Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The Best Deer Penis Wine in Taipei
Deer Penis Wine (鹿鞭酒)
Huanhe Road north of Guangzhou Street, right side (past all the old appliances and the cool old temple, just past and across the street from Old Lin's Mutton Emporium, just walk to the end of Guangzhou to where the aboriginal market is, don't cross Huanhe, turn right and keep going).
Continue on from there and you'll find another guy with deer meat and, I think, wines, as well as snake and turtle.
First of all, I got new totally hipsteriffic glasses. So the first thing I did was put on my hipster earrings and take a selfie, because I'm totally not concerned about looking cool. At all. Really. I mean it.
Also, our honeymoon (a monthlong backpacking trip around Central America), submitted ages ago, was just featured on Offbeat Home. Go check it out!
Now that that important announcement is out of the way, we also decided (well, I decided and Brendan gamely went along) to finally try some things we hadn't tried in 7 years in Taipei. One of these is Chinese medicinal wine, which is usually made as an herbal tincture with deer parts.
Wanhua, especially the area outside of the Guangzhou Street/Huaxi Street Night Market (also called Snake Alley), has a lot of this sort of traditional stuff - you just have to leave the night market to find it, or head to a different, less touristy part of the market (Wuzhou Street is a branch off of this market that has consistently good food...and a lot of brothels). This is the sort of area where an obasan will sit minding her shop packed floor to rafters with giant colorful dildos, right next to her granddaughter sitting in that shop doing her homework, and maybe there'll be a small poodle, too.
So if you're going to find interesting traditional medicinal wines, Wanhua is the place.
The most common are deer antler (also available at Wellcome and 7-11 - this one is dead easy to find), deer blood (not safe if not made correctly) and deer penis (much harder to track down - PUN INTENDED).
Mmmm, delicious tincture of deer penis.
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but from what I've read, deer blood wine is, I believe, supposed to help with circulation and as a good iron supplement, and is good for bones. Deer antler is good for muscles and joints, and deer penis is good for, well, virility (but can be also good for joints, aches and other weak areas). From what I've read, although it's usually drunk by men as a natural Viagra, it can be drunk by women.
So, here goes.
It was surprisingly good. Like a slightly savory Jagermeister (for the herbal flavor - I know Jager doesn't actually have any deer in it). Think of it as the Jagermeister from an alternate universe in which all the urban legends are true. I'm not even joking.
The deer blood and penis, which might be gray market if not entirely illegal, is not labeled. You have to ask for it. 50 kuai for a glass as big as the one you see me drinking above. So if you want to try deer penis wine, you've just gotta know where to get it. And now you do!
Brendan and our friend Joseph tried some too, but I ended up drinking most of it. The owner wasn't too bothered about serving women his Viagra wine - he said nothing but his smile and body language said "Chhhhh...foreigners. Whatever."
You can also get venison kebab and various foods cooked in medicine, like snails and shrimp - and the chicken sausage (雞肉卷) is quite good. For every serving (two sticks) of venison you order, you get a free small glass of medicinal wine that is just herbs - no penis, no blood, no antler. We drank that too.
This stuff doesn't have any penis in it. Boo.
Afterwards, I felt pretty good. Brendan and Joseph were all like 'eh'...so I guess the stuff really does work just as well, if not better, on women!
The best part was the dude at the end of the stall with his own bottle of deer blood wine, getting completely toasted. I am not sure how one could get toasted on medicinal wine (I felt great but too much of the stuff can't be good for you), but he was managing that.
Happy deer penis drinking!