Sticky rice dish moves up in world

Sticky rice dish moves up in world

A customer buys mango and sticky rice in Bang Khae district on Monday. The dessert has become trendy after rapper Danupha
A customer buys mango and sticky rice in Bang Khae district on Monday. The dessert has become trendy after rapper Danupha "Milli" Khanatheerakul ate it on stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the United States. (Photo: Arnun Cholmahatrakool)

A committee on local wisdom and cultural heritage under the Ministry of Culture may propose khao nieo mamuang, or mango sticky rice, as a Thai cultural heritage item with Unesco, says Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

He announced the move in response to questions about the possibility of listing mango sticky rice as a cultural heritage item, after Thai rap sensation Danupha "Milli" Khanatheerakul, 19, on Sunday grabbed the world's attention after she ended her show at the Coachella music festival by eating the popular dessert on stage.

"It's important for Thailand to use its soft power abroad. We have plenty of resources that can be promoted on the international stage," he said.

Milli, who was among eight artists from Asia invited to perform at Coachella, said on Monday she still couldn't believe the mango sticky rice craze was real. She half-jokingly urged mango sticky rice vendors not to raise their prices.

Manop Kaeowongnukun, president of a mango grower association in Chachoengsao, on Monday welcomed the rapper's move, saying it has helped drum up interest in Thai mangoes overseas.

A kilogramme of nam dok mai mangos, for instance, usually fetches between 20-40 baht/kg.

Now, he said, the variety fetches about 110 baht/kg. "Mango sticky rice fever will help drive up consumption and thus prices," he said.

According to Line Man, a food delivery service provider, mango sticky rice orders surged by 3.5 times within 24 hours of Milli's set at Coachella.

Most orders were made in Chiang Mai's Muang district, Nonthaburi's Muang district and Suan Luang in Bangkok, it said.

Ex Saejao, CEO of Line Man Wongnai Co, said mango sticky rice orders are rising because of three main factors -- the fervour that followed Milli's show, growing supplies of mango during the harvest season, and the promotion of mango sticky rice across all food delivery platforms.

Kraison Chansa, 49, a mango sticky rice vendor in Chiang Mai, said his sales rose by 50% on Sunday, thanks apparently to the rapper.

Khawi Thiwato, a customer, said he was tempted to order some mango sticky rice because of Milli, before thanking her for not only helping boosting mango sticky rice sales, but also helping mango growers.

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