The time was 5pm, and despite the heavy traffic along Jalan Cipaganti in Bandung, I mustered enough willingness to actually put in an effort to locate the renowned Cireng Cipaganti. It was after I drove past a gas station that I finally spotted a small cart sitting under a blue tent by the roadside with a huge yellow banner that says “Cireng Cipaganti – Cireng Legendaris Sejak 1990”. Without even pausing for a breath, I immediately parked my car besides the warung and jumped out.
As I made my approach, one man was busy placing a few Cireng (sago starch fritter) inside a paper bag for an old lady right next to him. Two more people had their hands full fixing up the dough and gently tossing them into the frying pan. After noticing my arrival, the oldest of the three – who I would eventually find out to be Abah, the owner of the joint – enthusiastically greeted me and beckoned to have a seat. I grabbed one of the plastic chairs available and began to flip through the menu that was handed to me.a
It turns out that Abah already has several stalls in operation across Bandung, while he tends to bring his Cireng to a number of food bazaars in Jakarta as well. There are several choices of flavours up for grabs here: original, cheese, and chocolate. It also offers Cilok, which is the boiled version of the treat and is served in peanut sauce. I went with the original variant and the cheese-flavoured Cireng. The latter was truly magical, with the aromatic cheese perfectly complementing the savoury and chewy Cireng. It was definitely more delicious than the ones that I’ve tasted in Jakarta.
Before I made my leave, I asked Abah to confirm that he has been selling Cireng at this very spot since 1990. “Not really. At first, we were located at a parking lot of a restaurant on Jalan Cemara Selatan, which is just a bit further up from here,” he replies. “We were based there for quite a while. However, after the year 2000, as the business began to pick up and draw a large number of customers on a daily basis, the owner of the restaurant kicked us out because my regulars took up most of the space at the parking lot.” With a few packets of Cireng in hand, I thanked him and said my goodbyes. “Give me a call if you find yourself craving for my Cireng. I could send some frozen ones over to you,” he says. I smiled and gave him a nod while wondering whether he could deliver them over to Jakarta.
Jl. Lamping No. 17 (next to Cipaganti petrol station),
T: 022 204 3206
Open daily from 1pm-8.30pm
Rp.10,000/US$0.80 per pack