Bakpia (sweet rolls stuffed with mung bean paste) has become the essential gift for visitors to snap up while in Yogyakarta – with the small, round-shaped treat now synonymous with the city itself. In fact, you will more than likely find yourself surrounded by pedicab drivers offering you a tour of Bakpia production spots if you stop by Malioboro.
Although it is known for being a traditional Yogyakarta delicacy, Bakpia actually has its roots in China. Its name is derived from the words “bak” (“meat”) and “pia” (“cake”), which when combined together means “meat-filled cake”. According to some people, Bakpia first appeared in Yogyakarta in the 1930s, brought over by Chinese trader Kwik Sun Kwok. To cater to the Muslim-dominant Yogyakarta people, he experimented on his Bakpia by replacing its pork meat filling with mung bean paste. It went down well with the public and instantly became all the rage.
With the passing of time, more variants have been introduced for its filling. To accommodate the fancy of the younger crowd, we now have Bakpia stuffed with chocolate, cheese, and more. A number of Bakpia brands began to appear, with the likes of Bakpia Pathuk 75 and Bakpia Pathuk 25 becoming household names. One particular brand that has seen its star rise rapidly in the City of Students is Bakpiapia.
A household business founded by Ibu Rasuna in June 2004, its flagship shop is found on Jalan Sosro Menduran in Yogyakarta. Small yet comfortable with a compact kitchen where its Bakpia is made, this is where it all began for Bakpiapia. Adopting a rather different concept to your run-of-the-mill Bakpia joints, Bakpiapia features an interior decor that mashes the vintage with the modern. A tampah (strand woven bamboo container) is used to display its signature treats.
In 2009, Bakpiapia added Ampyang (peanut ginger cookies with brown sugar) to its arsenal, while an array of new Bakpia flavours were ushered in to accompany the standard mung bean filling, including cheese, blueberry, pineapple, spicy tuna, chocolate, beef floss, cappuccino, and durian. You can also get a combination of two different fillings in one Bakpia here. Dubbed Blasteran, it is slightly larger than its regular counterpart and ranges from blueberry-cheese and banana-cheese to mung bean-cheese.
Interestingly, Bakpiapia was chosen as one of the food products on offer at the Keraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat royal wedding between Raden Ajeng Nurastuti Wirajeni – the youngest daughter of Sultan Hamengkubuwono X – and Achmad Ubaidillah. 5,000 exclusively designed Bakpiapia boxes filled with its Bakpia were specially ordered for the prestigious ceremony.