My name is Tony, and I’m a tongbaholic.

Normally, I’m not a huge drinker, but it turns out that’s simply because I had never been to Sikkim. Tongba, also known as “chang” in certain parts of Sikkim, is a traditional hot fermented millet drink, which is fantastic. (Well, I think it is fantastic – not everyone agrees.)

The process of making the drink is half the fun. Locals pack the traditional stein-sized wooden Tongba tub, which looks kind of like a small barrel, with fermented millet. Next, hot water is poured over the grain filling the tub to the rim. Then you wait for the hot water to take on the flavor, which many compare to Japanese sake. Finally, the finished brew is drunk through a thin bamboo straw which is used to filter out the millet pellets. Yum!!! Plus, you can keep adding hot water to the fermented millet to make more. Where else can you get a bottomless mini-barrel of alcohol?

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