Japan is no stranger to the land of crazy cola drinks, with recent years seeing an influx of barmy beverages hit convenience store shelves, ranging from the relatively tame Coca-Cola peach Coke to the the more experimental Coca-Cola Coffee and Christmas-cake flavor Pepsi, and even Salty Watermelon Pepsi. But for a truly out-there cola concoction, you’ll need to take a step away from the two big cola giants and look to a more avant-garde supplier of fizzy oddities. A company by the name of Takuyo Fisheries Industry which hails from Niigata Prefecture, has released a signature cola drink infused with the delicious taste of, um, crab, and we figured it was our duty to drink a bottle of the stuff and let you all know whether this is a drink that will really have legs in the cola industry or not.
The rather stylish bottle design immediately caught our eye… the retro-style katakana font reads: “Kani (crab) Cola” and is romanized above as “Cani-Cola.” At the very top of the bottle, it reads “Crab flavor? A strange flavor cola!”. Hmm, doesn’t the red and white style label actually look kind of familiar? Um, moving swiftly on, let’s get on with the taste test!
Now, since Takuyo Fisheries Industry specializes in aquatic foodstuffs and is not a dedicated soft drinks maker, even though we had high hopes for this beverage we were mindful to keep our expectations in check regarding carbonation levels, thirst-quenching ability, and other yardsticks by which you might measure a fizzy drink.
That being said, our resident guinea pig, I mean, taste-tester, Tasuku, had this to say about the drink: “At first, I was concerned there would be a distinct whiff of fish emanating from the drink’s bubbly emissions. To my pleasant surprise, the beverage registers naught but the pleasant scent of familiar cola. I took a sip. Alas! The palate reads only that of a pedestrian, humble cola. But wait…”
“…fishy… about this…”
At this point, Tasuku was rendered temporarily speechless and unable to accurately summarise the experience. “It’s like cola, but also really crabby” was pretty much the best we could get out of him. Clearly, it’s the kind of thing you have to experience personally to really “get” it, like root beer or cilantro, or anime-song-only karaoke.
If you’re interested in trying a bottle of this snappy beverage, a small 200-milliliter (6.8-ounce) bottle will set you back around 300 yen (US$ 2.71), which is quite pricey for a cola drink… a 500-milliliter bottle of one of the two big- brand colas is only around 190 yen, for comparison. Still, you’re paying for the novelty factor of drinking liquidated crab, plus as we mentioned above, Takuyo Fishieries is still a novice to the cola game and not quite in the position to take on the cola giants re: competitive pricing.
Oh, and one final word on Crab Cola before we go… the label lists powdered crab as an ingredient, meaning those with shellfish allergies would do well to steer clear of the product. But don’t worry, Japan still had plenty of gross-out drinks available for you to try. Maybe we suggest the Princess Urine Sour as one example? You can thank us later.