So what are the latest crazes sweeping China? Well, of course, these days SARS panic has superseded all. I remember just a week ago, though, when SARS was still a pretty distant threat. At that time instead of buying face masks, everyone was buying a brand new drink called Nongfu Guoyuan, or Farmer’s Orchard. At most places you can buy the regular 600 mL (20 oz.) size for 3.5 rmb (US$0.42), or the same size with a flip-top lid for 3.8 rmb (US$0.46).
So what’s special about this drink? Well, first, it boasts at least 30% fruit juice. This might not seem like a whole lot to you, but it’s impressive to anyone who’s ever been in China for any length of time and naively bought “fruit juice” only to receive some watered down, sugary, “fruit-like” concoction with only 10% real fruit juice, if that. 30% sets a new standard, and people are responding. Second, the drink is really good! It tastes like real fruit juice! I’ve been drinking it a lot lately, even though it’s a bit more expensive than similar drinks, which tend to be in the 1-2 rmb range.
The only downside is that the drink is undeniably a shameless V8 Splash ripoff. The package design, the size, the taste, the fruit juice blend (how many fruit drinks include carrot juice??), the way that it is marketed as a healthy drink, the fact that it needs to be shaken before drinking…. Still, it’s good. I will keep drinking it.
Ahh, 5 years later and it’s still popular! I first was introduced to this brand of drink from the cute commercial on TV that runs frequently, with the good-looking young woman drinking it and saying how by drinking Nongfu Guoyuan drinks, she’s actually consuming “this many amount” of various fruits.
There’s quite a large variety of drinks from Nongfu Guoyuan, and the majority of the small bottles (around 500 mL) have at least 30% fruit/vegetable content in them. The taste is pretty good and authentic — but be sure to look for the 100% varieties in the supermarkets (I haven’t seen any 100% kind in small shops)! They’re sold in large bottles and come in single-fruit/vegetable flavors only (not blends, like in the 500 mL bottles), such as orange, tomato and carrot.
It’s a yummy concoction, and it’ll compliment your health as well! The prices for the 500mL bottles are still around 3.5 yuan, which is now about 51 US cents.
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I’m an American who has lived in China about 5 years now. I fell in love with this fruit drink a few years ago when we lived in Haikou, Hainan. The best way to drink it is to put it in the freezer for a little while and half freeze it. Then it’s a really tasty slushy!