Connect with us


Kapek almost kaput in Phuket



PHUKET: A rare type of wild rice introduced to Phuket more than 60 years ago is in danger of disappearing from the island, officials say.

Four years ago there were seven farms growing Manchurian wild rice – known locally as kapek – for commercial purposes. Now there are only two left, said Pradub Chusakulvong of Kathu Agricultural Office.

“The main cause of the falling number of farms is people selling off their land to real estate companies or landlords trying to profit from water resources in other ways,” he said.

Sod Roongsawang is the 72-year-old owner of one of the two farms that grow the crop. He first planted kapek around seven years ago.

Although the crop has not made him rich, it has provided him and his family with a good living, he said.

“In the wet season I earn around 1,000 baht per day. In the dry season there’s not enough water and a lot of rats, but I never earn less than about 300 baht a day,” he said.

Mr Sod’s family sells kapek in markets at 20 baht per bunch of eight stems. It sells out every day, he said.

“I’ve supported my children’s education right through to graduation just by selling kapek,” he said.

Mr Pradub said a small number of households grew the rice for their own consumption, though not for trading.

“There’s quite a large chance kapek will become extinct in Phuket,” he said.

Kapek has been cultivated in Kathu for a long time, where it is still available in restaurants and some markets.

“I think farmers who have suitable land should grow it because it provides a very good income and has no natural pests, except rats,” Mr Pradub said.

Kapek is known as nor mai nam in Central Thai, which means ‘water bamboo’. Its Latin name is Zizania latifolia Turez.

Originating in China, it is one of only four types of wild rice in the world.

People do not eat kapek grains, but its stems. These are cut above the roots and the tops are sliced off, leaving a piece around 10 inches long.

Nipa Manakarn, a nutrition teacher at Phuket Vocational College, said only the white material on the inside of the stem is edible.

“The best way to cook kapek is stir-fried with oyster sauce, mixed with any kind of meat you fancy,” she said.

— Sitthipong Nongkaew


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand14 hours ago

Man arrested for spycam porn, 39 videos feature Thai stars

Thailand14 hours ago

Is poor English proficiency holding Thailand back?

Thailand14 hours ago

Shopee stops all bank payments after hackers steal from customer in Thailand

Sponsored22 hours ago

Challenges of starting a business in Thailand as a foreigner

Thailand14 hours ago

Thailand News Today | CAAT warns Thai VietJet for canceling three Phuket

Crime15 hours ago

Cat killer feels no guilt over sadistic act

Koh Samui15 hours ago

Koh Samui’s Moving Market – a hidden local treat

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Visa15 hours ago

Thailand’s 10 year LTR visa most popular among Americans and Chinese

Politics16 hours ago

Thailand PM wants to groom successor in two years

Bangkok16 hours ago

VIDEO: Taxi meter rises suspiciously quickly in Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand17 hours ago

Man wins 144 million baht in Thailand’s lottery

Bangkok17 hours ago

Plumber murders and robs Thai woman in Bangkok

Drugs18 hours ago

Man returns for bag with meth pills he left at restaurant

Transport18 hours ago

Porsche sales in Thailand roaring thanks to nation’s entrepreneurs

Visa18 hours ago

Overstay crackdown uses facial recognition tech

Thailand19 hours ago

Father dies trying to save son from teenage gang

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11