Saturday, November 14, 2009

Crazy soda roundup

Surprisingly, Japan doesn't really have the breadth of strange soda flavors that its other innumerable culinary oddities might lead you to believe. What it lacks in breadth, though, it more than makes up for in terms of depth; flavors that don't quite reach Jones soda proportions of intentional weirdness, but that you would never even think someone would make.

First off, we have the special Pepsi flavor that was available when we arrived: Pepsi Shiso.
Shiso, for the uninformed (which included myself until recently), is a minty herb known as Perilla or Japanese basil in English. I was a little dubious, but felt like I should try it anyway; turns out I was right to be dubious! Not outright disgusting, but definitely not something I'd have again.

The next one is odd:

I guess this was a summer flavor that had stuck around long enough to be put on sale. I tried it, assuming based on the picture that it was candy apple; and yes, it did have a very strongly candy apple-like taste. But if you actually translate what it says on the label, it says it's candied apricot. It tasted a lot more like candy apple to me, though, so either it was somehow mislabeled candy apple soda, or it was a candy apricot soda that really failed at tasting like apricot.

Finally, here it is, my white whale of soda flavors:

Azuki Pepsi! If you know me, you've probably experienced my azuki obsession in one way or another. Azuki bean paste mochi, azuki popsicles, azuki soymilk... if it's azuki-flavored, I have to have it immediately-- which is why hearing about Azuki Pepsi so greatly piqued my interest. This flavor is new but it's been around over a month, and I've looked and looked and couldn't find it anywhere... until tonight, when we visited a grocery store called Valor for the first time. I nearly freaked out in the soda aisle; there it was, finally!

So, flavor verdict on the soda I couldn't find for so long? ...Eh. It's alright. It tastes more like Cherry Coke at first, but there's a distinct azuki aftertaste. So, not amazing, but not exactly worth going out of your way for. Oh well.

Overall, kind of a mixed bag in the weird soda flavor department. It's a lot more middle-of-the-road than the infamous Jones Soda holiday packs, which range from extremely delicious to vomit-inducing (Pepto bismol flavor, anyone?).

Speaking of those holiday packs, there's a new update of the perennial Turkey and Gravy soda... Tofurky soda! I don't really get the point, because the original Turkey soda was a vegan imitation flavor, anyway. I am dying to know what it tastes like, though, but they apparently don't ship to Japan. Sad.

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