Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
54

Gluttony with Mary HK Choi: Milkis & Calpico

HEH KITTEHPepsi has just announced their new limited-edition flavor: Azuki! Which is red bean. Which, unless you're all, "I CAN HAZ CHEESEBURGER?" at every non-white people restaurant, you'll know is considered a sweet in Asia. We add a gang of sugar to the legume (LIKE ANIMALS) and eat it in desserts like popsicles, donuts, and cheesecake (LIKE ANIMALS). [Random sidebar: Koreans also treat tomatoes like a fruit and toss 'em in ice cream sundaes like cherries. I fully consider this to be some hardcore, mayonnaise-on-your-pizza, confounding freakshow stuff. ANIMALS.]

But considering that Asian Pepsi gets adventurous with their marquee beverage, akin to how the Nippons get down with Kit Kats (domo arigato pumpkin and green tea Kit Kats *Boooooow*), it reminds me, once again, how the golden, golden, ASIAN cream rises to the top when it comes to flavoring sundries of a prepackaged snackfoodish nature.

Which finally brings me to my point: What does the United States have against soft drinks containing dairy when the rest of the world luhs 'em?

When Pepsi White came out, that third reich-sounding mixture of soda and yogurt, people claimed that this was unnatural to the "western" palate despite beverages like Calpico, Milkis, and Yakult not only existing for decades in Asia but being huge in Scandinavian countries, Russia (even though I guess that's like, northern), and only kinda-Asian places like Hawaii.

"Calpico" gets ragged on because it's sorta the "Toby" to "Calpis'" "Kunta" and cause Calpis reminds everyone of cow piss which actually reminds me of this one gross-sounding Hindu tipple that actually hopes to subsume the sacred bovine urea, but how do folks who eat (drink?) coke floats and orange creamsicles get grossed out by dairy in this iteration?

Milkis and Calpico are NOT carbonated. I think this is a critical distinction to make since there is something understandably gaggish about poutine particles effervescing around. And you're supposed to drink it really cold. AND despite hubrissy people who feel the need to pigeonhole it into west-centric terms like, "tastes like cream soda," it doesn't. At all. It is far pointier tasting.

We've all at least tried Pinkberry/Yogo Monster/Red Mango and been consummately gouged (in the butt) by the hefty price tag. And these drinks, available at any Asian grocery store like H Mart, taste most like the aforementioned tart, refreshing, completely addictive fro-yo and contains live active cultures (I know, I left that bit out 'cause it's gnarly and I want you guys to try this stuff).

Most importantly, it's fantastic with vodka and you can wander around with a great chalice of it and feel like the Dude which is a good idea for job interviews.

54 Comments / Post A Comment

Abe Sauer (#148)

Needs more durian.

Tuna Surprise (#573)

I have durian paste that's been in my freezer for 18 months just dying for a new home. If you want it – it's yours.

dado (#102)

This is even more confusing when you think about the fact that you will never see cheese in an Asian restaurant.

slinkimalinki (#182)

cheese mochi, cheese fry, sasami cheese…

alison (#14)

Sometimes birthday cakes in China will have cherry tomatoes as a topping on the frosting, with pieces of aloe baked into the cake. Pretty good, actually.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Really? Where? Taiwan? HK?

I've seen this here on the Mainland. Red beans as a topping, too. And both of these things as sweet ice toppings.

garge (#736)

This just comment made me write an email about Grace's tomato soup cake on Passions, the fated soap opera, circa 1998 mostly because, since I broke the corkscrew and had to open the bottle of wine with the remnants of said corkscrew and pliers, I drank it all. Thank you for helping me reconnect with my sister, #14.

David Cho (#3)

There's a huge error in this post.

Milkis IS carbonated, Calpico comes in a carbonated and non-carbonated form.

Mary HK Choi (#1,469)

Yawn. Milkis isn't carbonated. go drink on it. when you pop the top it goes tsssssst but the mouthfeel? Sin GAS bro. AND I'm just talking about the readily available Calpico which is typically not carbonated. I'm not making the Calpis SODA/Calpis WATER distinctions here.

David Cho (#3)

When was the last time you had a Milkis? You could not be any more incorrect here.

I PROMISE you it is DEFINITELY carbonated. It's a light carbonation (probably something around 2 volumes*, comparable to Orangina) but it's for sure there.

Also, things without carbonation don't go "tsst".

*LOOK IT UP

Mary HK Choi (#1,469)

UM. Lemme think… when's the last time I had Milkis OH SNAP I'M QUAFFIN' ON THE JAM RIGHT NOW! Holy crap, teeny tiny Orangina bubbles? Wow, you *sluurrrrrrrp* can't be more wrong. PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH [like akinyele].
I'm not saying that there are no bubbles anywhere not even in the neighborhood of this drink, senor pedanty pants. I'm informing the uninitiated NOT TO think of it like someone suspended bits of whey in a Fresca because it's misleading and I'm trying to provide a service here. Also, why must we fight? Haven't we suffered enough? They don't even have cups up north, man. Go watch JSA. I know I'm going to. RIGHT AFTER I FINISH THIS DELICIOUS NON FIZZY BEVERAGE.

Flashman (#418)

Perhaps over time,one's tongue becomes numbed to the bubbles. A sort of olfactory Stockholm syndrome.

*watches Azns flirt*

It's like a ping pong tournament!

Mary HK Choi (#1,469)

THEY CALL IT TABLE TENNIS NOW! AND it's finger LINGLING good! Goddamn, the simpsons used to be great… Also, ramune is genius. That glass marble embouteillage form+function design boggles my mind. I'm totally doing that next. unless I do another one. (not because it's not good, it's great but because I can't write on things I intend to).

