Chinese entrepreneur combines traditions and trends with ‘bamboo milk tea’ ahead of Gawai

The attractive 'bamboo milk tea' comes in a cup that fits inside a bamboo culm. Photo by DayakDaily

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 26: Traditional local food such as ‘manok pansuh’ and ‘lemang’ are almost synonymous with Gawai Dayak, and one young entrepreneur has taken it upon herself to create a new product ahead of this year’s celebrations.

Associating bamboo as an important symbol for the Gawai celebrations as both famous dishes used bamboo culms as a cooking medium, Peggie Wong was motivated to think outside the box and has introduced the idea of making bamboo culms as the cup for her drinks.

The 25-year-old Chinese girl who operates a beverage shop called Negative Three located at Mile 10 told DayakDaily that her product would only be available for a limited time only during Gawai Dayak.

Wong stressed that the bamboo milk tea is only offered during the Gawai bazaar due to the uncertainty in keeping up with the supply of bamboo culms.

Wong holds a cup of the ‘bamboo milk tea’ at a Gawai bazaar near MBKS Community Hall compound.

She explained that using freshly cut bamboo culms as a cup was not very practical as exposure to water will permeate the culm’s membranes, causing it to soften and fall apart.

Thus, she had to resort to using a proper plastic cup to fill in the delicious milk tea drink and later fit the whole cup into the bamboo culm as a decoration.

“With this, the end product still exudes a special outlook with the bamboo culm covering the whole cup and people can enjoy taking photos with the drink that associates itself with the Gawai celebration,” she told DayakDaily when met at a Gawai bazaar held at Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Community Hall compound here recently.

Those who drink the bamboo milk tea can smell the bamboo aroma upon drinking the milk tea, due to its close proximity with the bamboo cover.

The bamboo milk tea’s plastic cup fits perfectly into the bamboo culm.

She added that she bought the bamboo culms from a local man who collects the bamboo directly from the forest.

“That supplier also helps to cut the bamboo culms according to the same size of the plastic cups.

“That is why the bamboo milk tea product is sold at a higher price because we use the large cup in addition to the cost incurred in purchasing the bamboo as the cup cover,” she elaborated.

The Gawai bazaar at MBKS community hall began on May 18 and will run until May 28. — DayakDaily

A customer poses in front of bamboo milk tea’s stall at the Gawai Bazaar held at MBKS Community Hall compound.