During our first few weeks here, whenever I took the duck Konbini-browsing (or grocery shopping for a change), we stopped in front of the drink coolers to stare at the vast selection of flavored soy milk
juice boxes in complete amazement. All those colors (and characters we mostly cannot read) – so beautiful, so exciting, so- we have to try some! That’s pretty much what our thought process looked like. Every time we went grocery shopping, we picked a pack or two and stored them in our fridge for those times we’d feel like having a liquid dessert.
Usually, when we buy milk, we get bigger packs than the 200 ml that most flavors of the Kikkoman soy milk boxes come in. But since we’re pretty plain (in our milk taste and in general), 200 ml seemed perfect for trying something new. As our first five milk test subjects, we chose two fruit flavors, two hot drink flavors, and, well, one other drink flavor. Those are our personal ratings (in case you have a taste as bland as ours and are looking for recommendations… or just for a good chuckle):
Five drinks – five ducks to be awarded
Cherry: When we saw the design, the duck and I knew we had to get this flavor. Just looking at the package made us want to buy it (clever marketing, Kikkoman)! This was the first one we tried, and we were pleasantly surprised. Usually, I am not a fan of fruit-flavored milk, but this one had just a hint of cherry so that it was not overwhelmingly fake-fruity. At the same time, it was also missing the typical soy milk flavor you would expect (which was a plus). However, it was pretty sweet. We usually drink unsweetened soy milk, so there was a lot of getting used to the sweetness in order to taste the other elements involved. Still, the perfectly balanced cherry flavor persuaded us to give this one three out of five ducks.
Mango: Mangoes are awesome! So, surely this flavor must be awesome, too, right? Well, objectively writing, it was pretty good. In terms of soy flavor and sweetness, all varieties seem to be alike. Here, the mango flavor was pretty strong, but it actually reminded me of a real freshly cut mango! However, taking my, well, not-fondness of fruit-flavored milk into account, I thought that this was a bit too much (and I forced the duck to agree). So, this got a very subjective two out of five ducks (but objectively, it would probably rank around three to four ducks).
Malt Coffee: Well, I do enjoy a good cup of coffee, though I cannot remember if I have ever tried malt coffee. Probably not, because while the milk was super delicious, the duck and I were both unable to place the flavor. Even though this one was also sweet, the sweetness worked pretty well with the aroma and made a perfect little snack. Four out of five ducks.
Matcha! Need I write more? Whoever knows the duck and me might be aware of how much we are in love with anything matcha. So, it was no surprise that the first sip of this flavored soy milk drink was divine! However, the following sips did lose some of that incredible awesomeness when the sweetness made its way to our taste buds. Overall it was still a good sweetened Matcha drink, so we decided to give this four out of five ducks.
Amazake – Sweet Sake?! Well, since we are in Japan, which is known for quite a few weird flavors, we thought that we should go for something a bit less conventional and picked this one. First, I should probably mention that we do not like the taste of most alcohol, especially beer and the like. But if it’s a sweetened milk drink, it should be okay, right? Well, let me tell you how our tasting went down: The first sip did give us the expected “wow! It’s sweet and you don’t really taste the soy.” But it also gave us a: “what kind of sick joke is this? Who would drink this? How do our cups only hold 250 ml of water?! There’s no way we can finish this. ABORT!”
That was the end of our soy milk flavor testing. Five tests are a perfectly fine number. Well, I’m sure if you actually like sweet sake, the last one might be for you. It was solely the sheer inability of our brains to comprehend its flavor that made our reaction so strong (we even had to go against our waste-no-food-rule because had we actually finished this, it would have ended up being wasted… in another way. Our stingy little hearts cried, though, when we poured this down the drain). Only then did we remember that we had tried chili-flavored Ramune before, with pretty much the same result. Anyway, try this if you’re feeling adventurous – but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Also, try some of the other flavored soy milk varieties if you can because if you don’t mind sweetened milk drinks, I’m sure there are lots of culinary adventures to be had.
If you’ll excuse us now, we need to get some more water!