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Absolutely unreal.

Bio Salud! Original Flavor Cultured Dairy Beverage (Walmart)

My wife and I like trying weird things from the international aisle of supermarket chains. Well, let me be clear: They’re probably not “weird” to anyone who’s not from North America. But we are, and a lot of the things from “foreign” lands have unique flavor profiles that can take some getting used to. (And some are just flat-out not worth acquiring the taste.)

Of course, this is just a generalization. There are also a good number of international products that don’t have this “tastebud learning curve”. Some naturally feel like they “belong” here. They might not taste “American-made”, but they have a flavor that feels right at home with unrefined American palates. One well-known example: The Mexican version of Coke, which is a sought-after alternative that many swear tastes better than the U.S. product. (My wife agrees, despite the only noticeable difference being the type of sweetener used: AmeriCoke uses high fructose corn syrup, while MexiCoke opts for cane sugar.)

It was during one such adventurous grocery trip that we initially discovered Bio Salud.

Actually, don’t go looking for it in the international aisle. It’s never there. Instead, you’ll often find them in the yogurt aisle, standing out like an outsider amongst more familiar brands. We were both intrigued: What did these tiny little bottles hold? And how had we never noticed these before?

For the unfamiliar, Bio Salud isn’t even yogurt, either. Instead, it’s a “cultured dairy beverage.” I have no idea what that means, exactly. So what do they do? What “purpose” do they serve? Supposedly, they have probiotics or something that help with digestion. Or whatever it is probiotics do. I honestly couldn’t give a shit. I just wanted to try them because they looked good and were cheap as hell. 

As it turns out: they are good. Like, really really good; almost life-changing. Absolutely delicious, with hints of “divine”. And yet, it has no discernible flavor. It’s sweet, and kind of fruity, but there’s also a little touch of sour. The closest thing I can think of that reminds me of the taste is an Orange Julius. Only minus the orange. Like the base of that drink with nothing else. Or maybe there is something else that I just can’t identify. Trust me, trying to explain it is as frustrating for me as it would be to anyone reading it. I haven’t had anything like it before.

Even better is the price: A six-pack of 2.1 oz. bottles costs just $1.16 at Walmart. It defies all logic that something this good can be so inexpensive. Even at Publix, where prices are marked up far higher than other supermarkets, these can still be had for $1.30. Apparently, it’s inflation proof; even through recessions and uncertainty (and Publix!), you can always count on these being dirt cheap. 

I think the main problem I have with them is that the 2.1 oz. serving size is way too small. It’s probably the “American” in me shining through; the land where bigger is always better. No matter what we’re getting – food, drinks, dessert, it doesn’t matter – we want a lot of it. That might be the main thing that has prevented them from “catching on” here. I mean, they’re apparently popular enough to be sold in almost every major supermarket, but I’ve never met anyone else who has actually tried one.

I’m not asking for a full 16 oz. can, or anything. Even I agree that would be too much. But 2 oz. is barely enough to even coat the tongue in its yogurty film. It’s not enough to savor, or to fully appreciate. One drink and it’s gone (although I savor them for two or three sips). Yakult, which is another company offering a similar beverage, has 2.7 oz. bottles and even those are noticeably bigger. I wish these would follow suit, but that’s just a minor quibble.

So what purpose do they serve? Who cares! All I know is that they’re tasty as hell. Even if I learned they were poisonous and ravaging my body from the inside, I’d probably down a few on my deathbed.

Overall: 9.5/10. I don’t really know the purpose of these, outside of the fact they’re loaded with probiotics. That word means nothing to me. But what does matter is that they’re cheap and utterly delicious. The flavor is rather indescribable; the best comparison I can offer is the taste of an Orange Julius. Only, minus the orange. It’s sweet and creamy with a hint of sour, culminating in a slight milky film that collects on the tongue. They might be an acquired taste – there’s nothing quite like it from American companies – but it’s one well worth acquiring.

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