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Underexplained Lists

Meals That Are Best To Finish With A Cold Can Of Soda, Ranked

Monkeys eat fruit and drink soda in front of an ancient temple during the annual "monkey buffet" in Lopburi province, some 150 kms north of Bangkok on November 27, 2011.
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP via Getty Images

Earlier today, Tom Ley dropped the following tweet into our Slack:

This dumpling-drink combo naturally led to a discussion about which meals pair best with an ice-cold soda, and how the more sodium the meal has, the better the sugary drink will taste. It helped that this conversation happened in the middle of summer and right around lunchtime. I am not the most adventurous Defector staffer when it comes to food—Samer ranked sushi highly on his personal list, but I’ve had sushi maybe four times in my life and never with soda—but I am an incorrigible consumer of full-strength sodas, so I volunteered to write a list of some of my recent meals, ranked by how much they were improved with a post-meal can.

  1. Fried chicken
  2. Chicken parm sandwich
  3. Bacon cheeseburger
  4. Pepperoni flatbread pizza
  5. Korean BBQ wings
  6. Popcorn
  7. Squid-ink paella
  8. Al pastor tacos
  9. Crab legs with garlic butter
  10. Szechuan dry pot pork
  11. French fries
  12. Pan-seared pork dumplings
  13. Steak teriyaki
  14. Lasagna
  15. Arepa de pabellon
  16. BBQ spare ribs
  17. Seafood gumbo
  18. Everything bagel with cream cheese (while hungover)
  19. Everything bagel with cream cheese (while not hungover)
  20. Kale salad
  21. Getting hit with horrible indigestion
  22. Chocolate chip pancakes