Abe Sauer (#148)

Wait, is this the one with the "ball" in the top of the glass bottled versions?

slinkimalinki (#182)

yeeeeeeees! and it's blue!

Abe Sauer (#148)

OMG… Flashbacks…. Shinjuku. Ueno. Rockabilly fights in the park on the weekends. Yen 80 to the dollar. Corn with the burger at Mossburger. Gomi night in Narita. It WAS real.

slinkimalinki (#182)

i miss mossburger. also freshness burger, despite the fact it sounds like a feminine hygiene product.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Oh! konbini onigiri…. mmmmmmm

Hez (#147)

Tell me about it. I just scarfed down 3 onigiri (not from my konbini, but the pan-Asian supermarket on my way home). I also miss the yaki onigiri at the izakaya. And the beer machines.

Hez (#147)

Also, BOSS and JIVE can coffee. And I do miss the hot or cold option. And the "no bending vending."

Bored (#1,111)

I was walking around Battery Park the other day and saw an empty box of Oseki One Cups (available in vending machines all over Tokyo). Ahh the memories !

Abe Sauer (#148)

Mr. Brown!!!!

slinkimalinki (#182)

beer vending machines on every streetcorner.

Dr. Spaceman (#1,211)

Calpico + Soju = Crazy Delicious

Ted Maul (#205)

Yeah, I like Yogurt Soju quite a lot too. Good with hot food.

Kataphraktos (#226)

I was going to try and come up with some vaguely racist inflammatory comment about the taste buds of different races being different, or about who the hell ever orders dessert in an Asian restaurant, but I ended up with another Choi (NOT CHO) marriage proposal, so I gave up.

Kataphraktos (#226)

And to all the thousands upon thousands of smarmy, self-indulgent faux-writers out there, when you want to opine about the tiny crumbs of pop-culture detritus floating around in your heads: This is how it's done.

Mary HK Choi (#1,469)

HEEEEEEEY! I mean, thanks. I mean, heeeeey? I think this is one of those around the world, walking the dog, sleeper disses. also, this isn't detritus buddy, this is THE BIG SHOW. which is so sad and explains a lot.

Kataphraktos (#226)

Shit, I reread it and WTF my 9th grade English teacher would chop me up with a meat cleaver over that.

Totally meant as a compliment. You are breathlessly self-indulgent, but not smarmy and certainly no faux-writer, dear.

Kataphraktos (#226)

And, Jesus, woman, you made me read about disgusting Asian soft drinks and Mariah Carey this afternoon.

Tuna Surprise (#573)

What does the United States have against soft drinks containing dairy when the rest of the world luhs 'em?

Didn't Brooklyn invent the original carbonated dairy beverage – the egg cream?

Abe Sauer (#148)

YES! I was thinking this.

mcbeachy (#548)

<—remembers buying egg creams on the corner of Canal and Broadway. Great spot.

Abe Sauer (#148)

<—- remembers reading on Gothamist once that people do this.

garge (#736)

The trick to making a very good egg cream is to have a long spoon and a tall glass, and to not stir but rapidly tap the spoon up and down, while really leveraging the wrist.

slinkimalinki (#182)

oh yeah and ALLEGEDLY "calpis" is japanese high school slang for semen.

DO RAMUNE NEXT!!!

RA-MUNE! RA-MUNE!

lempha (#581)

Question: I've always wondered this about Red Mango / Pinkberry, and it applies here as well — do Azn dairy products contain lactase (like Lactaid)? Or do lactose intolerants just deal with it? Or is it not enough milk in the first place?

(Obviously, this is only relevant b/c Azns — all non-white people, actually — are 'supposed' to have relatively high chances of encountering lactose intolerance.)

lempha (#581)

SORRY FORGOT THAT YOGURT IS EASY TO DIGEST DUE TO CULTURES.

mcbeachy (#548)

um, Abe..? you mean the arrow?

Abe Sauer (#148)

No. I mean I've read about egg creams in NY a bunch of places (in the usual servicey places) yet never had one.

mcbeachy (#548)

Ah. Yeah, they were good. The place was called Dave's. Beautiful old-fashioned diner-type place. It was on the SE corner of Bway and Canal and had a nice old-fashioned take-out window facing Broadway.

Friend took me there when I was young and said everyone should know what an egg cream tastes like.

Maybe you can still find them in Brighton Beach? Is Mrs. Stahl's still there?

Abe Sauer (#148)

mmmmm, so it's like east coaster egg coffee.

Clare (#516)

SUPER H-MART! Love the Super H-Mart. If you need to pick up corn nuts, beef hearts, a live octopus, and Shiseido mascara, Super H-Mart's your store.

David Cho (#3)

All we have on 32nd st is a regular H-Mart.

ã…¡..ã…¡;;

chia (#405)

Yakult is big in Mexico!

Everybody commenting on this article is crazy. Mary has made people crazy. With her story about milk. It hurt my eyes to READ/LOOK AT…–/WAIT, badonka-donk!! wtf???? But it raises some interesting points.

Will noone else mention Rivella, Switzerland's foul, beloved whey-based sody pop?

Rod T (#33)

All of this exists because "Yoo-Hoo" is hard to say in Asian dialects.

David Cho (#3)

유후

Leti (#362)

Heading to m2m immediately for Calpico. I always expected it to be sweet. I enjoy le gas in all bevys so I'm hoping for me sake that D.Cho is right. How does it compare to Kombucha?

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