Join us for a taste test…that sends shockwaves through our senses.

In Japan, “ciders” are carbonated non-alcoholic soft drinks that taste similar to lemonade. Their relatively plain taste makes them a good base for more experimental flavour combinations, which has seen companies create a host of unusual varieties, including Japanese catnip.

Our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma is always on the lookout for a weird cider, so when he caught a glimpse of this bottle on a trip to Chinatown in Yokohama, he wasted no time in picking two of them up and adding them to his shopping basket.

▼ You don’t have to read Japanese or Chinese to know what this drink’s about — as the image suggests, it’s said to taste like gyoza (fried dumplings)

Masanuki couldn’t imagine what a gyoza-flavoured beverage would taste like, but being the generous guy he is, he decided to share the experience with his fellow gyoza-loving colleagues in the office. So the next day, when he arrived at work, he twisted the lid off the bottle, leaned down for a sniff, and…

Whoa, this drink was pungent. He could detect notes of oil, garlic chives…and more garlic chives. For him, it was like smelling the breath of an old man who’d just eaten dumplings. As he wondered whether such a foul-smelling liquid could be fit for human consumption, he decided to give it a quick swig before he chickened out of this taste test altogether.

It was baaaad. In fact, Masanuki couldn’t remember the last time he’d tasted something so offensive. He now felt like he’d ingested the breath of an old man who’d just eaten dumplings, and he was now exhaling that breath out his own nose.

After clinging to the sides of his desk as the aftertaste sent shockwaves through his body, Masanuki decided it was time to take the second bottle around to his colleagues to get their opinion.

▼ His first victim was Go Hatori, who loves dumplings so much he’s happy to sit on a year-long waiting list for them.

How do you like these dumplings, Go?

It’s not often we find Go lost for words, but this drink had literally taken his breath away…and replaced it with the breath of an old dude who’d just eaten garlicky dumplings. 

What about Takashi Harada? Could his young taste buds be impervious to the breath of an old man?

▼ Nope.

In fact, Takashi felt as if the carbonation amped up the offensive attack on his senses, making it feel as if dumplings were continuously popping in his throat.

Despite priding themselves as being positive, glass-half-full guys, all three of our reporters couldn’t help but agree that this was a glass half-empty situation. And the emptier the glass, the better, as none of them had anything good to say about this horrible, garlicky, breath-stealing beverage. 

It was far worse than anything they could’ve imagined, and they ended up coming to the conclusion that the only proper use for it would be as a punishment in a dare or a roulette-style game. That’s certainly saying something, seeing as our team didn’t feel that way after trying 27-year-old coffee and 16-year-old instant ramen.

We really don’t recommend drinking this, but if you’re willing to try it, it can be purchased at Dagashi Hyakkaten in China Square for 300 yen (US$2.75).

Store information
Dagashi Hyakkaten China Square 1F / チャイナスクエア1階「駄菓子百貨店」
Address: Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Naka-ku, Yamashita-cho 144
Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (Sunday to Thursday), 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (Friday-Saturday, and the day before a public holiday)

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