When you go to Chinatown, you're morally obligated to buy strange and unfamiliar goods, then decipher (and eat) them back home. It's Chinatown Roulette!
Ended up spending a lot of time in Chinatown shopping for my Thai Cooking Workshop this weekend, and it was about ten billion °F out there, so we needed some drinks.
This is in millions of degrees
First up was 100plus Lemon-Lime from Asia Market Corp.
It looks very Olympian.
"Slightly fizzy Gatorade from a can" was the general consensus, and it turns out that's what they were going for.
100plus is an "isotonic sports drink" produced by F&N, the same company that makes the best sarsaparilla on the planet. Isotonic drinks aren't some crazy future stuff - it just means it has potassium, sodium and Other Stuff in about the same proportion as your body, so it hydrates you well. Like Gatorade!
We were busy sweating our brains out at the heat, but it didn't do so well in the flavor department. Maybe we're just not used to carbonated lemon-lime Gatorade?
Came out around a 5/10. It also comes in Original, Tangy Tangerine and Active flavors, so keep an eye out!
Next up: Vitamilk!
Are you milk with vitamins? No.
Vitamilk sounds like something from the future, but it turns out it's just from Thailand - we got it from Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco Street. Oddly not related to Vitasoy (as far as I could tell), it's a nice thick soy milk.
A very beany aftertaste was the only downside, but overall it was pleasant enough. It really just tastes like soy milk. It's really thick compared to US soy milk, but I'm not sure if it's because of thickeners or different processing steps.
Fun fact: despite being soy milk, Vitamilk isn't vegan.
It's blurry because it has so many vitamins
1% whole milk powder! Who'da guessed?
The panel was split on Vitamilk, but it seemed to be down pro- or anti-soy milk lines. If you're into soy milk, 6.5/10. Otherwise, you might want to pass.
And now for the most amateur-ly packaged of the bunch: Pennywort Leaves Drink
Pennywort Leaves Drink came out of the frozen section at Asia Market Corp, and was a last-second grab. It spent the rest of the trip back to Brooklyn defrosting into an icy drink.
Depending on where in Asia you find yourself, pennywort leaves are used in salads, steeped in water to create drinks, or even salted and pickled. Health claims abound - if you find yourself with a 50-woman harem you might need it to maintain your stamina.
To be 150% frank with you all: it tasted like sugary grass. So sweet. So sweet! I have the biggest sweet tooth in the world, but it was too too sweet. The fact that it tasted like grass didn't help much, either. Maybe not letting it thaw out completely made it a little extra pungent?
On the other hand, it did have some elements that made me want to try a couple other brands, or to DIY it at home. Along with the grass flavor there was some general herbiness - some cilantro or mint, maybe. The Internet is also full of rave reviews and fond memories of it, so let's just say I'm missing something for the moment.
So, in summary, this weekend's Chinatown Roulette: no one died, but no delicious new finds.