A spectre is haunting Vancouver—the spectre of a melon soda shortage.
Recently, my SO and I wanted to make some Japanese cream soda. The ingredients for it are essentially ice, melon soda, ice cream, and a maraschino cherry to garnish. Simple enough, right? Although you could buy the melon soda and simply decant it, we thought that it could be fun to make it from scratch with syrup. Melon syrup is a fairly niche product, but in a city as international as ours, it shouldn’t be that hard to find. With these naive thoughts, I set off on my quest.
As it turns out, there’s currently a melon soda crisis. Seriously, within the past few weeks, I’ve scoured every inch of the city to look for melon syrup. From calling up wholesalers, to visiting Japanese grocery stores, to even begging restaurants that typically have it on the menu, all the seemingly obvious places that ought to stock it ultimately yielded the same results: our search for melon syrup came up dry.
Luckily, we had a back-up plan. Forget about the syrup—we could just buy the soda and mix it ourselves. In the end, even that proved to be surprisingly more difficult than initially anticipated. After checking a couple grocery stores, we finally found it at a Japanese variety store. When we questioned the staff at the store about this phenomenon, they told us that stores in other locations didn’t even have it in stock. We just ended up getting lucky and went to one that had it. With all the ingredients in hand, we could at last savour the fruits of our labour.
Was it all worth it? Absolutely; they turned out yum. But going through all this brought the current issue with global supply chains closer to heart. Most of the things I need in my daily life have luckily remained readily available. However, there are times when some shortages have manifested themselves. From the unavailability of IKEA furniture, hikes in meat prices at barbecue restaurants, and this wild goose chase to find melon soda, I have a somewhat greater appreciation to all the things that are happening in the background to give us these products that enrich our lives. Hopefully next time, we’ll be able to make it with syrup.