Chinese soy milk—the kind that comes in plastic jugs at Asian grocery stores, often unsweetened—is a very different substance than the soy milk you’re likely to find in the dairy case at a typical American supermarket. Chinese soy milk basically consists of ground soy beans and water. What you get is the pure, unadulterated taste of soy. Milk is an uncommon beverage in China, so Chinese soy milk is not manufactured to be a milk substitute the way American soy drinks are. Sometimes you see the Chinese stuff sold as “soybean juice,” an expressive and accurate phrase for the refreshing potion.

American soy milks, on the other hand, contain all kinds of other stuff. Sugar (sometimes euphemistically referred to as “evaporated cane juice”) gives a sweeter, more milklike flavor, and carrageenan gives a thicker, more milklike texture. Vitamins, salt, and vanilla or chocolate flavor are other common additives.

The bottom line: Chinese soy milk tastes completely different from American soy milk. And unlike any soy product you’re likely to find in an American grocery store, Chinese soy milk is usually very freshly pressed. If it’s still piping hot, you’ll know it’s only recently been squeezed from the bean, says Cathy. Try it hot or cold, and sweeten to taste. And definitely dunk freshly fried dough sticks into bowls of hot, sweetened Chinese soy milk, says Blueicus.

Board Link: Chinese Soy Milk Question

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