Sometimes plain ole water just won’t do when you try to survive through the sweltering misery brought about by Indonesia’s hot tropical climate. Fortunately, centuries’ worth of experience in dealing with the heat has resulted in the development of various invigorating desserts and beverages that could help bring your body temperature back to normal. The following are five of the best out of the lot.
Malang: Es Tawon Kidul Dalem
As much as the name may suggest, this drink doesn’t contain any bee stings or live hornets (“tawon” means “bee” in Bahasa Indonesia). Its moniker was derived from the swarm of bees that used to live next to its establishment. Made from several classic Indonesian dessert ingredients such as cincau, cendol and tapai, Es Tawon is acceptably sweet and cooling to boot.
Solo: Es Dawet Telasih Bu Dermi
In theory, a regular Es Dawet would contain only milk, palm sugar, and cendol. However, it seems that Bu Dermi has added something into her concoction that one could only describe as the nectar of the gods. Located amongst the hustle and bustle within Pasar Gede Hardjonagoro in Solo, throngs of people would constantly be seen hovering around her shop. Es Dawet Telasih Bu Dermi has several branches across Solo, but none could quite match up against the original.
Yogyakarta: Rujak Es Krim Pak Nardi
You can tell you’re in for a ride judging from its name alone. Rujak Es Krim is an intriguing combination of the traditional fruit salad in peanut sauce that we call Rujak and ice cream. Pak Nardi’s version, though, is a beauty; with its delicious mixture of fruits topped with watery brown sugar and home-made ice cream. More than worth the hassle of enduring the busy crowd on Jalan Malioboro.
Bogor: Es Pala Pak Ujang
You wouldn’t normally associate nutmeg-based delicacies with the words “sweet” and “refreshing”, yet against all odds Pak Ujang has managed to nail it. His Es Pala will bring relief to your throat and gently stir you with its sweetness and slight hint of spicy nutmeg. Many have tried to imitate Pak Ujang’s recipe – handed down by his father – and failed miserably, so make sure you go for the real thing in Gang Aut on Jalan Suryakencana in Bogor.
Jabodetabek: Es Teler Sari Mulia Asli
Es Teler is one of my favourite desserts of all time. One of Indonesia’s various fruit cocktails, it’s characterised by its mix of coconut milk, cocopandan syrup and condensed milk. It would usually be topped with an assortment of fruits including avocado, jackfruit, unripe coconut, and others, along with jelly. Es Teler Sari Muli Asli has the distinction of being known as the first outlet in Jakarta to sell Es Teler.