Does anybody know what this is and where I had it? I’ll give you a hint, even though it looks like a soup it’s not. It’s a beverage.
I’ll post an update in a little while when I hear some of your answers.
Some of you all guessed it. It’s Korean makgeolli (sometimes spelled makkoli) aka rice wine. Sweet in taste, almost like yogurt or a mild keffir in flavor and very similar to dong dong ju, what Brandi guessed below. The main difference between the two is that dong dong ju generally has a little rice floating in it.
I recently had this at Marietta’s Tofu Village Korean restaurant where it runs for $12.99 and is served the traditional way, in a large bowl and ladled into shallow wide cups/bowls.
The first time I had makgeolli was last year in Korea, and it was love at first sip. Koreans like to drink this lactic acid rich beverage with oily Korean savory pancakes or samgyeopsal (pork belly), which helps cut the richness and aid in digestion. You can find this at most markets that stock Korean items around town (Super H, Assi, Buford Highway Farmers Market) usually found by the beer and sake. Even though it’s generally termed as rice wine, makgeolli contains around 6-7% alcohol (hardly Pinot Noir territory).
I researched makgeolli for my blog last year and discovered that I generally only like the draft version of this rice drink. Draft makgeolli usually comes in green bottles like the ones pictured to the left. This version contains carbonation that adds a nice touch, where the ones you’ll find in large white plastic bottles are flatter in taste. My Korean father likes the flat version, specifically makgeolli from Idong-myeon, Pocheon (little north of Seoul) where he claims they have the cleanest water used in making the rice wine.
A lot of metro Atlanta Korean restaurants serve makgeolli now, but generally they still serve it in the bottle. If you get your hands on any be sure to shake it up. The beverage separates and does not taste as good if consumed without mixing.
- by Gene Lee, Food and More blog
– Gene Lee writes about International Cuisine for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Eat, Drink, Man… A Food Journal.