Disclaimer: the following is not the reason why I like 黑松沙士, Hey-Song Sarsaparilla soft drink (Taiwanese Root Beer)

A blogger said Hey Song was akin to a really bad phosphate, a cross between root beer and flouride mouth wash… I like to think Hey-Song is/was the reason why I prefer root beer to any other CSD (carbonated soft drink) besides Mexican Coke.

With that in mind, you’ll understand my pleasant surprise when I read this post earlier last month (October ’08). I knew of this joint, but had forgotten all about it since moving back to LA. And then it found me. And then I found IT! Even more brilliant is the fact Real Soda in Real Bottles is a hop and a skip away from work!

No detailed taste test here because I haven’t sampled the 5 root beers, but let’s just say Boylan’s is like drinking PURE effin sugar cane. You think Mexican Coke is sweet/calorific at 150 calories per serving? no man, Boylan’s Root Beer OWNS destroys your sweet tooth at 170 calories per 12 oz bottle and 42, that’s FORTY TWO grams of sugar. Hey, at least it’s sugar cane and not HFCS…

Part of the AWESOMENESS of my purchase involves a famous pastry chef, a partner of an elite husband/wife chef team, from Chicago: Gale Gand. She’s been brewing her own root beer to serve at their restaurants for years, but I never had the (mis?)fortune of dining at Tru/Tramonto’s so.. I had to have a bottle. Here’s a picture (mine’s coming):

courtesy of Suite 101

The other AWESOMENESS is the highly touted Sparkys root beer.

What warrants a discussion for all who are interested purchasing soft drinks from Real Soda is the fact that, hard as they may pretend, there is no garage band feel to this wholesale outfit. It’s in an industrial part of Gardena, your chance of seeing someone who might be able to help you at the front door is 50/50, and your chance of reaching a customer service rep is also 50/50. You have to buy in cases of 24, but somehow, due to my beyond-luck, a case of 5 mixed products eventually ended up in my trunk, tho not without multiple visits involving 2 extended lunches.

In regards to my selection, Boylan’s, Sparky’s and Rat Bastard are all available @ BevMo. Unless you’re buying in cases, unless you’re buying VERY rare root beer, there is no real reason to come to Real Soda and deal with the purchasing headache.

PS. here’s a little history on Hey Song of Taiwan

Real Soda in Real Bottles
2140 W 139th St
Gardena, CA 90249
(310) 327-1700



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  • i love root beer and vanilla ice cream!

  • I love Hey Song Sarsaparilla. Did your mom ever put salt in it since it’s good for your throat I believe?

  • TonyC

    ahhh susy, i love root beer floats too.. cept these root beers are so good, and so sweet, i’m afraid of adding ice cream..

    danny, no man, my mom didn’t let me drink soft drinks much. i had to sneak ’em in.

  • Sook

    good to know. not that i would have trekked all the way to this warehouse of glassed sugared soda but hey, you’ve saved me the mental gymnastics of wondering if i should.

  • I’ve taken you’ve been to Galco’s?

  • I do need a little GO ACTION. Now I need to run to 99 Ranch to get me some Hey Song, even though I’m not exactly a fan. But it brings back memories of Taiwan. *misty-eyed sigh*

  • bevmo really does have great deals on drinks!

  • Not to worry… we are building a ‘factory outlet center’ which will make coming by for random bottles much easier. We just moved into that huge warehouse and are still sorting everything out; not set up for individual visits all that well yet… but we will. Glad you liked our drinks; that is the main thing and we’ll work hard on making it all more user-friendly. You are correct, many of these sodas can be found at BevMo or Bristol Farms or online at popsoda.com. Glad you liked the root beers; Sparky’s is my favorite. You can save some money buying by the case at Real Soda; the individual bottles will become easier and more attractively displayed hopefully by this summer.

    What is Hey Song Sarsaparilla; is it in glass bottles? Isn’t “Hey Soy” the word for “soda” in Cantonese (isn’t it “Chi Shuei” in Mandarin)? We sometimes get “Sarsi” which is the sarsaparilla of Manila 🙂

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