Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ng-Ka-Py Liqueur

I finally finished Steinbeck's magnum opus, East of Eden. My grade school English teacher, Mrs. Voelker, would be proud. God, she loved Steinbeck so much, I wish I could track her down and tell her.

Great book, highly recommended -- was hoping it would be good enough that during the last couple pages I'd be tearful, but no.

There's a character in the book whose parents were brought to the U.S. from China to build the railroads. He was born in secret on the side of a mountain and grew up in the Salinas Valley. He's a self-made philosopher named Lee who drinks a Chinese liqueur called "ng ka py" which is described as tasting like "good rotten apples".

Never heard of this stuff.

The book was written in 1952 and took place between the 1880s and the end of World War I (1918).

Apparently it's still around: a google search yields some Taiwanese manufacturer. No idea where I could get it in the States but if you know somewhere in the DC area, tell me. I expect it tastes like the typical liqueur you get at Chinese business meetings -- a spiced and heavily fortified "wine" which runs at around 60 proof.
If you're ever in San Francisco, go to Buddha Bar at 901 Grant and ask Mark for the "house special" - he'll give you some Ng Ka Py.
There's a place in D.C.'s Chinatown on 7th walking towards the Metro on the left side of the street.
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