Take-out drink bag in Taiwan

Even after a year and a half here, there are still some things that are so strange, one never gets used to seeing them.  Things that, while make sense in a certain way, violate my perception of what’s normal.  The other day, I was at a restaurant when one such thing happened.

We had finished our meal – Korean BBQ – and were preparing to leave.  There was way too much food, so we asked for take-out.  As we walked to the counter, the waitress busied herself with packing the leftovers.  She brought them up to us, we paid and left.

When we got into the car, my gf said she was thirsty.  Briefly looking into the bag, I didn’t see a glass or liquid container of any sort.

“Oh. I think we forgot to grab your drink.” I said.

“No..no…it’s here.”  She pulled out this:


Oh my!  I had forgotten all about those.  Taiwanese weirdness strikes again!  A take-out drink bag!

In all fairness, it’s a pretty good idea.  There’s less material wastage, it’s cheaper than a take-out cup and it gets the job done.  Notice the straw for easy drink access and the prettily tied ribbon around the top?  Nice aesthetic touch…right?

Yet, my brain was still struggling with a drink bag – it’s just so…well…weird.  Kind of reminded me of my student days when we purchased wine by the bag instead of by the bottle for financial (or lack thereof) reasons.  Drinking anything out of a bag just seems very, very ghetto.

And then there are other questions that arise.  It can’t be that easy to pour a drink from a glass into a plastic bag.  Also, when you drive away, where do you put your bag?  It won’t fit in the cup holder, and I haven’t seen any hooks to hang it from.  Finally, in terms of sturdiness, this plasctic bag is much more likely to sprout a hole and pee your drink all over the place.

Imagine ever seeing this at a McDonalds drive-through in western suburbia?

As I’ve been doing for a while now, I just accept this as another weird/cool piece of Taiwan.


6 Responses to “Take-out drink bag in Taiwan”

  1. 1 June January 3, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I was in Malaysia in 1995 with my daughters and they sold these “cokes in a bag” at the beach. They got a kick out of them!

  2. 3 Aaron January 11, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Yup! Even in the Philippines where I grew up, local neighbourhood stores sell soft drinks in plastic bags. The store owner basically pops a 0.5L bottle open and pours it all in the bag, then sells you the thing for cheaper than if you bought it with the bottle.

    (If I’m confusing you, btw, I am from the Philippines. I am born Chinese-Filipino; but now that I’m in Canada, my patriotism is to Canada.)

    • 4 islandsidechronicles January 13, 2013 at 4:08 am

      It was definitely really odd seeing the “drink bag”. Anyway, hopw you have a great time in Canada, it’s a fantastic country. I plan to visit the Phillippines sometime, so any advice and or suggestions would be a great help!

  3. 5 Jon March 3, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Seems like some other countries are doing this, not only in Asia. I remember going to Mexico with my parents 24 years ago and went to buy a Sprite from a small shop. The lady at the counter gave us a glass bottle, but when she realized that we weren’t going to drink it on site, she took the bottle from me and poured the drink in a plastic bag with a straw. I really don’t know if the practice originated from south america, but it’s been running for a long time I guess 😉

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