CHICAGO FOODWAYS ROUNDTABLE
In Southeast Asia, Palm Sap is Transformed Into a Sugar That Hits Sweet, Smoky, and Bitter Notes
Present by: Robyn Eckhardt and David Hagerman
Sunday, April 15th, 2007 10AM Kendall College, 900 North Branch Street, Chicago
Cost: $3 per person, free to Kendall students and faculty with ID
Palm sugar, a key ingredient in most Southeast Asian cuisines, is little known outside the region. Few fans of the dishes that benefit from this sugar's low-key sweetness are aware of the laborious process that turns palm sap into gold. Fewer still know that this sweetener's flavor profile can vary widely as a result of sap origin, production process, and attention to detail on the part of the producer.
Join Robyn Eckhardt and David Hagerman as they take us from a town in southern Malaysia, where a retired imam cooks up golden gula Melaka (Malaysian coconut palm sugar) delicious enough to be eaten on its own, to a village in Northern Sumatra where a second-generation maker produces dark and smoky gula aren (sugar from the aren palm). Along the way we'll find out where this truly artisinal product comes from, how it's made, and how it's used in the region's cuisines. We'll also learn how economic realities in some parts of Southeast Asia may result in the eventual demise of asli ('pure' - that is, undiluted with cane sugar) palm sugar. We'll taste some sweet and savory dishes that highlight the sugar and - border control willing - indulge in a 'tasting' of palm sugars that David and Robyn have collected on their travels.
This program is hosted by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable. To reserve, please call (847) 432-8255, then leave your name, telephone number, and the number of people in your party, or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.