Tang Juice: Our favourite juice, it’s a way of life


Tang juice

Tang juice


Packed in small packets as powdered juice, they come in different flavours: orange, strawberry, mango, pineapple, and etcetera. They make good refreshing drinks. Orange, and pineapple flavours are popular with consumers.

They are served at barbecues, picnics, feasts or mumus, and at meal times.

Kids love it. It’s a student’s favourite lunch time drink, and buai (bettle nut) sellers and chewers preferred mouth rinse.

On good days playful children through gaps in their front teeth would spit projectiles of this juice and are scolded by their mothers, who would threaten to pour the remainder on their heads.

Occasionally when a mother or father or both, whilst hustling their way to a game of cards, would scream at their children to stop nagging them and buy something to have with the money they’ve given them. More often than not the juice is implied.

A mother who has been loosing money would persist on playing cards and opt to feed her child this juice as she barks orders to her elder daughter(s) to cook something quickly. But it becomes a heavenly seep when she has lost all and ends up with a throat that feels like a desert that misses the rain for a thousand years.

Steam Bodies – slang for people who consume Steam (alcohol produced from illegal backyard brewing) – use it to dilute their brew. This group’s noise making skills, albeit without the aid of musical instruments, is unrivalled.

Often a drunk would use the juice as a matter of convenience, to sprinkle over the heads. This act of baptism, in an attempt to ease the tight embrace of the brew with its chill, often works well. A sweet and sticky residue however, which attracts honey bees to their faces, remains after all had dried up.

Picture a Steam Body in his/her drunken stupor, fights off honey bees. It is funny as it is serious. And if beaten, disregards the pain and continues to drink this precious fluid with a swollen face.

Owners of roadside markets make money from thirsty pedestrians, many of whom would have been loitering in and around shopping centers or government offices and are on their way home in the afternoons with their last kina in pockets.

Often up to four or five days a week, poor families in Port Moresby’s squatter settlements have it with a piece or slice of baked barn before laying their heads to rest. How tomorrow feeds them is another saga in their wretchedness.

Imported from Asia, a packet is going for fifty toea – it is cheap, and makes juicy and refreshing drinks for the whole family. It is called Tang juice.

This product has become the beverage of choice for the masses living around the fringes of Port Moresby city. It is and will be a favourite as long as it can be obtained cheaply.

It is part of us now – it is a way of life.

Come to think of it; what if a factory in the country starts producing Tang juice or its equivalent? Isn’t there a business opportunity when the demand is huge?

Well, this is for the money men and the government to think about. However, until these bastards start behaving selflessly, importation of this fine product will continue.

For now I shall pour myself a glass – orange flavour – and slowly seep my thoughts to slumber.


About febijefwhispers
I love reading and writing poetry!

13 Responses to Tang Juice: Our favourite juice, it’s a way of life

  1. Johnny says:

    It certainly sounds refreshing Jef!
    Are Tang juices better than the sweet pure juice of a coconut? I am interested to know reoughly how many folk drink coconut juice in PNG, urban and rural parts, compared to processed cordials and juices etc?

    • Hi Johnny, thanks for commenting here.

      I presume you aren’t living in Port Moresby.

      Your questions:

      Are Tang juices better than sweet pure juice of coconut?
      If one strictly mantains a healthy lifestyle, then Tang juice is not the obvious choice. Otherwise Tang juice appeals to many consumers here in Port Moresby.

      You’re interested to know the number of folks who drink coconut juice in PNG (urban and rural areas) compared to cordial and juices.
      I speak only for people living in Port Moresby city – so in Port Moresby’s markets fresh coconut juices are sold. And yes some people do buy them for a refreshing drink. But outside of the markets, Tang juice performs better than coconut juice as it can be sold in coolers by the road side or offices or at other awkward places deem OK by salesmen/women.

      Unfortunately I can’t speak for the rural folks. Highlanders have their own juice, perhaps sugar cane and Coastal folks have coconut juice.

      As to the number of people who drink these juices; I honestly can’t give you a figure. Anywhow, If I use many to quantify the number of people who drink Tang juice in Port Moresby, would it suffice to give you a hint of how many people consume it? Unfortunately, it appears coconut juice isn’t popular choice.

  2. Johnny says:

    Thanks Jef, that gives me a picture. I wasn’t after exact figures of course.
    The times I’ve gone to PNG, I get real thirsty (I’m from Wellington NZ and used to a colder climate) so it’s good to know the options.

  3. Mina says:

    A very insightful piece. Thanks Jeff. Although I’m not home, I try to bring back with me alot of Tang juice when I go home. I got my last packet in the cupboard now.:)

    • Hey Susa Mina, thanks for commenting here. I didn’t know Tang juice has also captured the taste buds of those living abroad. Gald to know, really.

      Hope you and family are doing just fine.


  4. Gee Francis says:

    A refreshing piece Jeff!

    TANG surely gives mothers a much cheaper & lighter choice, compared to the ‘bulky’ and ‘expensive’ cordials in containers, and hence a healthier profit.

    Enjoyed reading it.


  5. Omana says:

    Hi Jef, I’m not a big fan of tang juice but I don’t discourage people consuming it either. Tang juice is readily made available and is affordable. I see small children, especially girls, consuming the powdered tang…it’s fun for them coloring their mouth and showing it to there peers and of course, tang juice provide a good ingredient for ‘live lave’. All-in-all, tang juice quenches the thirst of a very thirsty throat.

  6. Ivan says:

    Jeff gutpela tru, reminds me of the colourful eskies under the rain tree at Community Hall, Morata 1 selling cold water and the ever convenient Tang juice in various 500ml containers.

  7. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  8. You mean…there is more than ONE FLAVOR of Tang???? WOW. 🙂

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