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 seeked the right remedy for centuries, with some downright outrageous results along the way. We’ve compiled 10 of the most bizarre hangover cures from all corners of the globe that will turn even the hardest party addict green at the gills. Welcome to The Hungover Games!
Deep Fried Canary (Ancient Rome)
Usually, the thought of a 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 was 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 around in the 21st Century.
Buffalo Milk (Namibia)
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 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.
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 Corona memo instructing to put the lemon into the top of the 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 all night long.
It’s no secret that Germans are hard drinkers – they dedicate an entire month of 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 katerfrühstück breakfast leaves much to be desired. Translating to “a tomcat’s breakfast”, the popular rollmops dish consists of 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 exception to its allure. So when they snap out of the intoxicating spell the brew put them under and shame starts to sink in, it makes sense to want to call upon the spirits to exact some revenge. Using voodoo as their weapon of choice, the Haitians have been said to stick pins in the cork of the bottle of 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, not mine!
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, unusually named leche de tigre (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, whilst 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.
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 AKA sour plums. 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.
Tomato Juice and Pickled Sheep’s Eyes (Mongolia)
“Say what?” – that’s right folks, pickled sheep’s eyes with 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 anymore 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 how this 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 skeptical on how forcing this dish down is going to help deal with the aftermath of getting too tanked the night before. Philippines, you win.
The Canadians have always been breakfast maestros, and they get it right once again with poutine, their deep-fried delicacy. But let’s be honest here – this dish will make most of us hungry with or without the hangover. French fries and cheese curd topped off with salty, savoury, peppery gravy is just the thing we like to nurse a throbbing headache once we’ve turned in our beer goggles. It almost makes you want to get loaded just so you have an excuse to gorge on this delightful dish with the complementary guilt. Oh Canada, please never change.
This article was originally published in JUICE Singapore December 2014, Issue #195, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.