Asian Electrolyte Beverages You’ve Never Heard Of, Ranked

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6:00 AM HKT, Mon November 6, 2017 3 mins read

I was never a huge Gatorade guy. I remember when I first moved to Texas from the Netherlands, being offered Gatorade by a neighborhood boy.

“What’s Gatorade?” I asked.

“You don’t know about Gator-aade?” he said with wide eyes and early-onset Southern drawl.

It was the old school powdered kind in the big orange tub, and that was the first “sports drink” I ever consumed. Years later, I’d still say that if Gatorade had to be cut out of my life completely, it would go largely unmissed.

But if I had to go without Scream™ sports water…I’d need to do some major restructuring.

Scream sports water

I feel the sports drinks of Asia are unilaterally superior to their stateside competitors, if only for the fact that they have a reasonable sugar balance. Where the Gatorades and Powerades of the world leave me feeling sticky, sports drinks over here leave me feeling quenched, rejuvenated, and ready to take on anything. If I come home late with the beginning inklings of a hangover already setting in, I’ll down a Scream™ sports water without hesitation, and wake up feeling like I just slipped the knockout blow.

It makes sense if you consider the climate over here. Places like Southern China, Taiwan, and Singapore are all distinctly tropical. The type of wet, humid summer seasons where you have to take three showers a day to combat the constant, inevitable sweating. The natural adaptation of devising perfectly balanced ion-supply beverages is not a luxury, but a necessity.

If the dramatic prose wasn’t enough to tip you off, I’m kind of weirdly into sampling and comparing the different electrolyte beverages of the Chinasphere. So today I’ll be living true to that identity and dropping the knowledge you never knew you needed. Here’s the breakdown, in ascending order of quench factor:

5. Pulse Water

Pulse Water (脉动) is close to Glaceau’s Vitamin Water in taste and texture, just with worse branding and no illusion of health power-ups.

It’s a solid beverage, but definitely too sweet to rival the ion-balanced refreshment of the other drinks on this list. All the flavors are fruit-based, and kind of syrupy. It’s more just a tasty flavored water than the sports drink it claims to be. But it’s worth knowing that the rarest flavor, Coconut Pineapple, is unrivaled in deliciousness.

4. FIN Healthy-Support Drink

FIN was Taiwan’s first sports drink, or as they make clear on their website, “Taiwan’s first isotonic drink, providing the body with the necessary hydration, minerals and other micronutrients that could easily be absorbed by human body.”

It’s definitely not bad, and it beats out Pulse Water because it actually does have electrolytes. But in the cutthroat world of isotonic drinks, it loses out to some of the others on this list that offer more unique value proposals. Also, I don’t like that there’s a dolphin on the front. It makes me feel like I’m drinking sea water, or some kind of dolphin drink. As FIN points out, it’s “a perfect beverage for family and friend reunion.”

3. Scream Sports Water

In mainland China, the sports drink of choice is Scream – basically China’s response to Japan’s Pocari Sweat. It’s manufactured by Nongfu Springs, one of the biggest bottled water brands over here. What’s more, it features a nifty flip-open, squeeze sports cap, to match your active lifestyle.

Scream comes in three flavors — Original, Lemon-Lime, and Herbal. That last one sounds ambiguous, and you probably shouldn’t try it, since it went viral on Weibo last year as one of the “5 Worst Drinks in China.” But we’re not here to recommend the Herbal flavor, which Smart Shanghai has called “super depressing.” We’re not even here to recommend Lemon-Lime. Drink Original, because you’re worth it.

My friend Brian Ma remembers Scream how I remember Kool-Aid Jammers:

“Oh man that was the drink in elementary school. it was like ‘I’m cool, I have Scream. Blue Scream, Yellow Scream, Green Scream.’ But I haven’t drank it since then..”

2. 100Plus

100Plus (simply pronounced, hundred plus) is the crowd favorite electrolyte beverage in Singapore and Malaysia. It differs from the rest on this list in one hugely notable way: it’s carbonated. Feel the hydrating fizz slither down your gullet, and suddenly the inescapable, sweltering moisture of the summer months are more bearable.

It was created in 1983, has been consistently voted the number one isotonic drink brand in Malaysia, and is the only sports beverage worldwide to be endorsed by Malaysian Olympic badminton silver medalist Lee Chong Wei.

1. Super Supau

Super Supau is the drink everyone is sleeping on. Manufactured in Taiwan by Vitalon Foods to compete with Heysong’s FIN, everyone knows Super Supau is the greatest sports beverage in existence. It’s just sweet enough for satisfying hydration, its ion-to-non-ion ratio will purge you of potential hangovers, and it’s green. Think that says it all.

The drink is so good that in the ’80s, Vitalon Foods hired MacGyver to drive the point home.

Yes that was MacGyver rescuing two girls with a can of Super Supau, and yes we did find this footage as .wmv files in the most obscure corners of Richard Dean Anderson’s fan site, which is also a beautiful thing.

Anyway, we hope that was informative for you. Electrolytes are serious business, and when you’re trying to dodge that hangover, remember to reach for the Super Supaus of the world, not the Pulse Waters. We’ll leave you with this video of Richard Dean Anderson doing tai chi. Stay hydrated.


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