if you’re east asian and you have an east asian mom, you’ve probably used /seen/smelled tiger balm at some point in your life. i don’t remember the last time i used it, i don’t remember what i used it for, but i remember tiger balm. its sinus-clearing smell of menthol and eucalyptus, the cooling, numbing sensation on your skin — i remember it all! oh, how i miss my strange, awesome korean childhood!
anyway, fast forward to shenzhen, summer of 2011. a combination of nasty mosquitoes, unforgiving heat and humidity, and a preexisting skin condition that’s not really worth mentioning, have led me to look and feel like a total leper. i would scratch and scratch until i bled. i would complain and complain about my condition to anyone willing to listen, until finally, one generous friend offered her solution to every skin ailment: tiger balm. she had half a dozen little jars, and she gave me one.
whoa, whoa, whoa. this stuff is like crack. crack for your skin! the first 10-15 minutes after you put on this stuff is like… ohhhh… it’s like… euphoria. the itch just evaporates and is replaced with this cool, tingling sensation that just spreads and settles deep into your skin. i’ve never done crack, but i’m sure this is what crack feels like.
my only complaint is that it comes in a tiny jar and is not easy to spread on large areas of your skin — like your back. they should really make tiger balm lotion and tiger balm body wash. they should just build an entire empire around the tiger balm brand, like starbucks. tiger balm toothpaste! tiger balm breakfast cereal! tiger balm instant coffee!