Sugarcane at the Local Thai Market
Fresh sugar cane has a flavor and aroma very different from processed sugar. These woody, pulpy stalks are often peeled, cut into discs, and chewed as a sweet snack. In Thailand and all across South East Asia, people squeeze fresh sugar cane juice from long stalks with a hand-cranked or motor-driven press, pouring the juice over crushed ice and lighten up the syrupy juice with slivers of fresh lime.
Thailand is a major producer of sugar cane for international use. Historically Thailand did not consume very much cane sugar, since Thai cuisine calls for palm sugar and other traditional sweeteners. As Thailand and Asia incorporate more processed food into their diet, there is a corresponding increase in consumption in cane sugar as refined white sugar.
At a Thai festival or on a street corner in a Thai town or city you are likely to see a vendor producing sugar cane juice by squeezing the sugar cane through a mechanical press. It is a popular drink and very refreshing on a hot day.
Photo © 2011 Kaitlyn Moore