Deer Penis Wine
Chinese athletes have long used animal parts to improve their performance. In the 1990s, Chinese track coach Ma Junren credited a series of world records by unknown runners in part to a cocktail of turtle blood and caterpillar fungus (though to be fair, illicit testosterone use was suspected).But for the ultimate in sports medicine, some folks swear by deer penis wine, which despite—or, perhaps, because of—its alleged powers of healing, was banned from the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. Many traditional Chinese remedies, including those made with animal penises, contain herbal ephedrine, considered by numerous sports federations to be a performance-enhancing substance.Potions containing deer penises are also believed to enhance another type of performance, namely, “male sexual power.” They supposedly do so by increasing blood flow and the flow of qi, the fundamental life force in traditional Chinese medicine.One particularly potent variation, known as “three penis wine,” is made with the sex organs of dogs and seals, as well as deer. According to a team from National Geographic, three penis wine tastes “creamier” than wine made from mice, a concoction also popular in Asia as a cure-all for everything from liver disease to asthma. In the Korean version, 10–15 baby mice are drowned in rice wine and left to ferment for 1–2 years. After drinking the wine, which reportedly tastes “gasoline-like,” one is supposed to eat the mice. Thanks, but we’ll stick to aspirin.
Japan’s Abashiri Brewery is best known for its line of brightly colored beers that includes blue Ryuhyo Draft, red Hamanasu Draft, green Shiretoko Draft and pink/purple Jyaga Draft.The concept for the line revolves around the four seasons in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, where Abashiri is headquartered. Hokkaido lies on the Okhotsk Sea, an icy arm of the North Pacific Ocean located between Japan and Russia. The wintery Ryuhyo (“drift ice“) Draft is brewed with water from the melted icebergs which annually float past Hokkaido’s northern beaches. Its bright blue hue comes from seaweed extract, as does the spring-inspired green Shiretoko Draft, which uses fermented seaweed.Hamanasu Draft’s ruby tinge comes from the hamanasu fruit (“shore pear”) and represents the wildflowers that bloom along the sea in summertime, while the Jyaga Draft, made with purple potatoes, represents the fall harvest.
Leave it to the Japanese to turn Asian specialties into soda. Ramune produces its bubbly beverages in wasabi, kimchi, curry and teriyaki flavors, as well as less spicy—but no less unusual—flavors such as bubble gum, white champagne, lychee, blueberry and banana.
The word “ramune” itself is a Japanese adaptation of “lemonade.” And even better than the wild flavors is the so-called “Codd Stopper” bottle the soda comes in, which uses a glass marble and plastic ring instead of a cap, as shown in this hilarious commercial from Asian Food Grocer.The Codd Stopper takes its name from its inventor, Hiram Codd, a 19th century Englishman who developed it as a technique for bottling carbonated lemonade. A marble is inserted into the neck of the bottle and held in place with a rubber stopper (or these days, with a plastic ring). The pressure from the carbonation forces the marble against the ring to form an airtight seal.To open a bottle of Ramune, you punch out the center of the plastic cap with your thumb, and use it as a plunger to force the ball into the bottle. People have come up with all sorts of ingenious ways to get the marble out without breaking the bottle. And while we don’t recommend you try these dangerous techniques, you can certainly enjoy watching other people get the marble out by melting the plastic ring, or having at it with a knife and hammer.
Kapag mata, landi ang tawag dyan.