Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pepsi Baobab - A Very African Soda!

Pepsi Baobab Crazy from Kong
If you read this blog or watch my food / drink review videos on the Crazy from Kong youtube channel then you will already be well aware that a lot of famous Western brands produce a lot of really wacky products for the Asian market and Pepsico is no exception! 
With a wide range of crazy limited edition products that includes Pepsi Ice Cucumber, Pepsi Blue Hawaii, Pepsi Caribbean Gold and Pepsi Salty Watermelon among many others, it's pretty clear that they are willing to push the boundaries of what are considered traditional soft drink ingredients. However, I have to admit that this one even surprised me somewhat in it's weird and wonderful wackiness! 
So essentially Baobab is a stunted looking African tree with an incredibly bloated looking trunk as it can store up to 100,000 litres of water to get it through the drought season. Usually the only reason why someone outside of Africa would have heard of them is because you learn about them in geography for exactly this reason. You can see a couple of examples of Baobab trees here: 
African Baobab Tree
Baobab Tree
Quite a random thing to flavour a commercial soft drink with, no? Apparently not! According to wikipedia people in Zimbabwe  use the crushed crumbly pulp "to stir into porridge and drinks" whilst states that the ground powder of the fruit is commonly mixed with water in Africa to produce a drink that tastes "somewhat like wine gums"! In addition the fruit has purportedly more vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than cow's milk. Lots of reasons to make a weird gimmicky soft drink out of it!
But in fact the real reason why Pepsi suddenly decided to release this unexpected drink flavoured with one of the most recognisable plants that is native to Africa is because the world cup was being held there on that year and in fact that the soda was released just 17 days before the world cup started on March 25th 2010. For further proof here's the evidence right here:
African World Cup 2010
Now all this pointless information about why Pepsi does or doesn't release drinks that at first glance look like some marketers mad fantasy aside, perhaps we should pay some attention to the product itself.
So what did it taste like? Well to be honest, kind of boring... My buddy described it as "a mixture of flat coke and flat sprite" and that pretty much sums it up. The most disappointing thing for me is that I thought it would have some kind of extreme, exciting or at least strikingly unusual flavour that would immediately communicate the wild flavours of the African savannah to tamed and commercialised city-folk like me. Unfortunately almost the opposite was true. Apart from a slight herbal flavour it basically communicated a flat, mildly flavoured beverage which was clearly intended mainly as a marketing tool. Certainly nothing on the fearless flavour pioneers at Kit Kat Japan and not even up to the level of other limited edition Pepsico products like 7-up Clear Dry or Mountain Dew Grape.
To see our full thoughts on the product and reactions to our first taste, check out our review below:

Here are a few of the other crazy flavours that have been released by Pepsi in the last few years:
Limited Edition Pepsi
Red Bean Soda
Pink Pepsi
Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass Blog

Monday, April 21, 2014

7-Eleven Chilled Ramen Noodles - A Cool New Snack!

7 11 noodles
Chilled Ramen noodles in a handy plastic bowl from 7 Eleven, which operates 24 hours in Hong Kong and can be found on almost every street corner, certainly seems like a great idea for a healthy and tasty snack. 

Once we got it back to Arne's place we quickly found out that it was like a fun "do-it-yourself" mini-meal from 7 Eleven, as it came in a whole bunch of separate little packages inside the main container, which you had to blend together yourself and stir with the provided chopsticks. 

Using Arne's Spicy Chilled Ramen Set let's have a look at what was included and what this all entailed:
7-Eleven chilled ramen
This was the original container which the noodles and ingredients arrived in, but also serves as the "mixing bowl" where everything is combined 
Inside this little bag are a bunch of the main ingredients including cucumber and sliced up crab sticks (apparently made from fake crab meat)
As is pretty obvious, these are the "chilled ramen" noodles themselves 
Some delicious sweet soy sauce to add lots of flavour
Spicy chili oil to amp up the heat
Throw the noodles into the pot 
Add in the ingredients
Pour in the sauce and spicy chili oil
And voila deliciousness!
All in all, this was a delicious, inexpensive and possibly even healthy snack - I would definitely recommend it! To see our full reactions to the product as well as a demonstration on how to put it all together, check out the video below:

Here are a selection of other tasty varieties of cold noodles available from 7-Eleven Japan and Korea:
7-11 noodles

7 11 chilled noodles

7 Eleven spicy noodles
Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass Blog

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bear's Guarana Soda - The Most Dangerous Drink from Hokkaido, Japan!!


This is one of those wacky Japanese products that seems to come out of nowhere and makes very little sense, yet is essentially awesome! We found it on the shelves of the supermarket section of a giant Japanese department store in Hong Kong called Sogo and were immediately attracted by the terrifying image of the bear on the cover. 

This wonderful creature is the famous Ezo Brown Bear of Hokkaido an iconic image for the people from this part of Japan. Presumably the promise is that if you drink this Guarana laced drink you will become as ferocious and active as the pictured bear. 

The drink comes in two variations, the brown bear version as shown above and a second clear version with a picture of a white bear on the front, clearly described as being "not polar bear, but Ezo Brown Bear of Winter". This is what it looks like: 
The back of the bottle is also filled with all kinds of interesting descriptions about bears and Hokkaido which essentially make no sense and on top of that the main ingredient for the drink according to the list on the back, seems to be a potato... 

With all this entertainment one almost forgets about the drink itself, but it is actually very decent. Sweet, but not too sweet it is most similar to a mild version of an old school root beer mixed with a touch of bubblegum flavour. The white version, which is sweeter than the brown is more like slight bubblegum flavour mixed with Sprite. 

Check out our video below for the full review: 

Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass Blog

Friday, April 18, 2014

Kanikko Crab Snack - Eating Baby Crabs...

Well these were really a weird snack! This snack was bought for us by Emma Moosa and was essentially a bunch of tiny little deep fried crabs inside of some giant crab packaing. You can see what they looked like here: 
As you can see from the picture above, the crabs were presented in their entirety with their tiny legs, claws, shells and even eyes intact (presumably their tiny little brains too...). On top of that, these were not a variation of the ever popular "soft shell crabs" that are served in Japanese and some other Asian restaurants all year round, but rather appear to be regular hard shelled crabs just in small sized and fried to crispy. As a result they were still pretty tough and brittle, as Arne described "it was like eating teeth". The flavour was intensely fishy and they were pretty stinky to boot.

Overall this was very far from being a tasty snack and I think was a pretty gruesome experience for all involved. Check out our video review to see our full reactions and meet our special guest star Emma:  

Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass Blog