Laoshan Cola (崂山可乐) is Qingdao’s answer to Coke. It is the local caffeinated/carbonated alternative with some traditional Chinese medicine added for good measure, including cloves (ding xiang/丁香) and ginger (liang jiang/良姜). Anyone who grew up in Qingdao in the 70’s and 80’s remembers drinking Laoshan Cola at a small stand or shop that required a deposit for the bottle. The drink causes instant nostalgia for many Qingdao natives and is enthusiastically sought out by tourists and homecoming locals alike.

The bottle says Laoshan Cola has been around since 1905.

Some people have gone so far as to suggest that Coke borrowed from Laoshan for their cola, but most would cite the design similarities of the two containers and Coke’s earlier prominence to suggest that influence was reciprocal if not all one way.The controversial redesign of the soda’s logo and labels aside, Laoshan Cola is appreciated for the taste. Some people say it is less fuzzy without the aftertaste of other colas, while some say “it tastes more like that gross South American ‘Inka Kola’.”

Laoshan Cola is available at almost any store or supermarket in Qingdao. Try major supermarkets like Carrefour, Jusco, and RT Mart for a wide selection of the drink in cans and bottles. Laoshan Cola is a part of the Laoshan Mineral Water group. Check out their website for more info.

Relevant Links:
Laoshan Mineral Water Official Website

Photo Credit @ Dear Ma

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