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11:00 a.m. Mon.-Sun.: Best Selection of Asian Soft Drinks 

99 Ranch Market

The beverage selection at 99 Ranch truly boggles the taste buds. Where else can you choose from Taiwanese white gourd soda, Mr. Brown's iced coffee, carbonated milk drinks, and at least four different types of grass jelly drink? There's something for every palate here, whether you crave something sweet, sour, salty, or savory -- or something in between, such as a buttery-flavored egg soymilk drink or a faintly musty-tasting hawthorn berry beverage. Though 99 Ranch, part of a West Coast chain of Asian supermarkets, doesn't make regional or ethnic distinctions in most of its aisles, its Richmond store keeps Asian sodas separated from their overhyped and overcarbonated Western counterparts. When you're done sampling, you might want to hang on to your empties, some of which are shelfworthy pieces of graphic design. Check out the maroon Hey Song sarsaparilla can, whose wavy white and gold logo evokes the Pepsi and Dr. Pepper logos of the late 1970s. Or for pure design simplicity, you can't beat a bright yellow can of refreshing Apple Sindra. Pop art, indeed.


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