For those of you that don’t really know me, let me say that I grew up in Ft. Worth, Texas (in the United States). I have very fond memories of my 9 years there and still call that State the home of my youth. During the 1970s, my father began running as part of his health care.
It was during these daily four-mile runs that I was first introduced to Gatorade. Back then, it wasn’t available everywhere, but only as a powder you’d mix yourself and store in the household refrigerator. This is what we did and he preferred that beverage to sip after his long runs than anything else. I also became hooked on it and asked to have it at my youth soccer games.
Over the years, Gatorade has changed and unleashed a huge array of flavors aside from the orange and lemon-lime of my youth. It’s also one of the reasons that many Americans are fat, since there’s so much sugar in the drink and people don’t realize that if you drink it as it was not intended, you risk some serious complications.
That being said, I still love it and prefer getting that drink when I get the chance, since the carbs and electrolytes can do me a little good (especially since I don’t eat all that much and try to cut out the salt). However, I’m not much of a fan of Gatorade here in Korea.
I’m not sure what changes they made to the formula were made when they unleashed the produced in Asia, but I can tell you that the lemon-lime flavor that I love so dearly is not what is sold here. In fact, it tastes watered down. In fact, the color of the beverage is anything but electric green. It has a pale green appearance, indicating its weaker flavor.
So what are your drinking options then? Sure you can get the Gatorade (and I have seen Powerade here too), but why not go native?
Beginning in the 1980s, A Japanese company started manufacturing Pocari Sweat. They bill it as an ion supply drink – essentially a beverage deigned to give you back your electrolytes. Since sweat isn’t necessarily a word that resonates with Japanese (and now Koreans), it was easily marketed as the drink you consume when you sweat… (not that you’re drinking sweat).
Pocari Sweat also has a pale color and lemony-lime taste. It isn’t that strong of a flavor and the reason why I think Gatorade toned down their taste. Of the two beverages, I’ve found that I prefer Pocari Sweat over the Korean version of Gatorade. A 245ml can of Sweat runs about W600, while the 240ml Gatorade is W450. This of course is dependant on where you buy things, since I was able to pick up a can of Sweat one day on the street for W500.
Some foreigners really don’t like the taste of Pocari Sweat. I think they visualize that they are actually drinking sweat, rather than just the beverage. As with everything, I think it’s a matter of perspective, since I don’t really like Powerade back in the States.