Drinking in Korea (a non-alcoholic taste test)

There are a huge number of small, cutely-labeled drinks sold in Seoul’s convenience stores.

Being hopelessly monolingual, I can’t read the labels– but that’s hardly stopped me from sampling. Does it still count as a taste test if you can’t check your answers?


1. Soymilk. Nuttier than expected. Weird particulates at the bottom. Delicious.

2. English translation! This is “corn silk tea”. Tastes like what would happen if you took unpopped popcorn kernels, soaked them in water for about 9 hours, and then drank the water. I’m a fan.

3. Black coffee. Coffee is universally permissible. You are absolutely not allowed to eat/drink on the subway…unless it’s coffee. You also can’t eat/drink in school…unless it’s coffee. Consumed at entirely unreasonable hours, by nearly everyone.

4. The most controversial drink on this list. This is barley water (I think?) and so it mostly tastes like a nonalcoholic bourbon, which I find tolerable and interesting. Rachel says it tastes like ass.

5. I am 90% sure this is sweetened aloe juice, and 100% sure I don’t want to drink this again.

6. Vinegar fruit juice concentrate. I’ve heard that this “is good for you”, but I’m not sure why. Similar to Mio in the states, this is just a way to spice up whatever water you’re already drinking. Tastes slightly bitter, mostly fruity, comes in lots of flavors.

7. Caramel coffee (also available in vanilla and chocolate). Seems to be mostly milk.

8. Unable to identify. Tastes like bark.

9. OH NO THIS IS BANANA MILK. I thought this was just regular milk, or at least not-banana milk, and now I have trust issues, deep feelings of regret, and a stain on my soul. I cannot believe this occurred. I was aware of the danger of accidentally picking up a bottle of satan’s fruit juice (because milk comes in lots of flavors, and banana is one of them), but I took precautions against it by not selecting anything that had a picture of a banana on it, or that had yellow writing, or that looked vaguely thick, and I thought I had identified everything that could possibly be banana milk, and I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

10. English translation! Raisin water. Tastes mostly like tea, with a bitter-fruity aftertaste. Not even a little bit grape-y. Good for flushing disgusting banana flavors out of your mouth.

On a totally unrelated note, I’m going to go learn how to read the word “banana” in Korean…

Categories: Travels | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Drinking in Korea (a non-alcoholic taste test)

  1. lostalreadyinmy20s

    Reblogged this on Seoul Train and commented:
    This is an awesome post about Korea, from my lovely house guest. She takes way better pictures than I do, a nice vacation from my blurry phone pics.

  2. Luc

    What’s wrong with banana ?

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