Soju

Let me take a step back and explain. My better half was out of the country, managing family matters for nearly six months, while I was living the bachelor life, last year; and then again for a little over two months, this year.

During that time, she started watching Korean soap operas. Because she was watching them, I started watching them too (also, peppering my Korean viewing habits with some ultra violent action movies). Now, we watch them together, though our tastes differ slightly.

In those soap operas, characters drink a lot of soju, a clear, malted liquor, similar to sake, but with a much rougher feel. At it’s best, it’s taste could be compared to a combination of the flavors of vodka (real vodka, not whatever flavored garbage they’re selling to college kids with fake IDs) and sake. At it’s worst, it tastes like something that could power your riding lawnmower. I like it, either way.

I like it, but it can be damnably expensive. Schneider’s in DC carries almost everything, but it’s soju options consist of an overpriced ($33.99) bottle or a Japanese brand that costs less ($17) but whose taste is more on the lawnmower fuel side. Presumably, I could go to an H Mart (a Korean grocery store chain), but I mostly go to one in Montgomery County, Maryland, where local laws don’t allow the store to sell alcohol. I could go to Virginia, I suppose, but my better half and I were walking around the edges of neighborhood when we passed a liquor store that had a Korean looking fellow behind the counter and another Korean looking fellow chatting with him. We went inside and were directed to nice looking bottle of $9.99 soju. Haven’t tried it yet, but it looks very promising.

The man behind the counter told use that soju had become wildly popular in Korea again because of the same soap operas that turned me onto it. Twenty years ago, only old men would have been seen drinking, but now, because it featured so prominently in beloved television shows, people everywhere in the country were quaffing unhealthy quantities.

So, I guess the point is, I am as shallow as a Korean soap opera buff. Hurray for me, I guess.

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