Is the Middle Eastern version of Vimto better than the UK variety?

Two journalists from 'The National' make a spirited defence of each version

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Vimto may arguably be the number one drink of choice when it comes to the Ramadan iftar table, but it is also a tale of two flavours when it comes to bottles sold in the Middle East and North Africa, and in the UK.

While those in the Mena region love the sweet and concentrated flavours of the century-old berry cordial, customers in the UK are served a more diluted version, requiring less water to mix it before consumption.

This invariably leads to the question: which is better?

Making a case for both versions are The National journalists, special projects editor Juman Jarallah and arts and culture features writer Saeed Saeed.

Their spirited debate involves the Mena and UK varieties praised and criticised for their excessive and lack of sweetness, in addition to battling over whether mineral or sparkling water is best to dilute the drink.

Jarallah says she is a big fan of the “Arab version” of Vimto, describing it as a staple of her family’s iftars. While admitting the drink “packs a punch” on the sweetness scale, she says the sugar rush is part of the appeal.

Saeed, on the other hand, has gone sour when it comes to the excessive flavour and dryly states: “I am seeing stars. This needs to be diluted by far.”

When it comes to trying the UK version, Saeed hails it as “perfect and smooth.”

Jarallah is not so impressed, decrying the aftertaste of what she identifies as artificial sugar for spoiling the overall mix.

While both agree to disagree when it comes to the merits of both versions, Vimto is set to be one of the first of many debates on the culinary and cultural value of dishes and treats the region holds near and dear.

From what comprises the perfect hummus, to whether stuffed falafel is an insult to the original plain version, check out The National and join in the conversation by sending your suggestions on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Updated: April 28, 2022, 2:49 PM