THE LEAVES -The leaves of the palm tree are commonly used as materials for construction and domestic goods. Most of households in rural areas use palm leaves for thatching and for the walls. The young leaves are made into hats, boxes to store rice, baskets, fans, etc. In the past they were used as writing materials, especially by the monks.
FRUIT - Each palm tree has about 8 to 13 bunches of fruit. The fruit contains about two to three kernels that can be eaten fresh or prepared as a sweet with sticky rice. The top part of immature fruit is also cooked as a vegetable. The mature fruit is soaked in water after which the wiry fibres are extracted. The yellow pulp is mixed with rice starch, folded inside a banana leaf and later steam-cooked.
THE TRUNK - The less-productive palm trees are cut for timber. The whole trunk is used by removing the soft middle part, and the strong, hard outer wood is used for house construction. This outer wood is more durable than other kinds of wood when used in the shade and protected from rain. The whole trunk can also be made into a small boat capable of carrying at least three peoples.
JUICE - The juice is the important part of the palm tree. The farmer uses long bamboo poles with the stumpy remnants of leaf bases at the nodes that serve as rudimentary steps for climbing. These are rivetted permanently to the base of the trunk during the juice-collecting period. When the trees are located close to each other, one or two long bamboo poles are used as an aerial "stairway" to facilitate movement between the trees, thus avoiding the need to descend and ascend each tree and permitting the tapper to use his time more productively.
PALM SYRUP AND PALM SUGAR - A considerable amount of energy is required to condense palm juice into syrup or sugar; about 4 kg of fuelwood is needed to produce 1 kg of palm syrup. Cambodian farmers continue producing palm syrup and sugar because they can still find free fuelwood and it is their main income during the dry season. However, if an opportunity cost were put on the fuelwood it would often exceed the value of the syrup produced. Sugar palm juice is traditionally processed into three types of sugar: liquid sugar (sugar palm syrup), crystalline palm sugar and block sugar. The most common type consumed in rural areas is sugar palm syrup which is about 80 percent dry matter.