Day 256: Bev of the Week – Limca

I hadn’t eaten good biryani in years. In probably over a decade. Far too long. In fact, I found it impossible to find acceptable biryani in New York. Every time I would order it, I’d spend way too much money to be sorely disappointed. I would always ask myself, “If this is truly the melting pot of America, then why is the Indian food so much better in Grand Rapids?”. Obviously, I wasn’t looking in the right places. I was always ordering from places close to home and I never lived in a neighborhood that Indian people flock to. You sometimes forget how hyper-local New York actually is. Ordering pizza in Flushing is akin to getting barbecue in Seattle. Respectively, ordering Ramen in Bensonhurst is akin to getting seafood in Kansas. If the right people don’t live there, then the right food won’t be made. And now that I live in a neighborhood that doesn’t exclusively specialize in Caribbean food, I figured I was ready to give biryani another shot. For old time’s sake.

When I was placing my order, I noticed that the restaurant also sold overpriced Indian sodas. I figured that if the biryani didn’t work out, at least I would have a bev to write about. It’s been a while since I’ve tried a new bev and it’s been even longer since I wrote about one. Probably since Coca-Cola tried to make me vomit. And surprise, surprise, the bev I chose is actually produced by Coca Cola of India. I don’t know if that should be comforting or concerning. Either way, I chose Limca. I’ve been on a huge lemon-lime kick lately, so I was interested to see how it added up toits American counterparts.

Created in 1977, they seemingly have not changed the can since then. This thing just screams the whole vibe. It looks like some old cleaning solution that you’d find in the very back of your Grandma’s sink. In 1988, they had to change the formula to exclude brominated vegetable oil, which doesn’t sound pleasant. Although it’s been commonly used as a separating agent in citrus beverages, it’s been known to have adverse side effects, such as memory loss, fatigue, tremors, and muscle coordination loss. It’s good to know that Limca changed the formula 33 years ago, but I was disturbed to discover that American companies have only stopped its use in the last few years. This whole time, the Gatorade, Mountain Dew and sweet sweet Sun Drop we were drinking was filled with brominated vegetable oil. From now on, I’m blaming my old Mountain Dew habit for my rapid memory loss. It’s not old age at all! It’s the damn vegetable oil!

Also, in 1990, Limca started publishing the Limca Book of Records. It’s an ongoing anthology showcasing world records owned by Indian people. This threw me through a loop. Because obviously it’s a play on the Guinness Book of World Records…which is also made by a beverage company. That’s right. The Guinness of world records is also the Guinness of stout beer. I don’t know why I never put two and two together. I had always assumed that they were completely unrelated. Are you telling me that a tire company also rates restaurants?!?

Yes. Michelin tires also publishes restaurant guides. We live in a simulation.

Going back to the bev, it opened with a very satisfying hiss. I wasn’t totally expecting that out of a product that travelled more than halfway across the globe to land in my mitts. Upon first taste, I could tell that the beverage was not American. It’s strange how easily that’s detected. American sodas are just so over-saturated in sugar. And the ones that aren’t sugary taste of nothing but chemicals. Limca, on the other hand, is not overpowering nor watery. It has a lot of flavor and the flavor feels natural. It doesn’t cling to your palette for longer than ten seconds. It gives you a brief treat and then it’s gone as soon as you swallow. It didn’t detract from the food I was eating at all. If I were to drink a Squirt with dinner, I would surely be tasting a Squirtified version of my dinner. This taste is a delight and it doesn’t linger, because it knows that you have more important things to do. I love a bev that considers my priorities. It was exactly what I needed. It washed away some of the spice and allowed me to get back to my food without any residual baggage.

I’d be more than happy to buy this bev again. Although I need to find a place to actually buy it in bulk, as buying it for $4 a pop is not economically feasible. And in case you were wondering, my search for good biryani is finally over. It was close to perfection. All of the right flavors were there and the chicken wasn’t scarce or dry. It brought a goddamn tear to my eye. I finally made it. No longer do I have to settle on mediocre Indian food. The good stuff is only a few blocks away. If you’re ever in Astoria and want to know what real biryani should taste like, hit up Namaste on 30th Ave. And while you’re at it, wash it down with an ice cold Limca. But don’t tell them that I sent you, because that place was real fancy and I looked like an asshole standing in it. Also, they don’t know who I am, so it’d be moot anyway.

– TeeCoZee