And we’re not sure how we feel about it.

If you’re looking to try a weird drink in Japan, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the Cheerio brand. Known for sodas that taste, and look, like mayonnaise and soy sauce, Cheerio beverages are mostly found in vending machines in and around Osaka, where the company is based, and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to come another one of their newest weird creations:

Caramel Popcorn Soda.

Our Osaka-based reporter MG Ogawa was the one who found this unusual beverage at a discount vending machine in his local neighbourhood, and the popcorn sodas were cheaper than popcorn, priced at just 50 yen (US$0.36) a bottle.

Ogawa is no stranger to weird drinks, but even he was a bit wary of trying this one, given its super-cheap price point.

▼ In the end, he decided to shake off his worries and embrace “Change with Cheerio“, as written on the lid.

The retro packaging looked inviting, with a woman and a couple of kids eating popcorn out of tubs, but taking a look at the contents revealed…there was no “popcorn” on the list at all.

It did contain sugar, caramel, flavouring, and caffeine, though, and as soon as he twisted the lid, he was met with the scent of caramel popcorn. The aroma was strong and bang on the money in terms of smelling like real caramel popcorn, but would that mean the flavours would be faithfully replicated too?

▼ There was only one way to find out…

Lifting the glass of golden liquid to his quivering lips, Ogawa thought the colour of the drink looked a bit like an expensive craft cola. However, no cola would taste like this. The flavour of caramel was the first thing to awaken his taste buds, followed by a curious hint of popcorn.

It messed with his brain as much as it messed with his taste buds, and though the carbonation was mild, Ogawa began to wonder if the drink would taste better without any sparkles getting in the way. But then, as he took another sip, he realised that carbonation combined with the flavour of caramel popcorn was actually a genius idea, as it reminded him of the two things he likes to buy when watching a movie at the cinema — soda and caramel popcorn.

By combining these two classic movie-watching accompaniments, Ogawa felt as if his taste buds were enjoying a night at the cinema. However, the movie that was showing wasn’t that great, because the flavour was too sweet and buttery for Ogawa’s liking, and he wasn’t able to sit through the whole glass let alone the whole bottle.

Still, Cheerio drinks are known for faithfully replicating flavours, even if that results in a creation that’s more surprising than traditionally delicious. If you’re looking for a Cheerio drink that’s more palate-friendly, their plain hot water is worth a go.

Photos © SoraNews24
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