Milli triggers hype: “Mango Sticky Rice” as a world heritage?
The Thai-born rapper Milli performed at the Coachella festival in the USA. She ate something on stage. What was that?
The delicious dessert “Mango Sticky Rice” has long been an integral part of Thai gastronomy. But now a real hype about the famous dessert made of sticky rice, coconut sauce, fresh mangoes and roasted mung beans has flared up in the Southeast Asian country.
It goes so far that the government under Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is planning to have the delicacy recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “We are collecting information in preparation for the Unesco proposal,” said Chai Nakhonchai, director general of the Department of Cultural Promotion.
The trigger for the boom was a performance by the successful Thai rapper Danupha Khanatheerakul, better known by the stage name Milli, at the Coachella festival in the USA. The 19-year-old carried a plate of Mango Sticky Rice onto the stage last weekend and feasted on it in front of cheering fans. Since then, demand for the juicy tropical fruit and “Khao Niaow Ma Muang”, as the dish is called in Thailand, has gone through the roof nationwide.
Within 24 hours of Milli’s action, Twitter recorded almost 1.4 million tweets with the hashtag #mangostickyrice, the Bangkok Post newspaper wrote. Orders for delivery services have more than tripled. It’s mango time in Thailand right now – and “Mango Sticky Rice” can be found on almost every street corner from the mega-metropolis Bangkok to rural regions.
Mango farmers in crisis
The farmers in the country are cheering: Thailand is one of the world’s largest mango producers, but the industry has fallen into a crisis due to the corona pandemic and delivery problems. Sayan Bunying, president of the Mango Producers Association, said: “When you see how much the Thai mango farmers are struggling, I appreciate and thank everyone who works to ensure that people eat our mangoes. He hopes that the boom surrounding the exotic fruit will also stimulate consumption abroad.
It’s not the first time a young artist has sparked mass euphoria in the country over a culinary specialty: K-pop superstar Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban of girl group Blackpink wore “Yuen kin” meatballs in a TV interview last year swarmed the street stalls of their hometown of Buri Ram. After that, the sellers of the coveted street food could hardly save themselves from the sheer rush and online orders.