bangkok and Taipei have an abundance of fruits that are either very rare or completely unavailable in the United States. These fruits include passion fruit, durian, bell fruit, star fruit, rambutan, and many more.
Because of this copious supply of exotic and tasty fruits, both cities have a large amount of street carts selling freshly squeezed juices. There’s no sugar added, and the juices taste like a sweetly ripened fruit that’s been liquefied.
In the U.S., the so-called “natural” coconut water is often filled with around 19 grams of sugar. In Thailand, however, coconut water comes straight from a coconut that is expertly chopped by a street vendor. The taste is pure and fresh, with no need for extra sweetener.
Thailand is also a country that produces impossibly sweet mangoes, as every mango I bit into was ripened to its prime. There are a variety of options for mango drinks both on the streets and in restaurants. While at a cafe near the Grand Palace, I ordered a Mango Smoothie and a Mango-Yogurt Smoothie that contained no added sugars.
Taiwan’s juices include sugarcane, watermelon, and guava juice, and are sold in many night markets, including the Shilin Night Market. There are also a variety of juice stores in the food courts of many shopping centers. It’s the equivalent of having Jamba Juice at a Westfield shopping center food court, but without the calories from added sugars. In Taipei 101, we bought papaya milk as well as orange-guava juice, both freshly squeezed in front of us as they made the drinks.
Even though the United States has a wide variety of fruity juice options, it’s important to always check for added sugars and other unhealthy ingredients in the grocery store, or other juice shops. Additionally, investing in a Vitamix or other blender is a good way to make homemade juices by blending a variety of fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, kiwis, and oranges. However, when given the opportunity to travel, it's always best to try the fruits and other fresh produce that aren't normally offered at home.