Episode 43: Shunan Teng + Baijiu, the World's Most Consumed Liquor

We had so much fun talking to Shunan Teng of Tea Drunk last season that she's back by popular demand! While you may know her as a tea expert and educator, she also enjoys a stiff drink. She joined us on the Feast Meets West podcast to talk about one of Asia's stiffest drinks–baijiu.

This clear Chinese spirit is distilled from fermented sorghum or other types of grain...and is not for the faint of heart. Lynda broke out a bottle of baijiu at a party once, and her American friends noted it smelled like rocket fuel and soy sauce. Thankfully, Shunan has a long history with the beverage as, according to her father, Shunan started drinking alcohol before she started talking. So it's safe to say she knows her baijiu!

In this interview, Lynda and Shunan talk about the different types of baijiu and local regional varieties, what to look for in a good baijiu, and why China's most famous baijiu and national treasure Maotai isn't Shunan's favorite.

We have a tradition of dipping the chopsticks in baijiu [...] and then have the baby lick the chopsticks. Of course it burns baby’s tongue...baby cries. But eventually the baby would get used to the burning and the taste, and when the baby starts smacking its mouth and wanting more, the training is done.
— Shunan on a tradition she grew up with in Dongbei, China.

Want to listen to the Feast Meets West podcast on the go? Get every episode on iTunesStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you're the digging the show, you can support us and help new folks find the podcast by leaving us a rating and review!