Buko juice is basically the clear liquid (coconut water) inside the young coconut. It’s a very popular drink in the Philippines, especially in the provinces where, if you are a visitor, your host would sometime ask someone to clamber up a coconut tree to harvest young coconuts. They will then, in front of you fashion the young coconut in such a way that you could drink the refreshing and sweet water inside.
Nowadays, buko juice is served in beach restaurants (like in the pictures above, taken on a restaurant on a beach on Panglao Island in Bohol) and are bottled or canned, especially for export. It is a good sports drink because it is high in potassium. Fresh young coconuts (usually from Thailand) are also sometimes available in the market.
The water is fat free and contains a lot of minerals.
Buko juice is best prepared when the coconut is young and green (we call it butong in our language) and freshly harvested from the tree. It’s also best drunk directly from the coconut through a hole. But of course, you can also pour the waster out into a pitcher, open the coconut and scrape the fleshy meat (when the coconut is young, the meat is soft, almost gel like in consistency) with a lemon zester or with a spoon and then mix it with the coconut water. You can add sugar and milk if you want … and ice cubes just like in the picture below:
BTW, there’s plenty of studies about how healthy coconut water is … I remember, when I was in vet school, it was frequently mentioned in our medicine class that, if in dire situations, like if you are in the rural areas and you are in need of isotonic solutions in cases of diarrhea etc., you can actually use coconut juice as a replacement water. It is rich in minerals, as I said, it is isotonic, and it is sterile. I never used it though. Inspite of all these studies (our dean at that time, Dr. Salvador Escudero III who was also our professor and was the Bureau of Animal Industry director did a lot of studies on coconut water), it still does not translate in the field.
Here are “vintage” pictures of coconuts and buko:
The coconuts of Boracay
Harvesting coconuts from the tree
Kids preparing buko for buko juice