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, ten times higher than China and Europe.

Siem Reap, gateway of the temples of Angkor, saw an explosion in the past few years  in the number of hotels and restaurants. Fortunately  few businesses are  engaged in initiatives to reduce their  plastic consumption using aluminum bottles  bottles,  biodegradable packaging or reusable bags.
Every little bit counts and the replacement or the ban  of  plastic straws should be included in  the plastic free initiative for a business.

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 want to continue to use straws. They can be classified as reusable and single use. Many different types of straws 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

 

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.

 

List of Green Organisations in Siem Reap