It just occurred to me that there’s no Chinese word for soda water/selzer, meaning plain carbonated water.

There is of course qi4shui3 which literally means “carbonated water”, but it has gone thru a meaning shift and right now refers to carbonated soft drinks like Coke and Sprite.

I’ve been away from Taiwan for a while, but I don’t remember seeing plain seltzer on the shelves of 7-11, among the oceans of wulong tea. Can someone tell me whether seltzer in Taiwan is maidedao maibudao, and what is it called?

What IS sold in Taiwan is lots of bottled drinking water, which all carry the incorrect label kuang4quan2shui3, or “mineral water”, although they have negligible mineral content, and are really just spring water (hopefully). The correct label would be just simply quan2shui3, which is not commonly used.

I think the only real mineral water in Taiwan is imported stuff like Evian, which still has minimal mineral content. I’m currently staying in a European country with one of the highest levels of top-soil thermal reserves and number of hot springs in the world, so i’ve become more sensitized to this issue. Here, pretty much everything that comes out of the ground and gets bottled is true mineral water, typicall with 500 - 1500 mg/l mineral content, so that you can really taste the difference. Ironically, Taiwan is known for its hot springs, but there’s no culture for drinking the stuff.

Ideally …

  • there should be a new phonetic translation of soda, such as “sha1da3” or “suo3da3” to represent seltzer water

  • kuang4quan2shui3 would be reserved for bottled spring water which exceeded a minimal mineral content, and th rest would be just quan2shui3

  • if you’re in the business of boiling tap water and then selling it in bottles, you would be required to label it what it is - kai1shui3

Bonus Question …

  • how would you translate club soda ?

shuda shui is very common here - I ask for it in bars and night clubs every time I get stuck drinking cheap scotch. Don’t know the characters though.

Mangalica, are you going to start a new business importing Hungarian mineral water? Now is the time - they’re on the verge of a riot in certain parts of Taiwan where they haven’t had clean running water for many days.

Not a bad idea, Juba, maybe I can import a few cases first and start with a market acceptance test at the Corner Cafe?

Real mineral water is an acquired taste - Jenny hates it - but I think the Taiwanese consumer will eat/drink anything as long as you convince him that it’s healthy.

What would be a good sales pitch? Maybe “Don’t just soak in it, drink it!”