Why Lemongrass straws?
Plastic pollution is a big problem worldwide and especially in Cambodia which has the non enviable record of plastic bag consumption per person which is ten times higher than China or Europe.
Siem Reap, gateway of the temples of Angkor, saw, in the past few years, a dramatic increase in the number of hotels and restaurants. Fortunately few businesses started initiatives to reduce their plastic consumption using aluminum bottles, biodegradable packaging or reusable bags.
Every little bit counts and the replacement or the ban of plastic straws of often included in the plastic free strategy of more and more businesses in Siem Reap.
The best option to reduce the amount of plastic straws is of course not to use any. But alternative environmentally friendly solutions exist if you need to used them. Straws can be classified as reusable or single use. Many different types are commercially available such as bamboo, paper, metal, glass, silicone, herbal straws (wild grass, lemongrass, papaya’s stems). Even edible ones exist made of rice or apple.
Each of this product have its pro and cons which we will not discuss in this article but we can mention that as metal, glass and bamboo straws are not single use so cleaning has to be done properly… In addition, the experience of using each straw can be quite different and some may are not suitable for hot beverages for example.
At Changkran Khmer we are using lemongrass straws since the opening of our restaurant in August 2018 and we received an excellent feedback from our customers.
Lemongrass is readily available in Cambodia and it grows quite fast. Vichheka, the owner of Changkran Khmer is growing lemongrass in her garden and bring everyday a fresh bundle of lemongrass stalks to the restaurant so straws can be made when we serve our cocktails an mocktails.
How to make a lemongrass straw?
To start, you need to cut few centimeters off from the bottom and the top of the stalk. A lemongrass stalk is composed of different layers that have to be pulled apart (we use two layers to make a straw). Up to two straws can actually be made from a stalk depending on your skills:)
The final step consists of rinsing thoroughly with tap water the straws and soak them 30 min in water. They can be kept inside the fridge and use the same day.
Nothing is wasted as we are using the small pieces of lemongrass left in our kitchen.
If you want learn to make them just ask if you join one of our cooking classes.
Lemongrass straws FAQ’S
How long does it take to make one lemongrass straw?
Even for beginner, it takes less than 5 minutes to make 1 or 2 straws from a lemongrass stalk. This does not include the extensive washing with water.
Does the lemongrass straw alter the flavor of beverages ?
We tested a lemongrass straw with water and did not notice any change in taste. Straws are extensively washed and soaked in water that is probably why the effect on the drink is not noticeable.