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What is Chang in Tibet



Highland barley wine is brewed by the highland barley produced in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, also known as “Chang” among local Tibetans. In the past when the transportation in Tibet was not as convenient as today, the Chang became the most important drink on the plateau. Since the winter of Tibet is cold and long, the Chang becomes another beverage with thermal efficiency. The reason to call it beverage is that this kind of wine tasted good and a little like a feeling of drink. As the most popular wine in the Tibetan areas, Chang has played such an important role in a very long time, being indispensable in exchange, gift sending and so on which bears a special meaning although it seems like belonging to a kind of liquor. As a matter of fact, Chang is brewed with the same sort of grain together with the headwaters coming from melted water of snow plateau. Therefore, Chang tasted better than other common liquors and the alcohol dissipated faster as well. However, even though it is more like beverage, you cannot drink too much either for all the wines are the same while the effect of alcohol content varies from one to another.

Tibetan Chang.jpg
Tibetan Chang

For a large number of foreigners, taking appropriate amount of local food and drinks can attribute to their gradual adaptation to the high altitude anoxia and altitude sickness when they first arrive in Tibet. Among these local drinks, Chang is also involved in and that home-brewed by local Tibetan people can be the best choice for tourists for it is more full-bodied and more suitable for who firstly try it. But you’d better not to drink too much for the first time only to put away the cup after taking a tiny sip. Nevertheless, to who are allergic to alcohol or in delicate health, it is not suggested to drink Chang. On the other hand, if you are healthy enough and would like to have a more profound experience of Tibetan style, Chang will undoubtedly be matched. In addition, Red Bull has gained a large popularity among Tibetans which of course is contributed to its own publicity but also due to the locality like large energy consumptions on plateaus. To adjust to the local environment, properly taste this kind of local unique wine, can both fully enjoying the aroma and appreciating wine culture of Tibet. Why not enjoy doing it?

In total, Chang is actually a type of wine with a very low degree that is brewed by highland barley. It is favored by people of all ages and both sexes in Tibet and is the essential drink in festivals as well as holidays. The production process of Chang is unique. First of all, clean up and then cook thoroughly the highland barley. Add some amount of distillers yeast to it until the temperature dropped slightly. Then, pack it in a pot or bucket and airproof it. Two or three days later, add some clean water into it and cover the lid. Thereupon, it will become the tasty Chang after one or two days.

Chang contains low content of alcohol and sweet and sour taste like beer as well, looking a little bit orange. Tibetan people are particular about drinking Chang by three sips for one cup which means you should sip a mouthful of it for the first step and then fulfill it. Repeat this process for three sips and bottom it up for the four cup. Generally speaking, in Tibetan banquets, the host will all sing songs drinking a toast to his or her guests. Besides, in some grand banquet, there will be girls specialized in toasting to guests. These girls will dress in the most luxuriant clothes and sing the most charming toast song, persuading guests to drink by turns till their guests get drunk.

Research shows that keeping a long-term of drinking Chang will benefit skeletal and cardiovascular as well as nervous system and will effectively improve people’s sleep quality, degrade cholesterol and prevent people from carcinoma of colon and diabetes at the same time. In fact, its main efficacy is derived from its main raw materials which are the highland barley and local mineral water. According to a book Supplement to the Herbal, highland barley mainly functions as dehumidification, inducing perspiration and antidiarrheal. The Tibetan Plateau is the world recognized non polluted area. The water used for brewing Chang contains far more lithium, strontium, partial acid etc. than the natural spring water of any other regions and the there is no any industrial pollution near the water source. Apart from that, the content of multiple trace elements that is contained in the Chang including zinc, bromine, iodine, total dissolved solids and free carbon dioxide and so on will be very conducive to people’s health.

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