#ThirstyThursday: Bottled Ovaltine Review: It Ain’t No Milo

I don’t know if you young ones know anything about the great, old tale of the chocolate malt drink wars.

This is a story that shall be told to the future generations to come.

It is the story of Milo, Ovaltine, and Horlicks.

But it wasn’t just a story; it’s an all-out war for conquest.

The result of the war is clear: when’s the last time you heard of the phrase “Ovaltine Van” or “Horlicks Van”? When was the last time you go to your Kopitiam Uncle and ask for Ovaltine Peng or Horlicks Peng? When was it you hear people going for McSpicy with Ovaltine or Horlicks?

Where is Ovaltine dinosaur and Horlicks dinosaur?

Why is it that SAF uniform is green, like Milo, and not red like Ovaltine or blue like Horlicks?

(Vico cries in the background somewhere)

Image: Rice Bowl Asia

You can find some blog posts like this from TimesofMyLife and GoodMorningYesterday comparing Ovaltine and Milo.

So at least we know that even despite the authoritarian control of Milo over our chocolate drink consumption, Ovaltine did try to put up a fight.

How War Changed Ovaltine

We all know that the losers of war can sometime still do great things. Japan went on to create anime and tenta- great technological improvements in electronics and perfecting everything they adopt from other cultures.

Really? A frigging bottle? You got drink Milo from a 500 ml bottle before or not? Everybody knows that chocolate malt drinks need to be Gao Gao (thick) and are better in short small quantities.

Unless they come in a van, of course. In that still go ahead and take a lot of 200ml cups. Taking in 500ml portions somehow makes it worse.

Though, it’s been a long time since I drank Ovaltine. It’s always Milo this, Milo that.

Checking the nutritional information and comparing to Rice Bowl Asia’s handy PDF reveals something: the nutritional information seems to be different from the powdered form.

For instance, Vitamin B2 for a 30g serving (I’m assuming 30g of powder) in their report is 3.1mg, but in this bottle, a 250ml serving is 0.8mg.

Why is this so I don’t know, but I’m guessing a cheap out or dilution.

Make sure to shake before drinking.

And then a pour to test the consistency.

When pouring, it seems like the viscosity of the fluid isn’t very thick.


And looking closer, you can see that there are quite a lot of sediments in the drink. It’s not a homogeneous mixture that looks perfectly blended.

Or… in another way of saying it…

It doesn’t look as nice as a nicely mixed cup of Milo.

What else to do other than threaten the cup of Ovaltine to do its best by putting it outside the 9th-floor window of a building?


After making sure the Ovaltine got the message, the photographer Jay-T took a sip.

“Tastes like dog food”, he says.

I don’t know how he knows what dog food tastes like, but let’s just say that the loser of war goes through hard times. I guess this means that sometimes eating dog food is part of the deal.

So… this is what losing a war tastes like…


Somewhat watery, not very chocolatey, and I’m pretty sure the packet version was better. The malt taste doesn’t seem to work as well with less chocolatey-ness. It’s also less sweet.

It’s different from my childhood memories, and it ain’t no Milo.

Rating: 2.5/5

Is Milo the only choice now? Was Ovaltine actually great the last time? I don’t really have answers without a time machine.

So instead, let me say this:

In secondary school, I liked Vico more than Milo.

*cue pitchfork raising*

This Singapore love story set in the 90s shows you why you should never wait for tomorrow. Watch it without crying:

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