Over in the peninsula, they have the coconut tree-product, the gula Melaka or palm sugar. We have our own version – what we call the gula apong

Gula apong 1

…which came from the nipah palm that grows in abundance in the swamps in the lower reaches of the mighty Rejang River. The Chinese call it attap th’ng (sugar), attap being the palm leaves that people used to make thatched roofs in the days gone by.

It is a substitute for gula Melaka here when making those delicious Malay or nyonya kuihs (cakes) and I hear that some use it for one of the layers in the 3 or 4-layer tea…

Layer tea
*recycled pic*

…that seems to be the favourite of many.

I usually use it as a dip when eating boiled bandong or what is called ubi kayu  (tapioca/cassava) over in the peninsula…

Gula apong & tapioca

In the past, we would add lard to the gula apong but these days, lard is no longer readily available so we may use olive oil instead…or just eat it as it is.

I have also heard that the man at the Simpang Tiga stall here uses it to marinate his chicken wings and I must say that they taste really great! Very different from what we can get elsewhere and very very nice! They were only RM1.00 each a long time ago but it went up to RM1.50 and the last time I stopped by to buy – RM2.00. I wonder if the price has gone up since. Tsk! Tsk!

According to a seller at the market, the gula apong is getting scarce as young people are no longer interested in getting involved. If I’m not mistaken, the making may get a bit tedious as one would need to keep stirring it till it becomes thick…

Gula apong 2

…and that is no easy task, I assure you.

Actually, Quay Po bought a tub home when she was in town – I wonder what she has done with it so far. Well, the other day, I used it for this very nice tapioca dessert…

STP's tapioca dessert

I cut boiled tapioca into bite-size cubes and putting that in a bowl, I poured chilled milk into it and added gula apong. Ooooo…it was very nice! Perhaps you can use santan (coconut milk) or evaporated milk instead and if you have shaved ice, it may make it colder and nicer. I had to resist the urge to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream – bet that would taste great too…and I’m sure you can do the same with sweet potatoes or yam or have all three together and add some sago pearls as well to make some kind of bubur cacar. That would certainly be  a really yummy dessert, don’t you think?

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

33 thoughts on “Ours…”

  1. Hi, the glass of tea and the ubi kayu is to die for…..I need to go out after this to hunt for something to eat, getting hungry looking at your food pictures.

    I’m not sure this gula apong same like those we get from Indonesia. I had a packet given to me from my MIL Indonesia maid. I forgot what she mention to me the other day. But it look quite similar. I use it to cook bubur cha cha, very delicious.

    I used to cook tapioca with sago, santan and gula melaka, it taste good.
    But anything to do with gula melaka and santan sure taste delicious and can never stop eating. hahaha

    See you, going for my supper now. 😉

    It’s probably the same – something along the same lines as gula Melaka as well. I would substitute santan with milk these days – not very healthy to eat a lot of that…and I’m not really a fan – only when with or without it…and how much of it makes a difference e.g. in the making of nyonya kuihs. I wouldn’t want to dirty my teeth with those miserable not-lemak ones. Hope you enjoyed your supper… 😉

  2. try to put some gula apong into the kopi o…

    That’s what the Bandong lady told me. Yet to try that…should tatse something like brown sugar. 😉

  3. Oh that last photo looks awesome! 🙂

    I still prefer gula melaka to gula nipah though.

    Yeah, adding evaporated milk or cream (!!!) would definitively improve on the creaminess. 😀

    It does? LOL!!! 😀 I was just trying it out to see if it was any good…and it was! Loved it! Lovely dessert…and that triggered off all my imagination as to what I could do with it. Yes, evaporated milk would be nicer but there wasn’t any in the house then and I had a half-finished carton of fresh milk in the fridge. And yes, I do agree with you that gula Melaka is nicer…but gula apong is good too. Great with tapioca…and now I know it’s great when diluted in milk like in this tapioca dessert.

  4. Wow. I presume the one with milk is amazing! Tapiocas never looked this appetizing.

    Hi, Ryan! Remind me to make you some when you come home. I like it a lot so I guess you’ll love it too. 😉

  5. Nothing beats our own gula apong esp with the bandung! yummm! here gula melaka is easily available, but i dont like….

    Gula Melaka has its uses and is nice in its own way…but with bandong, it has to be gula apong…

  6. I bet gula apong taste good! It looks alluring especially with your tapioca!

    A winning combination, no doubt! 😉

  7. ooo no wonder le ..I have a fren from Kuching …
    n he told me that Kuching has the best 3 layer tea ..
    in KL is not that good as Kuching ..
    so now I know that they use gula apong

    Dunno about Kuching but we’ve got good ones in Sibu too. Ask Shereen… It was love at first…sip. 😉

  8. Never know Kuching got this kind of gula apong (get use to gula melaka only)…great use of it right? It’s definitely good for my sago pudding (if I’m gonna make one)…Ubi kayu is my wholesome fav..I can even eat it the steam ubi kayu just liddat without dipping any sauce.

    I guess they have it in Kuching too but here in Sibu, at times, it may not be that easy to get – a dying trade, I’m afraid…but lately, we can get it quite easily at my regular Malay kuih stall here. Yup…if the ubi kayu is nice, it can be eaten just like that.

  9. I was craving for this last week but I didn’t have the ingredients to make it. Now.. I’m craving for it again because of your blog post 😀 time to head to the Asian stores. I never heard of gula apong before. I don’t think we can get any here but gula melaka is available.

