In the Philippines, Sarsi is a brand name for a sarsi (sarsaparilla) drink manufactured by Cosmos Bottling Corporation, a local company that is now a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. Cosmos Bottling Corporation was established in 1918, first known as Manila Aerated Water Company. It was formerly called as Cosmos Sarsaparilla until the 70s, which is now called Sarsi, which is a shortened name for sarsaparilla.
Its unique taste that separates it from other Sarsaparilla-based soft drinks (Root Beer) is attributed to the use of the sugar substitute, Saccharin. Even though in its "Regular" formula contains HFC (High fructose corn syrup) or cane sugar.
In Hong Kong, Sarsae (沙示) is the most popular brand of the sarsi drink. It is manufactured and distributed by the A.S. Watson Group, which pioneered in carbonated beverages in Hong Kong. The drink was the central plot device of a 1985 film called It's a Drink, It's a Bomb (starring George Lam, John Sham and Maggie Cheung), about a hand grenade disguised as a Sarsae cola. Its explosive power is activated once its ringpull is released.
In China, the drink's introduction can be traced back to the 1920s, when A.S. Watson began producing sarsi in Shanghai and other Chinese cities. In the 1940s, Li Zhiyang (李智扬), Li Guanling (李冠玲), Huang Youtong (黄油桶), Liang Hanqi (梁汉奇), and Wang Zhensan (王震山) were among eleven people who had worked in Watson's Canton and founded Asian Waters in Guangzhou to continue producing Sarsae there and in other mainland Chinese locations.
It is available in three varieties:
There are two local brands offering their own sarsi drink:
- Sá Xị Chương Dương by Chuong Duong Beverages.
- Wonderfarm Zizy by Interfood Shareholding Company.
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