Drinks

Have You Ever Heard of These Asian Drinks?

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Asian drinks

Asia is famous for its originality when it comes to cuisine. Their drinks are no exception. Some might say that the Asian delicacies are much more unique and flavorful than most western dishes, others will say that Asian cuisine is borderline abominable. We’ve put together a list of the strangest Asian drinks we could find.

Have you ever heard of these?

 

Snake wineSnake wine

Yes, you read that right. Snake wine is made from venomous snakes and alcoholic rice wine. It’s definitely an unusual drink, that is reserved for the most adventurous visitors - most locals haven’t even tried it. Snake wine is consumed in multiple countries across Asia, as it is believed to have various health benefits. According to traditional Chinese medicine, snakes have impressive invigorating and restorative powers. They can reverse hair loss, combat back pain, increase virility and combat arthritis and back pain.

The drink is prepared by putting an entire snake – sometimes still alive – inside a jar of alcoholic rice wine, which is left to brew for several months. The rice wine has an earthy, faintly sweet taste, and the snake adds a fishy or chicken-like flavor to it. On occasion, herbs and spices are added to the formula, which gives it a medicinal flavor.

For the really brave, there is an alternative to the drink, which does not call for marinating the snake. A live snake is killed on the spot and its blood is mixed with alcohol, which is then consumed immediately in the form of a shot immediately.

 

Yak butter tea

YakYou might have heard of the hyper-productive breakfast beverage known as bulletproof coffee. This keto diet trend is basically coffee mixed with butter, ghee, MCT oil or coconut oil in it. It’s energizing and satiating effects supposedly helps the body enter into ketosis faster and burn fat subsequently.   

Well, Yak butter tea is the original bulletproof tea that has been around for centuries. Dating back to the 7th century “po cha” was a daily ritual or many families in Nepal, Bhutan, India and Tibet. The bowl of yak butter tea is made with black tea (pu erh), water,  salt, yak milk and yak butter. The thick, soup-like mixture contains high-fat caloric content is a necessity in the Nomadic climate, where the altitude is high and the air is thin and cold. Contrary to popular belief, this drink is not consumed on a daily basis, as Yak butter is expensive and difficult to obtain. A lot of families in agrarian villages drink a simpler version of the tea, made of salt, yak milk and tea. The butter tea is usually prepared and served to guest and family during special occasions. Every town makes their own version of the tea. Some have walnuts in it, some are bland, some are very salty.

If you’re curious to try the drink yourself, but can’t afford a ticket to Tibet, there are several recipes online.

 

 

Kimchi juiceKimchi juice

Kimchi juice is exactly what you think it is. Kimchi, the spicy, salty, fiery fermented cabbage that is popular in Korean cuisine is also available in juice form. The kimchi juice is specially made kosher, organic, vegan and gluten-free. You can drink it straight from the bottle, or have it with other dishes. The antioxidants and healthy bacteria in kimchi are said to encourage a youthful skin and a healthy digestive system. Next to that, kimchi has recently been in the news, as it was found the be a cure for baldness. Scientist at Dankook University found  that a local kimchi drink in South Korea has helped thicken the hair of research participants. Apparently the growth showed a significant increase, even reversing hair loss in most men.

So, if your dad or boyfriend is balding, you know what to buy them!

 

Kumis

KumisKumis is a drink made by fermenting horse milk. It’s originally from Kyrzygstan, where everyone makes their own kumis. Visitors from the cities often go to the mountains to drink fresh kumis, which is believed to have many health properties. The milk is normally fermented over the course of hours or days, inside a wooden barrel or a smoke-cured goatskin bag (chanach) with a big stirrer inside the yurt. It has a slightly sour taste with a small percentage of alcohol. Some people say that the taste is quite similar to Kefir, but a bit stronger, since mare’s milk leaves a stronger alcohol content when being fermented, compared to cow’s milk. Kumis is usually enjoyed together with boorsok (fried dough) or fresh bread. It is not a strong drink, however the finished product is sometimes distilled to make much stronger with up to 12 percent alcohol contentl. If you want to try real Kumis, you”ll have to visit Central Asia, as mass-produced versions of kumis are made with fortified cow’s milk.

Fun fact: It’s said that a mare only lets one person milk her, each new person has to wear the clothes of the previous milker for the mare to smell and see.

 

 

BilkBilk

Compared to the previous drinks, Bilk seems quite normal. Beer + Milk = Bilk! Unfortunately, Bilk was only brewed one time with a very limited stock available in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido, Japan. The idea came from the liquors store owner’s son, who was working in the dairy farm industry. The local brewery produced the drink by using discarded milk from a huge surplus in the spring of 2006.  The beverage was 70% low-malt beer and 30% milk, marketed towards the female population to try and interest them in the traditionally male drink. With an alcohol content of 5%, it reportedly had a very fruity taste with a cloudy finish and went well with sweets.

There will always be some controversy between different cultures’ delicacies. These drinks are definitely unique. Don’t worry, not all drinks in Asia are this strange. There are enough drinks that you will probably like or even love (bubble tea!). From an outsider’s perspective, a lot of it can look undesirable, but you never really know until you try it for yourself. What better way to discover the Asian Cuisine and its drinks than actually going there?  

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