    If you’re cooking it in santan, I would think gula Melaka would be just as nice… Good luck! 😉

  10. oh, interesting!! i wonder how it taste like, or how it’s different from the gula melaka.. and adding lard to the gula nipah?? hahaha, this is something new to me.. never have thought of that..

    I think they add lard as the gula apong is not as watery…so it makes it easier to use as a dip and of course, they love the taste of lard. Wouldn’t be the same if you add other kinds of oil.

  11. Yes, I love gula apong, too. A popular restaurant in KK, Kak Nong, use gula apong in some of their kueh. I remember my sistet carried several kilos of gula apong back from Sibu especially for them.

    You don;t have this in KK…or Sabah? No nipah swamps there, I guess…only around here. Quite hard to get so many kilos now…and not cheap – RM6.50 for that tub of it and it’s not even full.

  12. Is gula apong same as the box of sugar i bought from the lady that sells the kueh lapis? I love steamed tapioca with coconut milk and gula melaka. Never thought of eating them with vanilla ice cream. Thanks for the idea.

    So substitute the gula Melaka with the gula apong – you’ll love it, I assure you…. The vanilla ice cream idea’s from Payung – they add that to the jelly pisang. Slurpssss!!!! Oops!!! You missed that! You did not get to go to P{ayung. Looks like you have to come to Sibu again…soon! 😉

  13. Wow!!…today you post all my favourites, eh. I use to make bubur cacar and steam ubi kayu with attap th’ng instead of sugar plus satan and they really taste very nice. It has that special unique taste.

    Don’t forget the pandan leaves…and would be nice with sage pearls too – those things are actually tasteless but somehow I love them in our local desserts.

  14. hahaha, no need to answer me Arthur, it is the same one, I just went and look. Have not done anything with it yet.

    So get down to it soon – see Irene’s comment on how she does it…and knowing you, I’m sure you can/would go a lot further than that. Come, come! Post in your blog…and I can follow your recipe. LOL!!! 😉

  15. Mmm…i still miss the 3 layer tea…next time have to order and drink in the morning..else like that day…kenot sleep till duno what time

    Rasa Sayang’s very nice – Shereen loved it. Too bad it was not open when you all were here… 😦

  16. My sis in Oz has her version of what she calls “chocolate milk” by mixing melted palm sugar with milk. It’s seriously good!
    I’m dreaming of bubur cacar right now.

    Like my dessert – the tapioca hasn’t much taste…so what actually made it nice was the gula apong dissolved in the milk. Yummmmm!!!!!

  17. First time hearing gula apong,,,hahahah, sounds funny though …gula and apong?

    Apong means floating…and I think those nipah palms grow in the swamps by the river and they look like they’re floating on the water. Perhaps that was how it got its name. By the way, why is gula Melaka called gula Melaka and not gula Penang? They only have it in Melaka?

  18. This looks delicious STP. 🙂 We also had nipa here but I don’t know if we have a version of gula apong here. I am yet to taste one.

    What I know is that nipa is used in making baskets and other handicrafts.

    Yes, it’s a palm…and the leaves are used for handicrafts…or making thatched roofs in the old days. I don’t think they use them now except when building temporary huts or shelters.

  19. I just came back from this Sweet Chat food outlet in one new shopping mall..they served this bubur cha cha with lots of santan… nasib baik I just took that otherwise your tapioca bubur sure make me drool like anything! 🙂

    Lucky you!!! But do go slow on the santan… Better use milk, low fat no less! LOL!!! 😀

  20. Arghhhhh….Arthur Wee!You are one mean man!!!I HATE YOU!!!!!!!!*stick out tongue*

    P/S:The 3 layered tea will give me nightmares tonight and your dessert look so the very nice…I’m going to make it soon using sweet potatoes as can’t get fresh tapioca here.

    Why? Why? *blinks innocently*… Muahahahahahahaha!!!! Ya, I’m sure it will be just as nice, if not nicer, with sweet potatoes. Yummm!!!! 😀

  21. We call it panutsa here! We use it to sweeten food or drinks.

    Is it from the coconut tree? If it is, then it is like our gula Melaka. If it is from the palms found growing wild in the swampy areas, then it is this one – the gula apong. Quite similar but not exactly the same.

  22. Thanks for the recipe. Adding to my collection. I prefer the boiled tapioca with some sugar. Your three layered tea looks delicious esp in this weather…can’t wait to have teh tarik with some ice….

    Ya…it’s very hot these days. I’d just eat boiled tapioca plain…if I can’t get any gula apong. Old habits die hard.

  23. ah this is also the same sugar that was added into my first cup of 3 layer tea when i visited kuching. yummy…but only if they don’t make my tea too sweet:P

    Oh? They use it for the teh-c special in Kuching? All this while, I just assume that they use gula Melaka…

  24. Very interesting – I never knew about the gula apong. The 3 layer tea sounds (and looks) intriguing!

    Oh? You’re from the peninsula or some place else. I understand they have the 3-layer tea everywhere too…though some say it’s not as nice. Maybe it’s because they use gula Malaka instead of gula apong, I wouldn’t know. But gula apong, you can get only in Sarawak – from the swampy regions. Lots of sago and sago products from those parts too.

    Your first time commenting, I see. Welcome and do come again, thanks for dropping by.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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