More than 17,000 islands of various sizes lay across the archipelago, and within them are countless traditional dishes that we have yet to discover. In this modern era, common people like you and I tend to go for something that’s more immediate and practical to get a hold of – such as food from the mini-market next door or from restaurants and cafes. This unfortunate habit has resulted in the oversight of some authentic local treats, thus driving these them to extinction. With that in mind, we believe it’s high time that we bring to light a number of delicacies that you should be familiar with.
Mainly made from cassava and topped with grated coconut and palm sugar, this sweet delight is pretty difficult to come by nowadays. One of a handful of ways that you can obtain it is to make your way to Imogiri in Yogyakarta and pay a visit to Thiwul Ayu Mbok Sum.
One of the major reasons why general folks are oblivious of the existence of Sayur Babanci is its availability – or lack of, that is. What makes this Betawi dish so rare to come across is the hard-to-find herbs that are necessary to make it. With beef, coconut meat, and coconut milk its main ingredients, Sayur Babanci can sometimes be found in the houses of Betawi natives during the Eid festivities.
Kue Putu (rice flour cake with palm sugar filling) pedlars would tout this sweet treat on the streets nearby my house almost every evening when I was a wee lad. Such a sight has become a rarity these days, especially in major cities such as Jakarta. One would have to visit a traditional marketplace or have a go at modernised versions of the snack to sample it.
Shaped like a spiral and wrapped in a coconut leaf, Kue Clorot consists of a mix of rice flour and palm sugar. What makes this sugary indulgence unique – apart from its scarcity in supply – is the way you eat it. By pushing the bottom end upwards without peeling off its wrapper, it will pop out at the other end.
One of my favourite snacks when I was growing up, this jelly-like nibble is produced using sago starch, palm sugar mix, and is topped with grated coconut on its exterior. The mere thought of its soft and chewy texture is enough to make my mouth water.