Birak Shikhye: Don’t Be Fooled by this Evil Yakult ImposterOctober 2, 2018
- Lars RoxasWords
This is Lost in Digestion, where we do a quick review of the oddest-looking mystery eats available from the many Asian groceries all over the Metro. From Chinese Pear Babies to wasabi-flavored Kit Kat from Japan, we got you covered.
As we’ve previously established, despite certain songs on my iPod that bring shame to my family, I can’t read or understand Korean. I do, however, have Dars on speed dial (no, I don’t). That’s what I call Sandara Park by the way, Dars, because we’re close personal friends (no, we’re not). Anyway, I called her up (this never happened), reminisced together for a bit (neither did this), and promised to call more (I’ve never even seen her in person) if she could help me translate the label on this drink. She agreed, of course (lies).
While the lady at the store kept insisting that the drink said Yakult in front, the Hangul letters actually romanize to Birak/Beerak Shikhye. It also tastes nothing like, and at Php 48 per can costs nothing close to, the Yakult we’re all familiar with here at home.
The can is pretty, I’ll give it that much. It’s bright yellow, with the Korean script doing double duty as both decoration and being actual words. It’s also smaller than a regular soda can; it’s short and squat. This is not a bad thing. Being Tyrion-scale just makes it cuter.
There’s also a suspicious bowl of what appears to be soup drawn on its front. All things considered, this should’ve been my first warning. The liquid itself was cloudy and unappetizing to look at. I regret pouring it into a glass.
Taste and Texture
It was terrible. And it made my tummy hurt afterwards.
You know when you buy taho and the dude skims and throws away a few ladles of dirty water from the soft tofu before putting together your order? I imagine that discarded fluid dripping on the curb tastes a lot like Birak Shikhye, only the latter is worse. It has no real taste beyond a vague sourness that makes you question whether the thing is actually meant to be food. It’s the sad leftover moisture in the pan, after you make gulaman, that they just put in a can.
Finally, after you force yourself to finish the damn thing, you’re ambushed by a mouthful of soggy rice-y bits that had collected at the bottom. They’re like the orange-pulpy goodness you get from Minute Maid, only evil and not to be trusted.
It was just an entirely unpleasant experience all around.
On one hand, no one’s going to get fat on mildly fermented rice water. On the other hand, it might drive some people into developing an ED from the trauma of being made to drink it, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on which dark corners of Tumblr you spend your time in most. (I’m kidding, okay people? Eating disorders are always, ALWAYS, a bad thing.)
Lost in Digestion gives Birak Shikhye one single Disgusted Kim Jong Un.
I would’ve given it only half a Disgusted Kim Jong Un, but the tummy ache I got from drinking the birak shikhye got better as I was typing this review, so I decided to be more magnanimous. However, this doesn’t change the fact that Lost in Digestion strongly suggests you give this drink a pass, especially if your stomach tends to be fussy, even during the best of times. Trust me, and go buy a bottle of Soju instead.