Saturday, April 22, 2006

Not tonight Josephine....!

In the interests of research and delving further into the depths of the Filipino psyche ….the other day I tasted Sarsi for the first time!

In my complete ignorance and not being a huge fan of soft drinks I had assumed that Sarsi was a local version of Pepsi or Coke ….at least once out of the can it looks the same. One of my colleagues was having a can of Sarsi the other day and after a little persuasion (which involved all sorts of threats!) he relinquished a wee bit for me to taste….he said it was like root beer….

It seems that Filipinos have been brought up on the stuff and it serves various purposes as Coke/Pepsi/7up do elsewhere…an energy fix, a caffeine fix or a hangover cure…or I guess some do just drink it for enjoyment!

At the risk of offending everyone here….I thought it was awful….I can only describe the taste as a combination of very strong aniseed, cough mixture, pure sugar and a hint of something nasty your mother gives you as medicine to make sure you really are sick and not faking it!

At the time I did try hard not to screw up my face in horror…I obviously didn’t do that good a job as my colleagues were laughing at my grimaced smile!

Obviously Sarsi is the Philippines, what Marmite is to the average Brit!

An interesting experiment….however, not to be repeated!


Blogger carlosceldran said...

Hi! Actually, Sarsi isn't as popular as you percieve. Perhaps only at your office or in Manila.

It's not an easy find in the provinces actually. And takes up a small section only in the local stores.

Its really a coca cola kinda nation actually. With C2 ice tea being the largest growing beverage in the country.

And sarsi is just short for sarsaparilla. I hope I spelled that right. :o) It's weird, I too hate sarsi. But I do like diet sarsi. They taste different.

11:35 am  
Blogger expat@large said...

yum, I really miss my sarsparilla fix!

used to drink it all the time at school... (a while ago)

2:59 am  
Blogger friskodude said...

You have convinced me to seek out Sarsi at my local Filipino market here in the Bay Area, since I'm such a big fan of weird Filipino soft drinks and fast food outlets such as pork friendly chains. Had any native, original Filipino food yet? I'd like to see that report.

4:34 am  
Blogger friskodude said...

Carlos! Loved that story about the old Malate motel that sold and converted to something else, and I still plan to borrow your dual coverage and put it on my blog, as it was fascinating. From Brothels to God, and make a Million.....

4:36 am  
Blogger Madame Chiang said...

Friskodude: my first lunch here was at one of a chain of restaurants (Gerry's Grill) that serves Filipino food....I have to say given it was the first day here and my first time out with my new team....I don't remember too much....the overall impression though was that there was not too much that I would seek out again...however, I have not given up looking for that one dish that will get me hooked!!

2:56 pm  
Blogger carlosceldran said...

The fact that Gerry's Grill really sucks aside, there is no doubt that Filipino cuisine is an acquired taste. But at least Manila has a lot of international cuisine available. It's the kind of city that doesn't really force you to eat the local food (ie. If you are in Madrid and don't like Spanish food, you could be quite screwed.) One can live in Manila and eat rather well without even trying a teaspoonful of the local cuisine.

Sigh. I don't know why but I feel such sympathy for you for living here. Judging from your posts, it seems like such a trial. Strange food, there is only basketball, it's not exotic or cosmopolitan or organized. I wish I knew a way how to make it all better...

Anyhoo, allow me to recommend Sentro 1771 in Greenbelt if you want to try some of the better stuff.

4:54 pm  
Blogger Madame Chiang said...

it's not really such a's just not quite what I was looking for at the moment!!
From a point of view of international are right....we are not short of anything here on the variety only quibble would be in authenticity....but hunting around and trying new can find the good stuff...thanks for the tip re Centro 1771, will try that one evening.

7:34 pm  

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