Cola Up: Jellied Japanese Soda
If light can be a particle and a wave, why can't cola be a liquid and a solid? Cola Up bridges the chasm between traditionalists who insist that soda should be sipped and hydrocolloidal optimists who believe anything can be slurped down in solid form.
We spotted Cola Up in the aisles of the Mitsuwa Marketplace at Centinela and Venice, home to our favorite westside ramen shop, Santouka. Cola Up comes in a squat, red, aluminum can, about two-thirds the size of a standard can of Coke. Look for the meta-logo of an impish soda bottle maniacally shaking a can of... himself.
Once you unscrew the top, you'll need to shake vigorously to dislodge the coppery contents in translucent blobs. The stick-on English label suggests 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) as an appropriate serving. That means the can contains three servings, each of which contain only 48 calories. Sure, most of them come from high fructose corn syrup, but nobody buys jellied soda pop expecting health food.
Cola Up can be slurped, gulped or delicately spooned. It's not unpleasant, but it's definitely weird. The majesty of these soft blobs is that they feel like slightly melted Jell-O but with fizzy hits of carbonation that pop and hiss on the tongue. As for the taste, Cola Up is nothing like Coca Cola, but it mimics, with freakish precision, the flavor of Haribo's gummy cola bottles. From gummy to liquid to jelly, all in one chunky soda.
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