Pepsi Japan is releasing a special soda made specifically to pair perfectly with fried chicken.
Fried chicken lovers know how the dish tastes best with refreshing sips of carbonated drinks, such as cola or beer, in between each bite.
Pepsi Japan has formulated a special soda to maximize this specific food experience. “Pepsi Zero Karaage Senyou Cola,” which translates to “Pepsi Zero Exclusively for Japanese-Style Fried Chicken,” is a zero-calorie, clear and colorless drink similar to Crystal Pepsi. By pairing Pepsi Zero Karaage Senyou Cola with karaage, the bubbly drink is meant to rejuvenate the palate. Pepsi Japan has reduced the quantity of sweetness, fragrances and sharpness of the original formula and added more dietary fibers to balance the greasiness of a hearty plate of karaage. The black packaging with speckles of dew drops alludes to the fizzy nature of the drink. The dark color compensates for the lack of color in the drink and is reminiscent of the original cola’s color. In the front, a picture of Japanese-style fried chicken sizzling demonstrates the specific intention of the drink but could be misinterpreted for karaage-flavored Pepsi if the consumer cannot read kanji.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
Pepsi Japan released a video advertisement on May 29. It features the comedy duo Joyman, composed of Shinya Takagi and Kazuyuki Iketani, competing to woo taste testers as Nama Pepsi — a “raw” version of the cola released last summer — and Karaage Senyo.
Shinya Takagi advocates for Nama Pepsi, saying in the advertisement, “Pepsi nama is what match the best with karaage! So yummy and refreshing, let’s go buy it!”
Kazuyuki Iketani raps, “Your rap is not the best. Refreshing oil, this is it, refreshing and make you feel like your back froze like when your wife is scary. Pepsi in black, we made it, it’s our new face, this drink is specially for karaage.”
The first taste tester is Summer Uika, a Japanese actor, who takes a ravenous chomp of karaage with chopsticks and sips on Nama Pepsi. She then tears another chunk of karaage, the crisp amplified to highlight the fried dish, and gulps from a bottle of Pepsi Zero Karaage Senyou Cola. For both taste tests, she gasps from refreshing deliciousness but cannot decide which drink is better. The draw from the Joyman competition suggests that Pepsi encourages consumers to try both drinks out for themselves to decide which drink pairs best with fried chicken.
The limited-edition Pepsi Zero Karaage Senyou Cola will be sold in 600-milliliter bottles starting on June 14.