While it might be for the best to boycott all CJ products – particularly food – laziness doesn’t let me do more than pay lip service to the idea.
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So I was browsing a nearby GS25 the other day with a gift certificate I needed to get rid of and I saw they were selling “Oriental Raisin Water” one liter bottles at two for 2,500krw. I am always looking for an unsweetened drink that isn’t water or coffee, and the price wasn’t bad so I grabbed a couple.
First, the Oriental raisin is the fruit of the hovenia dulcis, or Oriental raisin tree. In Korea it is called heotgae (헛개) and grows on the heotgaenamu (헛개나무). When it is boiled in water it creates a tea-like drink, very similar to corn silk tea (옥수수수염차) or black bean tea (검은콩차).
While I have never bought the heotgaesu in the store before, it is something my mother in law often makes, so it wasn’t a totally new flavor to me. Actually, to my uncultured tongue, the store bought drink tasted exactly the same as the home brewed, but I’m sure mother in law would disagree.
Two of the reasons that heotgaesu might be considered superior to other types of boiled drinks is first that it has supposed hangover alleviating properties. I am not really in the mood to give myself a hangover to test this, but if anyone else wants to try I would be glad to hear about it. The second thing is that the heotgaesu has a very slightly fruity aftertaste that makes it a little more appealing.
Anyway, I probably wouldn’t spend 2,500krw for one bottle of the stuff, but I am a miser. If you are looking for a decent non sugary drink, give it a try.