Hangover Cures from Around the WorldPriscilla Emmanuel
February 21, 2019
One of the best things about being an adult of legal age, is the ability to indulge in copious amounts of alcohol whenever the opportunity strikes. These more than likely happen during birthdays, anniversaries, festive seasons, the end of the work week, the middle of the work week, vacations, and you get the basic idea.’ Get togethers’ of any nature will always require some kind of alcoholic sustenance, if not, do we even deserve to call ourselves grown ups? However, the adverse after effects of making such questionable judgement calls such as “one more drink won’t hurt,” always require some kind of desperate cure to soothe the demons raging in our heads, and stomachs.
Here is a list of favoured hangover cures from around the world that have supposedly been proven to work. Of course for a diverse world such as ours, no one can claim to speak for everyone else. So let’s just say these are remedies typically known to be consumed by people in their respective countries.
1. Great Britain: Full English breakfast
It goes without saying that the ever-reigning breakfast of champs has been adopted the world over as a breakfast staple, and not just after a night of heavy drinking. It is still very much the go-to for people in the U.K. Fondly referred to as a “fry-up”, you’ve got all the basic essentials needed to combat a throbbing head, and dry mouth of the previous night’s boozy binge. Vitamins, protein, carbs, amino acids, and fat from all that grease help soak up the remnants of alcohol, after which, another nap is highly recommended following the self-induced food coma.
2. Peru: Leche de Tigre
Combined with fresh seafood or fish, leche de tigre better know as ceviche, it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids from fish, as well as vitamins B and C from its base of lime juice, coriander, garlic, onion, chilies, salt and pepper. Though it’s highly probable that this delicious starter might have been enjoyed in a fancy dinner the night before, well what do you know, here it is again for breakfast and it might not produce the same excitement. However, the energising properties of the liquid base also referred to as “tiger’s milk”, is said to bring your battled senses back to normal.
3. Germany: Katerfrüstück
That ceviche is looking a lot more appetising now isn’t it? Only if you’re not a fan of potent sour flavours. Our German friends are said to lovingly swear by their hangover breakfast of marinated herring wrapped around pickles and onions, also known as “rollmops”. The herring and pickles are a great combination that somehow restores lost electrolytes, returning vigour to your painful limbs, and unclouding all manner of brain fuzz.
4. Poland: Pickle juice
Something’s got to give over these Central Europeans and their partiality to vinegary type foods. But jokes aside, the sodium found in pickled products is said to be a good way to rehydrate after a night of excessive drinking. In addition to that, there was someone that woke up one day and asked themselves, why on earth were they torturing their faces with sour salt water and decided to turn the age old remedy into a somewhat pleasant soup instead. Creamy Polish dill pickle soup containing potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamins E and A, is a better alternative to plain old pickle juice.
5. Mexico: Menudo
Who knew that the stomach of a cow would come in handy in treating bad decisions made the night before. Spicy Mexican tripe stew made with chili peppers, onions, garlic, herbs, cilantro and eaten with a squeeze of lemon or lime, is guaranteed by our Mexican friends to breathe life back into you. The soup base itself sounds lovely, but no one knows how tripe plays an active part in aiding digestion of your already tender insides from all that dry heaving. Recipes do differ though, and you could make this with your meat of choice. It would probably be a good idea to make it before heading out to party, just so you can reheat a nice bowl of the stew for nourishment the next day. Or you could make sure to have a loving Mexican mother do it for you.
6. Italy: Espresso
The Italians seem like such a hardcore bunch when all they need is a minuscule sized cup of strong ground up beans to kick them back into gear. They are simply like, “Who needs food when we have the drink of the gods.” Who can argue with that. Especially when it’s reported that caffeine helps dilate blood vessels, which in turn gets rid of headaches must faster. So skip the flavoured lattes, and go for the real stuff. Viva l’Italia!
7. Canada: Poutine
Oh Canada, you wonderful frozen rock of beauty. Thank you for your gift to the world in the form of french fries and cheese curds topped with delicious gravy. This is something anyone, yes anyone would be happy to eat when one is thoroughly feeling like pavement excrement. It is smile inducing as well as alcohol absorbing, thus proving to be a tasty cure. Poutine, washed down with an ice cold can of Canada dry ginger ale will have you joining the rest of humanity again with seemingly working brain cells.
8. Japan: Umeboshi
The juxtaposition of having one of the longest life expectancies in the world, and being well-known for people passing out cold around their electric cities from binge drinking, truly makes Japan a complete mind boggle. It is an innocent conundrum at how they can drink themselves into a brain dead stupor every week, and still live to ripe old ages. Is it all that green tea they guzzle that’s packed with polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals? Is it all those omega-3 and 6 rich fish they eat everyday? It is probably because of their miracle-working pickled sour plums called umeboshi, that’s considered a cure-all for hangovers. These little magical fruits help improve liver functions that have taken a severe beating the night before, aid in digestion, and prevent nausea. Why are they not sold everywhere?
