The Jakarta Post
"Bir pletok" (herbs and spices-based beverage) and "kembang goyang" (flower-shaped crackers). (Shutterstock/File)
Jakarta has always been associated with Betawi, the city’s native ethnic group. Little do people know that the ethnic group itself has inherited a large amount of traditional dishes.
“There are so many traditional dishes of Betawi, ranging from vegetable dishes, kue kering [cookies], kue basah [pastries] to beverages,” said Yahya Adi Saputra, Betawi culture expert, to tempo.co.
However, not all of those dishes can survive. Yahya recorded only 20 kue basah out of around 80 that still can be found nowadays.
One of the endangered kue basah is jongkong kopyor, which is made from rice flour, sago and coconut milk. It is usually served during traditional ceremonies.
Moreover, Yahya also mentioned about sengkulum. Made from shredded coconut and glutinous rice, sengkulum is famous for its striking pink color.
A vendor cooks "kerak telor" at the 2018 Jakarta Fair. (JP/Jessicha Valentina)
There is also abuk that used to be a must-served dish during traditional events and family gatherings.
Aside from endangered dishes, Yahya also reminisced about foods that might have been renamed, including anak Cina (Chinese kid), bianglala (ferris wheel) and kue mangkok (steamed sticky cupcake).
“I don’t know the names of those pastries now. We can still find them but with different names,” Yahya said.
Meanwhile, the dishes that still survive are the ones that are often found in the market or tourist destinations. Among them are kerak telor (omelette made from glutinous rice and egg, usually served with fried shallots and coconut flakes) and bubur (porridge) ase. “Almost all Jakarta residents recognize this porridge,” Yahya said, adding that the dish consists of porridge and ikan teri (anchovies).
Some dishes that are also still popular are satu cake (soft cookies made from mung beans) and kembang goyang (flower-shaped crackers). When it comes to sweet and fresh options, both ice selendang mayang (dessert made from rice flour and palm sugar) and bir pletok (herbs and spices-based beverage) are still considered iconic as many people are still looking for them. (wir/mut)