I'm Eating What?! Grass Jelly Drink

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Photos by Riki Altman


If there's one food trend that never seemed to gather much steam in America, it's the chew-while-you-drink deal. I can't say this really surprises me, though I was one of the first (and still remaining) huge fans of bubble tea. So it was with only slight trepidation that I threw a can of Mong Lee Shang brand Honey Flavour [sic] Grass Jelly Drink into my basket, noticing that the image on the product's face had orange-brown hunks of something floating in it. 

I mistakenly thought the bevvy would be green, but it turns out the juice is more brown. Dense and brown, like seawater, I realized as I poured it into a glass. No glugging sound. Strange. That's when I realized I was probably supposed to mix it
up first. (You can't blame me for that one -- doesn't say anything about agitation on the can.) So I put my thumb over the opening and shook. Sure enough, out flopped some chopped bits of agar.
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[That's a gelatinous substance made of seaweed, for those of you who haven't explored molecular gastronomy.] At this point, I also wondered aloud if it should've been refrigerated but, alas, I forged ahead.

The liquid had virtually no scent, but it was slightly similar to the smell of a freshly opened can of racquetballs. Can't remember what that smells like? Go open a can and come back.

The drink had the consistency and even the flavor of black olive juice, just slightly denser and sweeter from the honey. It wasn't repulsive, just weird. But those little square, chewy chunks floating around... repulsive. Maybe if they were round, it wouldn't have been so unsavory, but the sensation of chewing something with corners while drinking dark brown juice simultaneously was almost too much to bear. 

Who should drink this? People so desperate for liquid refreshment that they're willing to chew their way there. And, of course, whoever is behind the drinkswithchunks blog. More power to ya.


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