Gula apong, aka attap sugar aka palm sugar is the sweet sap of the nipah palm (Nypa fruticans)
Nipah palms grow naturally and abundantly in the lower reaches of rivers in Sarawak.
Traditionally, the coastal people harvest the sweet sap from nipah palms which are old enough (usually 5 years and older). A cut is made on the flower to allow the sap to flow into bamboo containers (now recycled plastic bottles). the sap is then for 8 or 10 hours with constant stirring so as to evaporate the water content.
Usually 10 liters of sap produce 1 kg of gula apong.
the thick sugary mass is stored in small plastic bags or plastic tubs for sale in native markets in Sarawak.
One of the reasons why the gula apong is so tasty is because of the combination of sea salt and the sweetness of natural palm.
the gula apong today is used in more ways than you can imagine. Creative chefs have been challenged to introduce new uses too.
Lovely new product - Gula Apong Icecream
The Nipah Palm flowers are beautiful. Female flowers are at the tip which later form the seeds in a large globular cluster (up to 10 inches) on a single stalk. These clusters will float away and grow into palms on the muddy flats.
Beautiful nipah flower at a riparian forest in Sibu, near Bawang Assan.
|Female flowers are in a cluster like this.|