Nungu- Sugar palm

nongu2
This post is a tribute to one of my all time favorite fruit “Nungu” (Asian palmyra palm, toddy palm, or sugar palm).The palm tree is synonymous to the state of Tamilnadu where I spent most of my childhood, I still remember staring at these palm trees from the bus windows all along the journey no matter where I travelled. Nungu is a translucent, jelly like fruit which tastes unique and resembles no other fruit known to me until I tried Lychee which has the similar texture and that’s about it.

Nungu has a very mild flavor which is really soothing and refreshing.
During my last trip to Tamilnadu (Kovilpatti, Ettayapuram, Tutucurin and enroute to Thiruvanthapuram) I made a point to stop and try nungu wherever possible.

In Kovilpatti this man sells nungu in a cart accompanied with a big smile.

In Kovilpatti this man sells nungu in a big cart. Available all over Tamilnadu throughout the summer.

And that's what I am talking about, underneath the pale white skin is our hidden gem. The skill level of the man is so obvious as we can see not even a single scratch on the skin of the nungu

And that’s what I am talking about!Underneath the pale white skin is our hidden gem. The skill level of the man is so obvious as we cannot see a single scratch on the skin.

This lady sells peeled ready to eat Nungu on the street by carrying a big aluminum container on her head filled with Nungu which is covered with palm leaves

This lady sells peeled ready to eat Nungu in the street of Ettayapuram by carrying a big aluminum container on her head filled with Nungu covered with palm leaves

After seeing my fascination, a good friend of mine suggested few road side stalls near Parvathipuram/Nagercoil over bridge that offered one of the best Nungu based drinks. Even though I have tried similar drinks before I was curious to check these stalls out.nongu4aI promptly stopped in one of the 4 stalls which was located on this over bridge ( are we supposed to stop on a bridge?Of course!anything is possible)

After ordering our “Nungu sarbath” I started a conversation with the vendor.He recollected how when he was teenager and started this business he used to get Nungu for free and sold it for few paisas(pennies) and how now a days it has become expensive and rare to find good quality nungu.

Who also said this "Raja sarbath" (red sugary awesome syrup)is still the same as how he remembered when he was a child

He said this “Raja sarbath” (red-sugary-awesome syrup)still looks and tastes the same as he rememberes when he was a child.

mmmm can't wait :)

mmmm can’t wait 🙂

When I inquired about the liquid he assured me it is pure nungu juice and no added juice, which tasted divine

When I inquired about the liquid in the glass,  he assured me it was pure nungu juice (which comes out when you chop the nungu) and no added water.Needless to say it tasted absolutely divine.

He offered me to try another version nungu drink which is made of "pathani" a non alcoholic version of toddy has an extremely cooling sensation

He offered me to try another popular nungu drink.Made of “pathani” a non alcoholic version of toddy,it has an extremely cooling sensation. Loved it would be an understatement.

It was a pleasure talking to him and to know how passionate he was towards nungu

It was a pleasure talking to him and to share the same passion towards nungu

 

Apparently these trees are at risk these days due to urbanization.

And I wonder- this humble tree being a symbol of our rich Tamil tradition with so many medicinal and other benefits connected to it,why no efforts are being taken in preserving it?

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