11 July 2024

Mango sticky rice has suddenly become a hit Thai dessert, which is selling like hot cakes in some markets in Bangkok and elsewhere and the Thai Cultural Promotion Department plans to apply for its listing as part of the country’s intangible cultural heritage, following the performance of Thai rapper Danupha Kanateerakul, aka “Milli”, at the world-famous music festival Coachella over the weekend, during which she ate the Thai dessert.

An owner of a mango sticky rice shop at Simummuang Market told Thai PBS today (Monday) that her sales have increased substantially. She said she usually sells one 20kg crate of mangos and about 10 sacks of well-cooked sticky rice. The day after the Milli’s performance, however, she said that there were so many orders for mango sticky rice boxes that she could not peel the fruit fast enough, adding that she now has to peel about four crates of mangos.

Director-General of Cultural Promotion Department Chai Nakornchai said a similar phenomenon occurred when skewered meatballs, sold at an outlet in Buri Ram province, sold like mad when Thai female rapper Lisa, of the Korean Blackpink girl group, a native of Buri Ram, said she craved the meatballs at the store.

He said that Milli’s eating of mango sticky rice is a positive use of Thailand’s soft power, adding that the department has been collecting information and anecdotes about the dish, to push for it to be included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that he has instructed officials to push Thailand’s soft power, be it through Thai food, Thai natural resources or other good things about Thailand.