A few months back, I had a very bizarre culinary experience. For lunch, I found myself at a table with a Chinese woman, an American who's worked in China as long as I have, and an American visiting from the States.
In order to quench our thirst, we ordered the ubiquitous "da ke-le" (Big Cola — a liter bottle of Coke). When it arrived one of the Americans said "hey, let's ask them to heat up the coke and put ginger in it." I thought perhaps he'd lost his mind, but the others got all excited said they thought that was a great idea.
Apparently this is a popular drink sensation sweeping the land that they all seemed to know about but had somehow escaped my attention.
25 years of in China has made me learn how to tolerate drinking warm or room temperature Coke. It's not my favorite taste sensation, but there is often no choice in the matter. But hot Coke? With ginger? Has the world gone mad?
Because I wasn't enamored with the thought of drinking this hot Coke concoction, and was fairly confident that my taste buds wouldn't take kindly to the experience either, I grabbed the bottle from the waitress before she took it away and poured some into my glass.
About five minutes later she returned with a large glass teapot full of hot Coke with pieces of ginger, dates, and raisins floating in it.
So, what does hot Coke taste like? Well, hot flat Coke is just hot flat Coke. Kind of yuck.
Sorry folks, it's just not 'the real thing.'