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Chang Heeb, Handy Lanna Tool

Handy Lanna Tool

This column, UNIQUE THAI HERITAGE, was first published during the period of December 1993 until December 1998. We are now coming back with the same presentation but different objects through out the kingdom. These utility products were based on the ingenuity of folk people.

As every housewife, chef or cook knows, no kitchen is complete without a collection of useful, timesaving gadgets. We have all seen the state of art gadgets of today whether they be coffee makers, tea makers, bread makers or what have you. But the electronic wizardry of today doesn't mean that the Thai housewife of yesteryear was without her kitchen and household gadgets. A range of such useful items will be featured over our next issues.

Chang Heep Fruit Squeezer / Juicer

The first item is the "Chang Heep" you may know that "Chang" means Elephant so, if we tell you that "Heep" means "squeezing", does "Chang Heep" mean Elephant Squeezing? No, it does not because squeezing an elephant is not recommended! A Chang Heep is a Fruit Juicer and Squeezer. It is a truly handy gadget when pulping fruit for desserts or making cooling fruit drinks.

In design, the Chang Heep has a sturdy, hardwood base, about 30 centimeters square, from one side of which a hardwood-board (30 x 10 centimeters) rises perpendicular to the base. About mid-height of the board is a grooved, circular tray with a drainage spout. And atop that, attached to a clever spigot fulcrum arrangement, is a long, shaped handle. The shape of the grooved tray and spout is rather like that of an elephant's mouth and, of course, the shaped handle is not unlike an elephant's trunk. Hence the term "Chang Heep".

The operation of the Chang Heep is simplicity itself; chunked fruit pieces perhaps pineapple, sugarcane, coconut flesh, or orange are placed on the grooved tray, the "elephant trunk" handle is pumped onto the fruit a few times and, hey presto, the juices run freely down the spout and are caught in a waiting receptacle. If the liquid is too fibrous, a net filter can be added to the arrangement.

The Thai term for an elephant's mouth is "Paak Chang" an elephant's trunk is "Nguang Chang" so they combine with "Heep" to make "Chang Heep" a Thai style fruit juicer and squeezer from long ago. There is little new in modern kitchen gadgetry!

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