Popular Drinks in China: Drink Like the Locals

One of the most confusing things that can face a tourist in China — particularly a Western tourist — is a fully stocked supermarket shelf. Everything is written in a different language, there are few of the brands you recognize and it’s hard to know what’s good and what’s not, and more importantly, what everything contains.

In this article we’ll look at some of the most popular drinks in China, drinks you should seek out during a visit to this part of the world.


If you like Gatorade, Powerade and Lucozade, brands you might have a hard time finding in China, then keep an eye out for C100. This is a very popular electrolyte drink and one that comes in a number of sharp and tangy flavors, including lemon and grapefruit. This is enriched with electrolytes and vitamins, with a sweet and very pleasant taste.

Salted Soda Water

Yes, you read that right. Salted Soda Water was actually once the most popular drink in China and it is still very popular to this day. This is a sweet drink, but not overly so, and there are a number of flavors to choose from. Don’t worry about the name though, this is basically a fruity soda, but one that might taste a little differently from the ones you are used to.

Tsingtao Beer

This is actually one of the most popular beers in the world and is China’s main export when it comes to alcohol. This is not unusual in taste from the standpoint of a Westerner, as it’s not unlike a European beer. Tsingtao Beer can be found in local stores, supermarkets, restaurants and anywhere else where alcohol is sold.


Another alcoholic drink, this one is unlikely to get you drunk as it’s only 1%. It is essentially a very light beer and one which is often flavored with hints of fruit and herbs. It is amber in color and it was actually brought over from Russia, and has been a staple drink in China for over a hundred years.

Soybean Milk

Soybeans are big across the east and are a great source of protein. Soybean milk is basically a protein shake, and one that contains all of the amino acids your body needs if you workout hard and often, as well as a huge dose of protein. The drink has a sweet taste and can be purchased in many locations, including stores, restaurants and supermarkets. Many people also make this drink at home.

Sinkiang Black Beer

So named because it is black in color, this beer is not as popular as Tsingtao, but it does have a unique flavor and we would recommend giving this one a try. It has a very strong taste and may therefore be ideal for stout and ale drinkers, though if you prefer lagers and light beers, you might want to give this one a miss.

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