Baijiu might technically be the world’s most consumed spirit with 10.8 billion litres sold in China in 2017, but really, it’s a relatively uncommon drink beyond China’s borders. Still, with mainland Chinese cuisine such as mala tang fast integrating itself into Singapore’s food scene, did we really think that baijiu wouldn’t eventually make its way to its shores?
For the uninitiated, baijiu is the Chinese white liquor distilled from grain — typically from fermented sorghum. While it’s traditionally enjoyed neat, the clear spirit is gradually making its mark on the international cocktail scene with highly-regarded bars such as Lumos in New York and Opium in London incorporating it into their cocktails. Closer to home, Singapore bars Native and Shin Gi Tai does the same with brands like Maotai and Shui Jing Fang.
But there’s a new name in town looking to tap on the growing popularity of Chinese spirits in the local market. Langjiu, named after Er Lang Town in Sichuan Province’s Gulin County, boasts a history that lasted for more than a century and has has won numerous awards like China Quality Award Golden Medal, China Golden Knight Award, and China Time-honoured Brand. Langjiu is brought into Singapore by Thai-pore Enterprise, a leading distributor of premium beers, wines, and tobacco around Southeast Asia.
With Singaporeans known for being receptive to new F&B trends and offerings, we definitely see the potential of launching Langjiu here.
Thai-pore representative Audrey Kuah
Today, Langjiu has near to 30 national distilling masters drawing on the old traditions of baijiu distillation. Sorghum, a cereal grain, is grinded and mixed with water and yeast and left to age for six months. The process goes on: steaming, adding a grain culture (qu), and further fermentation before the mixture is distilled into earthen jars and finally stored in the Tianbao cave — a cave system in Tianfenping — for ageing.
Sichuan province is the home to the Strong Aroma (nong xiang) category of baijius, but Langjiu’s bottlings are mostly made in their signature “Sauce” style (jiang xiang) — think highly fragrant, slightly sour, and with umami notes not unlike soy sauce. The range coming into Singapore, imported by Thai-pore Enterprise, includes the Hong Hua Lang 10, Hong Hua Lang 15, Qing Hua Lang (aged for 20 years), Hong Yun Lang (aged for 30 years), and the grand Qing Yun Lang that’s been aged for 50 years.
For now, Langjiu will be available in leading Singaporean dining destinations and bars such as Crystal Jade Golden Palace, Tung Lok XiHe, Jumbo Seafood at ION Orchard, Kai Garden, Old Cheng Du, Oxwell & Co, Komyuniti by Yotel, Telok Ayer Arts Club, and The Single Cask. The brand has also partnered with Xi Yan Maxwell to pair its range of baijiu with a limited-time six-course tasting menu that sees things like abalone marinated in Langjiu, or smoked Bresse chicken that complements Langjiu’s savoury notes.
Not in Singapore? Langjiu is already available in select retailers, bars, and restaurants in Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia.