Made by the Chil-gok brewery in North Gyeongsang, Sin Dong makgeolli is a slightly thicker than normal rice wine which makes it feel a little bit chalky although this is far from a criticism. The company boasts 140 years of tradition on their label and it definitely smells like a proper traditional rice wine unlike some of the recent ‘craft’ ricewines that are beginning to flood the market these days. It has a little bit of a sour aftertaste which for anyone who knows me will know that gets an extra ‘happy face’ every time. Despite the sour taste there is a little bit of banana in each sip which I was pleasantly surprised with as there is no such forewarning on the label. If you close your eyes it almost tastes like the really popular brand of banana milk (바나나맛 우유), almost!
Chil-gok Brewery is a family business with four generations being involved down the years, it is a pretty small outfit and it’s not exactly the easiest of makgeolli to track down. As with all ‘raw’ makgeollis the shelf-life date is pretty short, around 10 days or so. I luckily found this bottle in a jeon/makgeolli restaurant near Yeungdeunpo-Gu Office Station Exit 4 (영등포구청) and it was never in any danger of spending more than a few days in my fridge. The company decided to overhaul their rather dated looking packaging of late and as such the labelling has lost a little of that traditional ‘one man and his dog’ small company feel about it, thankfully though they don’t seem to have tinkered with the makgeolli itself and it still tastes as great as I remember.
- Sin-dong “banana”(?) makgeolli
- Costs 5000W (1000W takeout charge)
- A sour but strangely banana smelling makgeolli
- Alcohol – 6%