Shikhye is cold traditional Korean rice beverage. It's made from a mixture of water, (sugar), rice
, malt ginger
. What makes it an interesting experience to drink is the presence of soft rice grains at the bottom. Even commercially available varieties by Dongwon
companies have the slurry of rice. The liquid is clear and colorless with perhaps a slight green or yellowish tinge
The sweet taste is very refreshing but to have a sudden rush of lumpy particles into the mouth, can be a shock. Many Westerners find the experience unpleasant. For some the sensation of small chunky bits suddenly the mouth is a reminder of the "i've just thrown up, I need something to wash this crap out of my mouth" sensation.
Personally I don't mind it, but I also like Chinese drinks with the chunks of jelly, and bubble tea with the tapioca at the bottom.
What still puzzles me is if this drink is traditional and hasn't ever contained honey, where does the sweet taste come from originally? Imported refined sugar or corn syrup is probably used today but I doubt it was available to the Korean peasants of the chosun dynasty. One Korean told me it was a product of fermentation. I don't know. Perhaps it is because of some kind of enzymatic breakdown of the rice starch into simple sugars under controlled winter conditions. Another idea is that perhaps rice when young is naturally sweet, I have yet to prove or disprove either.
I will update this node on further investigation.