Wow ! Sounds like an irresistible deal, right?
Decades ago, we lived in a village wooden house, which had a roof made from pieces of attap leaves that had been previously “stitched’ together. These were strapped into place by skilled workers, and they withstood rain and sunshine for at least 5 years between changes.
But we never saw the plant – the Nipah Palm – from which the attap leaves were harvested. Perhaps we never thought of looking for them.
These palms bear a kind of fruit with a multi-ridged pointed roundish shape. We used to buy them from petty traders at the marketplace. Once split open, the inside of the fruit yielded a smooth translucent ellipsoidal kernel which we called “attap chee” in Hokkien (‘seed of atap’). Yummy !
These days both fruit and and leaves are getting scarce.