As ZoukOut creeps closer and the excitement builds to a crescendo, we know there are plenty of you that would rather go hard than go home. But how hard would you go to cure a hangover? Civilisations have sought the right remedy for centuries, with some delicious and bizarre results along the way. We’ve compiled 10 of the most unconventional varieties of ‘hair of the dog’ from all corners of the globe that will turn some of the hardest party addicts green at the gills.
Deep-fried canary (Ancient Rome)
Usually, the thought of devouring deep-fried chicken for a morning-after feast gets our motors running, but the ancient Romans fancied the feathers of a different flock. Long before the ‘Colonel’ came up with his 11 secret herbs and spices, the once-mighty conquerors were fonder of having enchanting songbirds on their breakfast plates after a boozy comissatio banquet. Pliny the Elder, famous author and military officer of the early Roman Empire, recommended that the canary is best served by flash-frying in hot oil, followed by a light dusting of salt and pepper. We can just imagine seeing ‘Pliny’s Crispy Canary’ on the Food Network if the Roman was still kicking about in the 21st century.
Lemon slice in armpit (Puerto Rico)
The Puerto Ricans figured that the best measures are preventative ones, and that the only way to counter a besotted mess in the morning is to rub a slice of lemon in the pit of your drinking arm. As if misinterpreting a memo instructing to drinkers to put the lemon into the top of the Corona bottle, this age-old remedy purports to prevent dehydration, but makes very little sense when considering the technicalities of the practice. While it may not stop a headache upon waking, one thing is guaranteed – it’ll keep you smelling fresh (albeit sticky) all night long.
Buffalo milk (Nambia)
There’s nothing like chasing a bad hangover with more alcohol – we’ve all tried it, and we can attest to the disastrous results. With complete disregard to science, the Namibians remain faithful to this principle and stay true to their liquored, lactose-based concoction. Forget milkshakes – how about a dose of clotted cow cream, whole cream, and cream liquor, along with shots of both dark and spiced rum thrown into the mix? With nothing in this dairy nightmare actually coming from a buffalo, an upset stomach and prolonged inebriation will likely take your mind off the treachery of your previous night’s antics, only to bring it back again later down the track.
It’s no secret that Germans are hard drinkers – they dedicate over two weeks oof the year to beer for crying out loud. We have no problem getting behind the endless beer steins, sultry dirndls and knee-slapping festivities of Deutschland’s drinking culture, but the country’s katerfrühstück breakfast leaves much to be desired. Translating to “a tomcat’s breakfast”, the popular ‘rollmops’ dish consists of a vinegar-laden gherkins and onions wrapped in a raw, pickled herring fillet. Thought to replenish electrolytes and pump some sugar back into your blood, the delicacy is admittedly another example of renowned German efficiency.
It’s hard to deny the pull of spicy Caribbean rum, and the Haitians are no less immune to its allure. So, when they snap out of the intoxicating spell the brew put them under, and shame starts to sink in, it only makes sense (and is much, much easier) to call upon the spirit world to exact some revenge on the booze, rather than take responsibility for one’s actions. Using voodoo as their weapon of choice, the Haitians have been said to stick pins in the cork of the bottle that beguiled them, hoping to find a small token of comfort in retribution. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there – it was the drink’s fault, gosh darn it!
Leche de tigre (Peru)
Ceviche has long been a popular party dish, but the Peruvians don't let a single drop of it go to waste. After a long night of knocking back Pisco Sours, the leftover marinade, named leche de tigre or “tiger’s milk”, serves as a tart ender to a bender. The mixture of lime and lemon juice, fish stock (complete with scraps), garlic and ginger is thought to accelerate the filtration of alcohol from the body, while also allegedly acting as an aphrodisiac – though, we’re not sure who’d want to lock lips with someone who’s just gulped a glass of this stuff.
The Canadians have always been breakfast maestros, and they definitely knew they were onto something when they came up with their deep-fried delicacy, poutine. But let’s be honest here, this dish will make most of us hungry with or without a hangover. French fries and cheese curd topped off with salty, peppery gravy is just the thing we like to nurse a throbbing headache once we’ve turned in our beer goggles. It also kind of makes you want to get loaded just so you have an excuse to gorge on this delightful dish, without the sober guilt.
We all know that the Japanese salaryman likes a drink, and if you’ve been on the Interwebz within the past few years, you would’ve undoubtedly chuckled at a photo or two (or ten) of a drunken suit sprawled shamelessly throughout Japan’s metropolitan train system. Upon waking in the middle of a busy station or packed-out train, the Japanese are known for putting themselves back together by consuming umeboshi, known to English-speakers as sour plum. Though we’re not sure if the plum has any chemical properties to actually remedy the effects of a late-night karaoke boozer, the sourness alone is likely enough to shock the system into getting back to business.
Pickled sheep's eyes (Mongolia)
You read that right – pickled sheep’s eyes, in a glass of tomato juice to wash it down. This one is pretty self-explanatory, and there’s not much a gourmand could tell you to make this any more appealing than it sounds. As if dreamt up by Wes Craven in a twisted take on the Bloody Mary, this is a drink only fit for a bloodthirsty Khan. We have no idea what the appropriate glassware would be or how it should be consumed, other than very quickly and straight down the gullet.
Balut (The Philippines)
Perhaps the most stomach-turning hangover ‘cure’ of them all is the infamous balut. Rich with protein and cysteine, Filipinos claim that the fertilised duck embryo (beak, feathers, claws and all) breaks down toxins from alcohol in the system to restore you back to health. Though we’re often game for a lot of things, we remain sceptical on how forcing this dish down is going to help deal with the aftermath of getting too tanked the night before. Philippines, you win.
Text Trent Davis
Illustrations Jackson Kang