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 started because of my passion for photography. I was on a mission to capture 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. My goal was to make the clouds look soft and creamy using an advanced photo technique called Long Exposure Photography.
After driving to the end of the unpaved road that leads to Kampot river, I mounted my camera on my tripod, took my ND filter, and shot a few images of the cute little temple standing in front of me.
Here is the picture:
The process of collecting palm sap: From tree to container
But my adventure didn’t stop there. On my way back, I saw a Khmer farmer about to climb on one of the palm trees on both sides of the road. He had some empty cylindrical containers that he hung on the palm tree to collect the sap overnight from the flower. I took my camera out of my bag and started to take pictures of him. Later, he invited me to come back the next day to show me how to make palm sugar.
Next day, I found him at the same spot collecting the canisters filled with the juice.
Some people with empty plastic water bottles were also there to purchase some of the fluid off him.
Later, he offered me some to try. He then asked me to follow him to his home to see how palm sugar is made.
How he Made it
His house was just about a couple of minutes away from where we were.
First I got to meet the whole family, very friendly people. Then, he invited me to follow him.
Once in his sugar shack, opposite his house, he emptied the containers with the collected sap into a large wok-shaped pan. The liquid was then filtered to eliminate any residue. His wife joined in to set the fire under the pan, and the sap boiled until it thickened and turned brown. The palm sugar was ready, and the process of dehydration began.
His wife then joined 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.
My experience learning about palm sugar making: Hospitality and culture in Cambodia
Seeing firsthand how to make palm sugar was a great experience, and I captured it all through my camera lens. But what made it even more special was the hospitality I received from the Cambodian people. That’s why I’m always happy to spend my holidays there and get to know their culture.
So now you know how to make palm sugar and a little about my journey of discovery. Try it out for yourself and taste the authentic flavor of Cambodia.
Similarly, you may also visit my portfolio about Cambodia.
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