Hot Coke as Medicine


In Hong Kong, the use of hot coke – a local delicacy – as a cold remedy is widely practiced throughout the region.

The Informant

The informant is a Hong Kong native, and we first met in high school. He used to tell me how hot coke “does wonders for your cold”. This was taught to him by his mother during childhood. He personally heats the coke with no additions and drinks it, although he did say that “some people add ginger or brown sugar” to taste. The informant claims that hot coke should be consumed for medicinal reasons instead of reasons pertaining to taste. He believes that hot coke is “the way coke was supposed to be drank”.


As folklore, hot coke is pertinent for its overlap between food and folk medicine. Although within the United States and most of the world coke is consumed cold, in Hong Kong it takes on a cultural meaning as the coke is heated to form something uniquely cantonese.