Bird's Nest Soup? Chiao Kuo White Fungus Drink, Taiwan

To start your day right - once again it had to be - this morning - a classic Asian soft drink. This time it was a white fungus drink from Taiwan. The ingredients were: 83,1 % water, 8,9% sugar and 8% white fungus (apparently morels). I had comparable drinks like this quite a few times. You might consider them as a more honest and similar tasting version of those bird’s nest drinks (see the little swallow on the can). Most of those drinks look like bird’s nest soup and even taste a bit like that. Maybe because there isn’t so much overwhelming taste in these soups? Well, OK I better shut up about this delicacy. I once had the opportunity to have a cup some years ago. This won’t make me an expert in this field ;-). Back to the drink:

The colour looked blurry transparent with a slight tint of yellow. The fungus particles were very well visible. The consistency and look had something of diluted aspic. The nose was rather mild and sweet. I got scents of whipped cream, vanilla, almonds, baking powder and citron – maybe in a combination as a freshly baked pie. I did not really find any nasale traces of the mushrooms. My first impression of the taste was its watery jelly-like texture. Then I got flavours of sweet vanilla fermented whipped cream with certain batter flavours + imaginary blueberries. To the end the herbal-bitterness and earthy-like flavours of the funguses came through. A very noteworthy consecutive combination of flavours! The fungus particles itself were surprisingly semi-hard which provided this drink with another punch. In conclusion: A very interesting, really refreshing and perhaps for westerners palates a bit too well equipped with many “takes getting used to” characteristics! I’d suggest to serve it chilled otherwise it might get a bit too sweet.

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