For those readers who, like myself, can't read Mandarin, I'll translate- this is a bottle of pomelo flavored Sprite. And for those readers who, like myself one year ago, don't know what a pomelo is, I'll explain- it's a large bowling ball sized fruit, similar to a grapefruit, but with a slightly sweeter and less bitter flesh. Native to Southeast Asia, it's also known as Chinese Grapefruit .Though it's tough work extracting the juicy pink segments from the thick, fibrous skin, the tartness of the fruit is rather enjoyable, and it's the basic ingredient for one of my favorite Thai dishes, a tangy salad called yam som o.
Considering that pomelo is a relatively Asian specific fruit, I was a little surprised to see it marketed as a flavor for an international soda. Primarily for that reason, I picked up a bottle. The product itself wasn't terribly impressive: not particularly evocative of a pomelo's flavor, and marked by the slight sugary sliminess of regular Sprite. But at the very least, it had me thinking about the intersections between consumerism and globalization. On one hand, the fact that this Sprite is pomelo flavored is a comforting sign that even in the face of international trends and dictates of taste, regional communities are able to assert their own tastes to the degree that an international corporation would develop a unique product as a response. On the other hand, is this just a clever tactic for an international corporation to expand its global economic territory?