Galangal  AINSLEY DREW  ·  MAR 30 2009

Related to ginger, galangal has been used since medieval times to spice food and quell digestive issues, but it doesn't taste like your friendly, corner-store ginger candy.

If you were to bite into this tuberous rhizome, you would be very surprised at the slightly sweet, "perfumy" taste and scent of it, not to mention the spiciness factor. While not exactly "hot" like a chili, galangal has a sharp pungency to it that will make you gasp and perhaps cough a little.

Galangal's role outside the kitchen includes a place in folk medicine and hoodoo magic, where it's called "Chewing John." If you're entering litigation and require a favorable verdict, you're supposed to chew it thoroughly before spitting it onto the floor of the courtroom.

If only Blake Griffin of the Sooners had hocked a ginger loogie yesterday, North Carolina would have been sent packing.

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