Palm trees are in their abundance in Myanmar, offering welcome shade to many a weary traveler. But paradise it also is to the thirsty ones who seek her cool smooth solace, for the palm trees in Myanmar produce a delicious tasty nectar and not of the coconut kind.
While we were travelling around we saw many a brave man standing at the base of palms (toddy palms) with a handful of tools in his hands. At first we thought he was in search of coconuts, but why wouldn’t he just wait for them to fall to the ground? Hugging the palm tree the man wraps his longyi across his two feet like a loop and in a flash he is scaling the sixty foot tall tree.
As he nears the top he places small pots directly under the sliced shoots so that the juice from the shoots trickles into the receiving pot. Checking the pots so often he seals the ones that are full and places them in a sturdy bag before replacing it with an empty one…up and down up and down he goes along the row of palms. But what’s so special about this toddy juice or htan yay as they call it that makes these men climb high into the trees and risk their lives and limbs?
Friends of ours told us that the sweet juice is extremely sweet before noon but after midday the juice ferments and becomes bitter so many villagers collect it and sell it to make money. Each small bottle is sold for around 200 Kyats and once it ferments you can get quite tipsy on the stuff! Hence the name Skybeer.
Unfortunately we were told about it too late and didn’t get a chance to sample Myanmar’s Sky Beer for ourselves but if your heading to Myanmar be sure to try it out!