We try the strange beverage that’s got people all shook up in Japan.

About seven years ago, a local beverage company called Cheerio made waves when a new drink began appearing inside their vending machines around Japan. Called “Nanchatte Orange“, which translates to “Fake Orange“, the beverage came in a bottle that looked nearly identical to soy sauce, so much so that the label was printed with “This is not soy sauce!” as a warning.

Now, Cheerio is at it again, fooling customers with a bottle that looks similar to Kewpie mayonnaise. In fact, when lined up against other drinks inside a vending machine, it causes you to do an involuntary double-take, as the shape of the bottle and its creamy yellow-and-red packaging instantly makes you think it’s the nation’s beloved brand of mayonnaise.

▼ Even Cheerio’s big-eared, grinning bunny character is outlined in red to mimic the famous Kewpie character.

Apparently, this soda-in-a-mayonnaise-bottle appeared on the market previously and was revived due to popularity on 15 June. It’s still quite a rare item to come across, however, as it’s only available at Cheerio vending machines in Okinawa, Kansai, Chubu, and at the official Cheerio online shop.

▼ The drink can be purchased for 100 yen (US$0.93) at vending machines displaying the “チェリオ” (“Cheerio”) sign.

Our Japanese-language reporter K. Masami couldn’t believe her luck when she stumbled upon one of these machines in Japan’s Kansai region recently. She immediately popped a coin in, and when it plonked into the tray beneath, she took a look at the back of the bottle where it said, “Do not drink this mayonnaise that’s pretending to be fake cream soda as if it’s juice!”

Masami instantly fell in love with the drink for its tongue-in-cheek humour before even tasting it. But tasting drinks is Masami’s forte, so she popped the drink in her shoulder bag and took it home to give it the taste test it deserved.

Once home, Masami poured the soda-masquerading-as-mayonnaise-or-mayonnaise-masquerading-as-soda drink into a tall glass.

She was somewhat relieved by the fact that the liquid didn’t actually look like mayonnaise. Instead, she was impressed with the amount of froth it produced, which made it look like an ice cream float.

She took a sip, closed her eyes and found herself in an American soda bar, swinging her legs off a barstoool and sporting bangs with a headband while listening to tunes on the jukebox.

Alas, she opened her eyes to find herself actually sitting in her lounge room in Japan, still sporting bangs but without the boppy atmosphere from the ’50s.

Still, the soda she had in her hand was everything she’d hoped it would be and more. It had a gentle, creamy, custard-like flavour which, when she thought about it, could taste like mayonnaise with a little imagination, and each sip rounded off with a refreshing finish that made it easy to drink the whole bottle.

Adding ice cream to this would make the drink an even more decadent treat, and Masami plans to try this next time, as soon as she gets a break from all her other taste-testing duties.

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]