“It came in a thick and chunky texture, featuring a smoky aroma that built up my appetite even further. The bottom was slightly burnt – rendering it very crunchy – while the top remained tantalisingly chewy.”
Let me make it clear from the start: I love traditional snacks. So when I heard about someone selling Serabi (a pancake-like treat made from eggs, coconut milk, and rice flour) in Selong, East Lombok, I promptly planned my next culinary destination on the island.
After a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Mataram to Selong, I reached there at around 4pm. Serabi maestro Ibu Rodiyah was sat on a stool cooking up some of her trademark snack on a wooden stove. Thick, choking smoke emanated from the stove, which got my eyes all watery and irritated. The good lady then took my order. With two types of Serabi on offer – plain and sweet – I followed the glutton in me and went for both.
Whilst waiting for my sweet tooth to receive the pampering it deserved, I threw a few questions to Ibu Rodiyah as she poured the mixture for the Serabi on to the pans. It turns out that her family has been selling Serabi from one generation to another, with Ibu Rodiyah being the latest to take over the business about eight years ago.
It took quite a while for my Serabi to be ready, due to the stove’s maximum capacity of only 20 pieces at once. Nonetheless, my patience paid off. It came in a thick and chunky texture, featuring a smoky aroma that built up my appetite even further. The bottom was slightly burnt – rendering it very crunchy – while the top remained tantalisingly chewy. The plain Serabi was a tad salty, which would suit those who prefer something a bit more savoury. On the other hand, the sweet Serabi is the ideal dessert for any occasion as she uses palm sugar to make it. It’s not as sweet as you might think, though; striking up a nice balance with the saltiness of the mixture.
To be honest, I still can’t shake the smoky aroma of the Serabi off of my mind. It still lingers in my nostrils even at this very minute. If given the opportunity, I would return to Selong for Ibu Rodiyah’s Serabi in a heartbeat.
By Jessicha Valentina
Jl. Patimura, Gandor, Selong,
Open daily from 2pm-6pm
Rp.12,000/US$0.90 for one pan