I had been to this little grocer several times, since being in Korea. I honestly don’t even know the name of the place, but it’s exotic and interesting to me. So, sometimes I go there to find some new exotic treat or beverage to try. It’s actually a really small hole in the wall, about the size of a regular convenience store in the states, but it is packed out with as many different products as store twice it’s size. Each isle has boxes of various items lining the floor, leaving only a small foot path between rows. It has all of the typical items you’d find in a grocer: soaps, detergents, house hold items, produce, dry goods, frozen meats in refurbished ice cream freezers, and ice cream.
They also have a small beer and spirits section. Well, it’s mostly a beer and soju section. However, they also have several varieties of Chinese Spirits. Honestly, I’m a pretty adventurous person, and there isn’t much I won’t try at least once. This belief typically serves me well. But on occasion it bites me in the ass. Today would be a prime example of this.
Now, I will say that I probably should have learned my lesson about Chinese Spirits from the last time I got daring in that section. I tried a little bottle of Chinese vodka, and it was literally like drinking lighter fluid. Not a smooth quality Spirit all. Anyway, I looked at a couple bottles, and they were mostly all clear, vodka type substances with high alcohol content. Now, I suppose I did learn my lesson in a way because I didn’t go for the clear bottles.
Then I saw one, San Bian Jiu, that had a comparatively lower alcohol content than the other items, but still a bit higher than typical soju. Seeing the much lower alcohol content, I assumed it would be some type of rice wine. So, I went ahead and bought a bottle, 3500 won. It was more expensive than soju, so I of course assumed it would be better quality.
I’m not the type that typically goes all in, drinking my Spirits straight. I’m also the type that will crash out if a drink is too strong, and well it’s too early in the day for that. (Don’t judge me it’s my Saturday, even though it is Tuesday. I’m doing shift work okay.) So, anyway, I stopped and picked me up a Monster for a mixer. The sugar free energy drink cocktail always does me right.
Now, because this was my first time trying this particular Spirit, I wanted to see what it at least tasted like straight. It was… interesting. I think that would be the word for it. I mean I have tasted much worse things in my life. But this was kind of different. I didn’t think to smell it first. I’m not really one of those people that worry about the smell before I taste. And yes, that has occasionally been a down fall for me, as well. Anyway, at the first sip I could tell right away ginseng. I definitely had a very strong ginseng flavor, but with a somewhat musky after taste and odor. Mixed with the Monster it tasted mostly of ginseng flavored black cherry… with a mild musky after taste.
After I drank a couple cups, I started thinking about the ginseng flavor. Ginseng is a major natural medicinal used across Asia. So, I thought I would look up San Bian Jiu on Google to see if I could find something out about it. Maybe I was actually drinking an Asian medicinal! The very first article I that popped up was World’s Weirdest Alcoholic Drinks , and wouldn’t you know it. I had just consumed the very top weirdest of them all!
NO! San Bian Jiu isn’t Chinese for Chinese Rice Wine. Oh no! It is definitely roughly translated as Three Penis Liquor!! Oh yeah! THREE PENIS LIQUOR!!! Why is it called Three Penis Liquor you may ask? It’s called Three Penis Liquor because it is made by distilling brewed SEAL, DEER, and CANTONESE DOG penises!!! Oh yeah, I drank it! I drank it!!!!
Fortunately, I guess, it is considered an Asian medicinal. I wasn’t wrong there! It’s supposed to increase male potency and virility! It’s also been called the Viagra of the East. Now, I don’t know how true that is. I didn’t feel any more potent or virile. However, judging by the population size of China, I suppose a correlation could be made. Because apparently San Bian Jiu is a rather popular beverage choice in Shanghai and can be found in most grocers.
So, the lesson learned here would be to always! ALWAYS! Research any new fermented and distilled beverages you plan on trying prior to actually consuming them. Especially, if you don’t know the language written on the bottle. But, hey! At least I learned this lesson for you. I don’t think you could drink anything more bizarre than San Bian Jiu… Three Penis Liquor!