Shanghaiist prefers sugar-free bevarages. We’re not getting any younger. And we’d prefer our waistline not get any bigger. (And if it does, we’d prefer it be the result of consuming good beer.) We’ve been known to have friends who happen to be flight attendants bring us packs of Crystal Light from back home so we can satisfy our cravings for sweetish beverages that aren’t full of sugar. In China, there are few sugar-free soft drink options (unless you go to City Supermarket). You’ve got Diet Coke … and that’s about it, unless you count water and tea. So, we were pretty excited to find that Guangdong-based drink company Mizone (脉动) has recently launched a sugar-free flavor called 冰莓 (bing mei or maybe “ice berry”). It’s not bad (and cheap, maybe 3 kuai) and kind of similar to Gatorade’s sugar-free Propel Fitness Water. But we hope they launch some flavors other than 冰莓. Look for the drink in most convenience stores and supermarkets.
How do you tell if it’s sugar free? Look for these characters: 无糖 (wu tang or “no sugar”). This works for other kinds of products, too, like candy (some sugar-free stuff is starting to become available) and gum (thanks to Xylitol, we enjoy quite a wide selection of sugar-free gum here in China).
And yes, knowing how lax China can be with regulations, we do sometimes wonder if the “sugar-free” stuff we eat and drink here is really packed with sugar, kind of like the non-non-fat frozen yogurt in that Seinfeld episode. But like Newman, we’ll risk it: “I don’t care. It was good. I was enjoying it.”
For a moment we were excited and thought that perhaps all this time one of the world’s great rap groups had been rapping about their love for sugar-free beverages. But alas, Wu-Tang Clan (武当帮) was inspired by a famous Taoist mountain in Hubei.