Sugarcane, or sugar cane, are several species of
tall perennial true grasses of the genus Saccharum, tribe Andropogoneae, native
to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South, Southeast Asia, and New
Guinea, and used for sugar production. It has stout, jointed, fibrous stalks
that are rich in the sugar sucrose, which accumulates in the stalk internodes.
In Indonesia, sugarcane juice drink is called
minuman sari tebu. The iced sugar cane juice is called es tebu. It is one of
traditional drink commonly sold on street-side in Indonesia. The sugarcane
plant has been cultivated in Java since ancient times. The earliest record came
from a 9th-century inscription dated from Medang Mataram period that describes
a sweet drink called Nalaka Rasa which translate as sugarcane juice.
The sugarcane is extracted using a pressing
machine to squeeze the sugary sap from sugarcane. The machine might be manually
man-powered, fueled with gasoline, or electric-powered. The juice sold there
are always served cold with ice cubes. Traditionally, it is sold throughout the
country especially among street vendors that set their stall on the street
side. However, today sugarcane drink vendors with much-improved hygiene can
also be found in food courts in malls and shopping centers.
Sugarcane juice, called nước
mía or mía đá, is common in Vietnam as a drink. Other fruit juices may be added
to balance the sweetness, such as kumquat or chanh muối.
It is sold at street stalls in plastic bags filled with ice or in disposable
Sugarcane juice is also a refreshing drink in
Africa. In Egypt, it is known as asab and is sold in juice shops around the
country. The largest juice shop in Egypt is in Saft El Laban, Giza. Egyptians
also mix lemon with asab and let it ferment to produce a fermented variant of
the drink. The most highly prized asab comes from Minya, Egypt.
In the eastern region of Madagascar, sugarcane
juice is fermented to make an inexpensive alcoholic beverage called
betsa-betsa. The drink is popular with locals because it is cheaper than beer.
The government of Pakistan declared sugarcane juice
as its national drink.