In Sri Lanka, the coconut palm offers many uses and byproducts. While the coconuts themselves can be eaten or turned into coconut milk, the coconut shells, palm fronds and bark are also used in a variety of ways. Even the sap of the coconut flower is used to make toddy, a local alcoholic beverage natively known as “raa”.
The process one engages in extracting the sap is referred to as “toddy tapping” and those who do this are called “toddy tappers”. While in Galle, curious travellers can learn more about the toddy tapping process and even taste test the popular drink.
Toddy tappers walk on ropes tied between the tops of adjacent coconut trees to reach the palm flower. Toddy tapping begins when the tapper starts beating the flower for three days. Once beaten, the flower is then cut to allow the sap to drain. The toddy tapper will climb the coconut tree and tie a container known as a “labu katey” in the evening hours to collect the sap overnight.
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