Grass Jelly Drink

Posted in 0.5 Wasabi Pea Rating, Beverage, Savory at 10:22 pm by Boo


This is another one of those vacuum packed drink cans that will try to pull off your fingertips when you open it, so use caution if you choose to try this stuff. A notably strange thing happened when I was opening our test can – one of our cats came running up meowing in expectation of a handout. I suspect the sound of this opening is similar to the sound of a tin of tuna fish, or at least close enough to trigger the “must get treats” circuit in the kitty brain.

A standard trick with this particular cat is to offer him some of whatever you happen to be drinking. Invariably, he’d inch up close, nose twitching, until he’d recoil in disgust after getting a snootfull of scent off of whatever we had open. The reaction would vary only in degree, with spirituous drinks and ginger ale sending him fleeing while fruit juices and milk would rate a glance of withering contempt before he would stalk off.

That all changed with this stuff. After getting an initial whiff of it, he leaned in close to sniff it again. And again, with a growing look of bafflement and curiosity. I suspect that if I hadn’t taken the can away, he would have continued to investigate it. In a way, this cat was the first reviewer to experience the strange olfactory mystery known as Grass Jelly Drink.

It smells like leaves. Old autumn leaves that have been on the ground for a rain or two. Not exactly a pleasant smell, but not horrifying. Just something you don’t usually associate with a beverage. The art on the can shows it served in a glass with ice, so I poured myself some. The liquid is a syrupy dark brown, rather like an uncarbonated cola. In a glass, the dead leaf smell is much stronger.

As it turns out, I was wrong about the ice. In the bottom of the can was a collection of gellid cubes. This was the Grass Jelly. The liquid was just a delivery mechanism. The whole thing together was the liquid form of Green Jelly Cake.

The taste of the liquid is… Well… It’s very odd. It tastes like a very strong glass of not very good tea that’s been doped with a couple dozen spoonfuls of sugar in an effort to hide the taste. The texture is kind of slimy, probably due to the corn starch on the ingredient list.

The only saving grace, as Her Boo-ness said is that, “It doesn’t taste as bad as it smells.”
Still, that’s not good. And it doesn’t improve over time. The aftertaste goes from cloying and stale to just plain stale in under five minutes. Drinking more to clear the mouth is tempting, but it’s a temptation that must be avoided. That just makes it worse later.

Overall, I’d have to say it’s a drink worth avoiding. If you want to take the risk, let this haiku be a warning:

Stench of rotting leaves
Taste is not as bad as smell
Half a point for that

Final Score of 0.5 Wasabi Peas out of a possible 5.


  1. Angel said,

    March 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    i tried this but it said “honey flavored” below the name. didn’t taste as bad as i thought it was going to. my family tried the one in the picture and couldn’t stand to drink it.

  2. Boo said,

    March 17, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    My Favorite Guinea Pig, who took the hit on this review, now feels supremely justified in his rating. 🙂 Also, I might have to steal “didn’t taste as bad as i thought it was going to.” because that’s awesome.

  3. Sparkina said,

    October 19, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Tried a Grass Jelly Beverage once and thought it was tasty. Yes, you read right. Not NASTY but TASTY. I liked the stuff, no lie. Think sweet iced tea meets cola sans fizz meets smooth, tender root-beer-flavor jelly candy.

  4. gothceltgirl said,

    March 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    These reviews are delightful Boo! You are a champion for trying some of the weirdest “treats” ever to grace our stores (or is it shores?)

  5. Boo said,

    March 29, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Awww man, I am behind in my comments. Sparkina, I totally get you because I rather liked the second Zap snack we tried around Christmas ’09 while the rest of the Guinea Pigs *HATED* it. You did a nice job in your comment describing why you like the Jelly Drink and now the next Jelly Drink lover who reads your comment will have something to look forward to. Both of you can have my share of Jelly drink if you like 🙂

    Gothceltgirl – Thanks!

  6. LC said,

    January 22, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Actually, grass jelly is one of the more non-threatening Asian herbal drinks you can find.

    The taste of grass jelly normally isn’t really a stale one, its more akin to iodine…kind of licorice-y, herbally.

    Usually you can find just grass jelly in cans. They slide out in a big wiggly black slab and you cube it up and serve with some honey or sugar water on top. Others like mixing it with fresh or canned fruit, or even ice cream. It’s also popularly found mixed in other Asian drinks such as soy milk or bubble tea. Since grass jelly doesn’t really have a flavor except for a leafy, sometimes borderline bitter taste, it’s more used for its texture and cooling properties.

    Just as a personal review, I’m not very fond of Chin-Chin, as I find they are a low end, cheap drink producer (their other juices like guava or mango are very watered down, artifical tasting with strange aftertastes as well) so you may have a more pleasant experience if you tried grass jelly with a better topping 🙂 or with a better brand.

    Especially on a really hot day, because that’s why grass jelly is popular, it’s medicinal properties are to cool the inner body.


  7. Luke said,

    March 22, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I actually like grass jelly drink. Its very refreshing and the taste is sweet. The texture of the jelly is really nice and the drink tastes like iced tea but with mint.

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