What is black sugar?
Black sugar is a common ingredient in Asian cooking, but when I show black sugar to my Western guests. They very often ask “is that brown sugar?”
Black sugar is healthier and more tasty than white processed sugar; brown sugar has a few of the benefits of black sugar, but really isn't as good.
It can look quite similar to brown sugar, but black sugar is even darker - almost black. Black sugar is popular in Taiwan. Compared to processed sugar, which has a very flat, characterless taste, black sugar is 'round', with a lot more flavor.
Unlike processed sugar, black sugar contains molasses, plus potassium, iron, calcium and other minerals.
Many Western women like to eat chocolate for comfort during their period, but Japanese women like to eat black sugar. For Taiwanese women, eating black sugar during their period is also a very common custom, probably because Taiwan is a former colony of Japan. They really eat pieces of sugar like it's candy.
Actually, the minerals like iron and calcium do help ease the tension and discomfort of a woman's period. Of course the calories of the black sugar do produce a lot of energy for this difficult time too.
Compare it to a cup of hot chocolate on a winter's day. Ginger and black sugar tea is a popular drink in almost every part of China. Apart from warming up the body, ginger tea also helps to cure colds.
Similar to sea salt or rock salt, black sugar is also a relatively alkaline ingredient. Instead of using processed salt or sugar, it will give our health more nutritional benefits.
If I need to add any sugar to my coffee or tea, I would rather choose black sugar than processed sugar.
Where to buy black sugar?
You should be able to find black sugar in Asian (Chinese or Japanese) markets and supermarkets. The English product labels are often wrongly translated, but if you can see the Chinese / Kanji characters for black sugar, you should be getting the right thing - the image here shows these characters as they appear on a product. If the product has nutritional information, then high iron, calcium and mineral content is another sign of real black sugar. You can also buy black sugar online, for example at Amazon: here and here. These are sponsored links.