I love drinking sujeonggwa, a Korean drink made with dried persimmons, ginger and cinnamon. It is quite a strong-tasting drink and not many people I know like it, unless you enjoy ginger and cinnamon. I find the drink very refreshing and tasty.
I tried sujeonggwa for the first time in Singapore. Quite a few Korean restaurants in Singapore serve sujeonggwa, either as a drink at the end of the meal, or as part of the drinks menu. Whenever I ask for sujeonggwa in a restaurant in Seoul, they usually tell me that they don’t make it and point me to the one that comes in a can. So I don’t really know how the ones in Korea taste like.
I decided to make my own sujeonggwa using a recipe by Maangchi. The recipe is fairly simple and straightforward. First, to get hold of some dried persimmons.
Dried persimmons are sold everywhere in Chinatown during the Chinese New Year season, which is like now. I contemplated dropping by Chinatown to get some but I would find myself crushed by the massive crowds thronging Chinatown during this period of time. So I went hunting for them in several grocery shops that sell dried goods. The shop-keepers had no idea what I was asking for. Dried persimmons – whats that? I showed them a photo of a persimmon fruit and said that I wanted the dried ones. They sighed and told me that dried persimmons are called ‘shi bing’ (柿饼 or persimmon cakes) in Mandarin. I felt mildy embarrassed that I didn’t know what dried persimmons were in Mandarin!