So I got to drink a little something special today. It’s this little white bottle of goodness right here:

A bottle of white, milky fluid.

A bottle of white, milky fluid.

It’s called Makgeolli, a traditional Korean liquor that is made out of rice.

Makgeolli, or Makuli, or Macaulay Culkin, however you want to say it, is a liquor made out of fermented rice grains. The rice is mixed with something called “nuruk” a fermentation starter that uses lactic-acid bacteria alogn with other fungus, bacteria and yeast to make a nice rotting drink for you to enjoy. This is what gives Makgeolli its milky look and taste.

It’s the drink of choice for farmers, who have a swig after a long day of work. It has the nutrients to help revitalize the body, get them ready for more backbreaking work the next day (or even same day taking a swig during lunch break under the shade) and it makes them feel like life is fun despite spending all day toiling earth.

Thus, it is also called Nongju, or “farmer’s drink.”

Makgeolli is typically served in little drinking bowls. I made do with a little plastic bowl from Gilligan’s and it was a nice, tasty savory drink indeed.

What a nice drink.
What a nice drink.

So how does it taste?

Makgeolli has a very light alcoholic tinge to it. It’s not very strong, and I chugged three bottles of it without getting drunk at all. However, it gives a nice, warm feeling that is very satisfying.

It’s milky-colored, and it actually does taste like milk. I wouldn’t quite call it Yakult mixed with Sake, maybe like Yakult mixed with Sake and watered down until it loses all the panache that you associate with Yakult or Sake.

But you could mistake it for a nice cup of milk tea, that someone spiked with some Korean Souju. It’s quite delicious and I could drink it all day.


You can grab a bottle of this at just about any Korean grocery. It looks great and it tastes even better. The normal variant you can buy for around 100 bucks. There are “premium” flavors like “walnut” and “fresh milk” which have a little something extra added on, those go for around 150.


In Alabang Town Center there’s a Korean grocer near the Alabang Auto Center (where you can get emissions testing, renew your driver’s license or get assistance with car registration). It’s behind Gilligan’s and Outback.

In Commerce Center there’s a nice Korean grocery on the first floor.

And in Molito there is also one near Gold’s Gym.

They all have this fine beverage that you can add to your meals for some great, great fun.

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Posted by Erwin Anciano

Erwin has been eating food for the past 30 or so years. Yes, he actually thinks that makes him an expert on all things food-related.