Sour Plum Drink (Suan Mei Tang – 酸梅汤)

Suan Mei Tang

The sour plum drink from Xian known as Suan Mei Tang – 酸梅汤 is above their homegrown orange soda as the most famous soft drink from the old Chinese capital.

A regular fixture not just in Xian, but also in the broader Shaanxi region in place such as Bao Ji, you will not see this is many other places, save those serving Xian specialities.

What the Suan Mei Tang – 酸梅汤?

Amazingly this drink has existed for an esteemed 1000+ years, originally being made during the Song Dynasty, before getting reeky popular under the last Ming.

In modern times it was partially popularized by a Hubei guy who made Xinyuanzhai (信远斋) brand, but it was Xian that started to drive its red resurrection using industrial means. It thus alongside Bing Fun became popular with the masses.

How is Suanmeitang made?

Officially Suan Mei Tang – 酸梅汤 is made from sour plums that are soaked in water, with sweet osmanthus flower blossoms and licorice root added. One boiled rock sugar is added, before muck is taken out and it is boiled again.

This overall gives it a sour taste, which almost has a salty hue to it.

Where can you get Suan Mei Tang – 酸梅汤?

Suan Mei Tang – 酸梅汤, or workers soup is available in some parts of China, but particularly so in Xian and Shaanxi. It can be served and sold in many ways. This includes a fine powder, not unlike “Tang” that need water added, or by the glass. This is particularly popular on Muslim Street.

Nowadays it can also be purchased by the glass bottle and can, much like Bing Fun. Regardless it tastes great and is the quintessential summer drink for all in Shaanxi.

And were that not enough? It will even mix with vodka and take the edgy off of a Baijiu…