How to make Palm Sugar
Have you ever wondered how palm sugar is made? I always have.
It happened a few months ago during my holiday in Cambodia.
While I was riding a scooter through the Cambodian countryside, I stumbled on a little village right outside the city of Kampot where, by chance, I met a very nice farmer who kindly showed me how to make palm sugar.
It all happened because of my passion for photography. I wanted to photograph a small colourful Buddhist temple with a tiny pond next to it at the end of a dirt road.
How it Went
It was a beautiful sunny day with small white clouds contrasting the blue sky and my goal was to make the clouds look soft and creamy.
In order to do that I had to apply an advanced photo technique called Long Exposure Photography. As a matter of fact, if you’re interested and want to look at some of my pictures you might want to check my article about it.
So, I drove right to the end of this unpaved road that leads to Kampot river.
I mounted my camera on my tripod, I took my ND filter and shot few images of this cute little temple standing in front of me.
Here is the picture.
Once done, on my way back I see a Khmer farmer who is about to climb on one of the palm trees that are on both sides of this road.
I stop there, then he smiles to me. I take my camera out of my bag and start to take pictures of him.
He has some empty cylindrical containers that he hangs on the palm tree to collect the sap over night from the flower.
Later, he invites me to come back the next morning because he wants to show me how to make palm sugar.
Next day, I find him at the same spot collecting the canisters filled with the juice.
Some people with empty plastic water bottles are also there to purchase some of the fluid off him.
Later, he offers me some to try. He then asks me to follow him to his home to see how palm sugar is made.
How he Made it
His house is just about a couple of minutes away from where we are.
First I get to meet the whole family, very friendly people. Then, he invites me to follow him.
Once in his sugar shack, opposite his house, he finally shows me how to make palm sugar.
He empties the containers with the collected sap into a large pan shaped like a wok. During that process the liquid gets filtered to eliminate any residue.
His wife then joins in to set the fire under the large wok.
The sap boils until it thickens. When it is ready it reaches a brown colour.
The palm sugar is ready now and the process of dehydration begins.
Now, off he goes for more palm sugar.
In conclusion, seeing first hand how to make palm sugar was a great experience.
But greater is the hospitality I receive from Cambodian people every time I’m in Cambodia. That’s why I’m always happy to spend my holidays there and get to know their culture.
Similarly, you may also visit my portfolio about Cambodia.
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