Bringing home boxes of Pempek (fishcake with vinegar sauce) has become somewhat of a ritual for local tourists who travel to Palembang. I was already mentally prepared to do the same, until a small talk with my local driver led to a change of heart. I was completely sold on his idea of picking up treats at a marketplace instead.
He drove me to Pasar Cinde on Jalan Jend. Sudirman – one of the largest traditional markets in town – which is definitely the kind of place where one would expect to find a variety of local snacks. However I was initially turned off by the sight of its shambolic anterior, which houses stalls touting Kemplang (fish crackers) and various nibbles. I soldiered on nonetheless.
After a few steps in, I ground to a halt. My gaze was fixed upon a selection of cakes on display at a shop called Toko Kerupuk David – one of them being Bolu Delapan Jam (sponge cake), which translates as “eight-hour sponge cake” in the English language. It turns out that its moniker was taken from the length of time it takes to bake the cake.
Bolu Delapan Jam can be quite a costly purchase at Rp.160,000 per packet, which I reckon is due to its long baking process. Brownish in colour on the outside, its appearance looks just like every other bolu. Its taste, though, shares some similarities to a banana cake but with a much sweeter aftertaste. It is quite dense in texture, yet moist enough to delight my taste buds with every bite. Definitely worth every penny, and it made for the perfect souvenir for my family back home.