May 21, 2007

Chinese Beer Roulette

Mr. Wang, an older Chinese gentleman with one eye runs a convenience store just around the corner from where I work. I'm not sure what the name of the place is, I've never really noticed a signboard outside his shop and so I simply refer to the place as "One-Eyed Wangs".

The other night on the way back from work I stopped into "One-Eyed Wangs" for a pack of cigarettes, some peanuts and something cold to drink. I walked by the rows of salted eggs and dried fungus and other weird stuff until I finally found a pack of Shandong peanuts in the back. As I headed for the counter, I noticed that Mr. Wang had installed a new glass-doored refrigerator near the cash register and it was stocked full with all sorts of Chinese beer. I opened the door and picked up a can of "Pearl River beer" and read the label, RM3.80 (US1.12). Normally a can of Tiger or Anchor beer cost around RM6.00 (US1.76) . I've never tried Pearl River beer before, but it was cheap and so I figured why not give it a try. I grabbed three cans of beer and then headed home.

The beer wasn't half bad, but halfway through watching a movie on television I felt plastered after drinking only two cans of beer. I went to the kitchen and read the label on the can more closely "Alcohol content +/- 7%".

A few days later I went back to "One-Eyed Wangs" and told Mr. Wang about the beer. Mr. Wang is your typical Chinese businessman, shifty eyed with a dangerous penchant for alcohol and gambling and so he feigned surprise and told me I must have got a "lucky can". I bought another three cans and headed home that night.

I went back that night and sat down to watch a movie and popped open a cold can of Pearl River beer and drank it down. Hrmm... strange I drank all three cans and felt nothing. It was like I was drinking water. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my Pearl River nightmare was about to begin.

Around twenty minutes later after going to sleep I started to get an excruciating pain in my lower abdomen that felt like broken glass chips were slicing up the inside of my gut. Nothing seemed to help alleviate my pain and after an hour or so I finally sat on the toilet and managed to explosively relieve myself but the pain didn't subside. I ended up staying on the toilet crying in pain half the night before I somehow collapsed from exhaustion. It would be another full day before I had normal bowel movements again.

The went back to "One-Eyed Wangs" the day after that and told Mr. Wang about the beer. Mr. Wang shrugged and then said "This time you got unlucky can!". I grabbed a Snickers bar and a Coke and then headed home.



  1. Jeez. Thanks for the warning. Only the other day I had some of that 7% chinese beer, but I was lucky I guess. No more.

  2. Anonymous2:39 PM

    I worked in Guangzhou for a couple years and drank loads of Pearl River Beer or Zhu Jiang Beer,never a problem.Didn't find any lucky cans..too bad!


Creative Commons License