Herrings, meat pies, and congee, anyone?
You can drink more fluids, get plenty of rest, or try the old “hair of the dog” trick and grab another martini. There are a lot of myths and advice on how to cure a hangover, but no matter what experts tell you, the best way to get over a hangover always feels like it comes down to eating.
Research shows that a hangover may be related to dehydration and a drop in blood sugar levels, leading to nausea, fatigue, and irritability. Although there isn’t a direct cure for a hangover, getting more carbs into your body can help ease the pain—or at least cure your late-night munchies. If biting into a greasy burger or mediocre slice of pizza makes your stomach churn (even more than the hangover), how about tucking into some tasty hangover cures from around the world instead?
The Dutch are the genius creators of the stroopwafel, that sweet and sticky waffle-like cookie served on United Airlines, but unfortunately, bike-loving locals from the Netherlands do not indulge in stroopwafels when they are drunk. Instead, they prefer their other unofficial national dish: haring met uitjes, which loosely translates to raw herring. Saturday markets around Holland have at least one fish stand selling herrings (which are served with onions and gherkins to help quash the fishy taste), and the best way to eat it is by holding it by the tail and slurping it into your mouth for immediate relief from your hangover.
If you find yourself in gritty and cool Montreal, you will undoubtedly go bar hopping on Crescent Street and find yourself with a hangover. French Canadians love curing their hangover and late-night munchies with poutine, fries doused in a thick brown gravy sauce and topped with squeegee curd cheese. The best versions include La Banquise and Montreal Pool Room, both considered institutions. Greasy spoons are great, aren’t they?
There are more than a handful of hangover cures Koreans swear by, which include bugeotguk (dried pollack soup), seonji haejang-guk (soup with oxblood), and bok-guk (pufferfish soup)—all of which are not for the unadventurous foodie. The more conventional and mainstream hangover soup must be kongnamul-guk, made with bean sprouts and found in all the night markets around Korea. But if hot soup is too much to bear when during your Korean summer vacation, you can also ask for raisin tea, found in any convenience store in Korea.
A country that drinks Guinness like water has to have an answer for a hangover, right? In Dublin, a city known for its pub culture, the only way to chase a hangover away is to have a breakfast blaa (Hatch and Sons has a good one). A simple white bread roll (known as blaa) is stuffed with bacon, sausage, and black pudding, covered in brown sauce that is a sweet and tangy condiment akin to ketchup. Locals go for another pint of Guinness to wash it down but for non-Irish travelers drink rock shandy instead, a refreshing lemonade, sparkling water, and bitters drink.
You would think that in Hong Kong, the perfect hangover cure would be either a typical British fry-up (given their history under British colonial rule) or a silky congee rice soup—both of which can be found in the wee hours of the morning and in the middle of the night. Locals usually visit cha chaan tengs (breakfast cafes) in the early mornings, which serve both dishes to ease any late-night drunken woes. The most iconic in Hong Kong include Kam Wah Café, which is still family-owned since 1973, and Cheung Hing Coffee Shop, which also serves some of the city’s best egg tarts, that is, if you can muster it after a late-night drinking in some of the world’s best cocktail bars.
Many think the Swiss just eat cheese and drink wine daily, and you would be right to assume that. Although fondue is only eaten during the winter, raclette (a culture and cheese variety) is eaten year-round by the Swiss, particularly those from the Valais, where it originates. The Swiss keep cheese stored in their fridge for late-night munchies and turn to raclette after a night out drinking with friends. Heated under a hot lamp or fire, the raclette is expertly scraped off as the cheese melts elegantly onto your plate. Nothing beats a hangover like melted cheese.
Loco Moco can be found all over Hawaii and is typically eaten for brunch with the dish made up of steamed white rice and topped with a big juicy burger patty, mushroom gravy, and a fried egg. Apparently, the dish was created in 1949 by a group of teenagers who wanted a quick and cheap alternative to a sandwich. Somehow this teen-invented dish seems like the perfect hangover cure, don’t you think?
Peru is known for their vibrant dishes, which intertwine different cultures and cuisines. One of the most popular dishes in Peru is ceviche, a fresh fish dish marinated in something called La Leche de Tigre or Tiger’s Milk. This marinade is not only served in all Peruvian seafood restaurants but it is also seen as a cure for hangovers (and a great aphrodisiac too, if you are interested). Punto Picante and Restaurant Punto Azul are loved by many in Lima.
Iskembe corbasi is Turkey’s answer to a tough hangover that just won’t go away. Iskembe corbasi or tripe soup apparently settles an upset stomach and is made with lamb’s stomach (tripe), yogurt, lemon juice, and egg yolk—rich ingredients all boiled together to help you bounce right back after too much alcohol. A favorite in Istanbul is Tarih Halic Iskembecisi.
France produces some of the world’s most gorgeous wines and so when in France, it is hard not to drink like a real Parisian, clinking glasses of champagne and saying santé to both Bordeaux-produced Reds and Chardonnays from Burgundy. The French keep things classy with their hangover cures and do not reach for a greasy pizza or burger but opt for a bowl of onion soup instead. Hard to beat a Parisian favorite, Bouillon Pigalle is a perennial favorite for their no-frills onion soup.
Nothing beats a warm bowl of noodles anytime of the day and in Japan, both ramen and udon noodles are late-night and early-morning favorites to cure a hangover. Found on almost every street corner in Japan, you almost want to get drunk just so you can have a bowl of ramen to chase away your hangover. In Tokyo, you can’t beat 24-hour ramen shops like Ichiran and Ichiru.
“The greasier the better” is a good rule to cure a hangover and in the United Kingdom, you are invited to tuck into a giant breakfast plate similar to what you would find in your favorite American diner. A British fry-up includes fried eggs, baked beans, bacon, and blood sausages (if you are lucky) and makes for a great hangover cure if you can’t get hold of fish n’ chips when touring London. Terry’s Cafe in London is a nice one to enjoy after your British pub-crawl
Many will tell you that a vegemite sandwich is what Aussies eat to cure a hangover but guess what, that is not true. With a strong multicultural community of Italians, Greeks, and Croatians in many Australian cities, the favorite local hangover cure is souvlaki, a wrap filled with lots of roasted and barbequed meat. In Melbourne, my favorite local haunt during my university days was Stalactites and to this day, nothing beats it still.
Eating in Argentina is a dream come true for carnivores. Pop into any asado, and you will be greeted with excellent wine, beer, and lots of meat. If you do drink (and overeat), the best cure is not more meat but fugazza, Argentina’s answer to pizza. With a strong Italian community, fugazza is an incredibly cheesy pizza best eaten drunk. The best has to be El Cuartito.
Baltic country Lithuania has a colorful array of dishes, and one of them is Šaltibarščiai, also known as pink soup because of its vibrant color derived from beets. While this dish is best enjoyed during the summer and can help you perk right up after drinking too much, my Vilnius locals say that nothing beats a hangover better than Raugintu Kopustai Sriuba, a tangy and salty sauerkraut and cabbage soup found in most traditional restaurants like Lokys Restaurant.