Surabaya’s best-kept secret signature dish
Universally, the four-leaf clover represents a symbol for good luck and fortune. This, however, does not apply to the citizens of Surabaya. Here, people see the four-leaf clover – known as semanggi – as their traditional dish.
Unlike Rujak Cingur – the other iconic dish of Surabaya – it is nigh on impossible to findSemanggi anywhere else outside of the City of Heroes. Its origin is unclear, but it is believed that once upon a time, Surabaya had acres of four-leaf clover bushes, which led to the residents making a dish out of it. Combining boiled four-leaf clovers, bean sprouts and water spinach, the Semanggi has a similar appearance to that of a Pecel (Javanese mixed vegetables in peanut sauce). Yet the addition of the semanggi adds an aromatic flavour to the dish that could not be replicated by just any other green vegetable. Its flavourful sauce is made from a mixture of garlic, onion, chilli, cassava, petis (shrimp paste) and peanuts. Compared to Pecel, its sauce has a rather more complex tang – it’s sweeter, has a hint of that East Javanese flavour courtesy of the petis, and it has a denser texture.
It can be quite a taxing task to locate a Semanggi seller nowadays, but you’re welcome to try your luck by checking out Taman Bungkul.