Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where Does Attap Chee Come From?

Training brought me to SBWR this weekend and it was an enjoyable trip since I've not been out for an entire week. While we walked on the mangrove boardwalk, we came upon a flowering Nipah Palm. The bloom is quite amazing and brightly colored. Among the male flowers is a singular female bloom which is the ball in the middle of the photo.
For those who do not know the Nipah Palm is considered endangered here due to mangrove habitat loss. Almost all the parts of this palm tree can be used. The sap from the flower stalk can be used to make toddy, or boiled down to sugar (gula melaka). The young seeds of this palm is our beloved attap chee found in ice kachang. In the good ole kampong days, the leaves were dried and used as roof material.
Personally, I think these palm trees are majestic as they rise up from the mud. Another interesting thing about the Nipah Palm seem to have no trunk. In actual fact it does have a trunk but it grows horizontally in the mud. Do look out for these palms the next time you head to SBWR.


Uncle Phil said...

My wife and I have been "wowing" at your photography and your intimate knowledge of mother nature is incredible and beautiful.
I do not know whether it is the same species commonly known as "sago palm" in Papua New Guinea. The Papua New Guineans harvest sago as a staple food. We too love the pearly sago in our cooking.

Shirls said...

Thanks Phil. I am still learning and I also enjoy sharing what I learn.
The Nipah Palm is not the same as the Sago Palm. Nipah grows only in the mangrove whilst the Sago Palm on dry land. The sago palm is a cycas, over here I know the fronds are used for Palm Sunday.