9. Croatia: Burek
What’s not to love about savoury pastry filled with meat and cheese. The Croats brilliantly came up with their beloved hangover cure called a burek, which very much resemble a kind of pie. With minced meat cooked in all its greasy goodness, mixed with oozy cheese and wrapped in egg-washed dough, this should be something cafes everywhere should be serving. Have it with an espresso. and you might just restore enough energy to carry on drinking for a second night in a row.
10. South Korea: Haejangguk
Soju is such a great drink. Light, low on congeners, pleasant tasting, and goes beautifully with either beer or even hard liquor. But it is a creeper. As in it will unknowingly creep up on you, bash you in the head, knock you unconscious, and text all your exes. If ever you are in S. Korea and you find yourself in this predicament, rest assured you will be pointed in the direction of the nearest restaurant serving steaming hot haejangguk (literally translated into hangover soup). Dating back to the 14th century, this hearty soup made with Napa cabbage, congealed ox blood, and soybean paste will have you feeling substantially better.
11. USA: Bloody mary
Though it is highly likely that our American friends might choose a strong coffee to nurse a hangover, the wider belief is that their hair-of-the-dog is the classic bloody mary. Tomatoes having a high concentration of lycopene, and vitamin-rich celery is great for pain relief when you are afflicted with a throbbing head. This would probably be more of a go-to instead of the less popular prairie oyster; unbroken raw egg yolk, salt, pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire and hot sauce. Swallowed in one gulp, it may actually induce more toilet heaving than be a respite from the main problem.
12. China: Congee
Rice congee is comfort food in most of the far East and Southeast Asia. It is easy to digest, has delicate umami flavours, and is a great source of re-hydration. There are a myriad of toppings for rice congee, it all depends on personal taste. Many will keep it simple by sticking to the basics of ginger, sesame oil, and white pepper powder to soothe one’s wrangled senses.
13. Denmark: Reparationsbajer
Here come the Danes, looking at everyone else saying, “What is a hangover? Here, have another beer.” Reparationsbajer roughly translates into ‘recovery beer’. It is hard to roll your eyes at such a blatant show of power.
14. India: Coconut water
India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and even Southeast Asian countries have an ample supply of coconuts. So it’s not just the subcontinent who would consider coconut water a great hangover fix. Even though they would reach for a freshly hacked coconut given the chance, they would still need to chase it with a piping hot tumbler of chai (tea). But above all, having your coconut water and chai with a quintessential South Indian breakfast of idli sambar (google it) is one of the best things on this planet! Yes, it might cause serious colon clearing diarrhea, but at least your taste buds will rejoice having had delicious coconut chutney and spicy lentil stew.
15. South Africa: Cream soda
Locally known as ‘the green ambulance’, South Africans will swear on their lives that a cream soda and a Steers burger is all you will need to sober up and feel semi-functional again. It does sound a lot more accessible than other sources claiming an ostrich egg is the only cure. They don’t just sell those at supermarkets you know.
16. Malaysia: Tom yum soup
This is a broad reach. With Malaysia’s food-centric eating culture, drinkers and intoxicated party-goers will not wait to deal with their impending hangovers. They will finish drinking by tucking into anything spicy, and carb-laden. It never fails to do the trick. Malaysians will seek out the spiciest tom yum joint they know, drag themselves to 24-hour mamak (Indian-Muslim eateries) restaurants, and pile plates high with rice drowned in assorted curries and sambals to gorge on before heading home.
17. Qatar/UAE: Shawarma
Yes they are Muslim countries. But Muslim countries where 80% of their populations are expats from all over the world. So one can safely say, there is a fair amount of drinking done. And although the diversity of people who live in these Gulf countries vary greatly, somehow they’ve adopted the simplest of local habits which is indulging in a shawarma before calling it a night. With the option of chicken, or meat (beef/lamb), shawarmas or doner kebabs, are wrapped tightly in beautiful Turkish bread, filled with added french fries, garlic sauce, and spicy harissa.
18. Scotland: Irn-Bru
The highlands of Scotland. They are draped with the stories of bloody battles for freedom, the strong arms of people who like to throw boulders around for fun, and the ability to drink any non Scotsperson under the table. Then there’s Irn-Bru, Scotland’s other national drink next to whisky. It is not so much a remedy as it is a liquid companion to aid in more drinking. The love for Irn-Bru is so unparalleled, it almost caused a violent revolt when McDonald’s dared to open in Scotland without their precious orange drink on the menu.