Preserve and Promote Indonesian Cuisine
Serabi (rice flour pancakes with coconut milk) with various toppings at Surabi Bingung in Ciputat. (Good Indonesian Food/File)
Back in the day, serabi (rice flour pancake with coconut milk) was a mere traditional snack. In modern times, though – especially with warung serabi now all the rage – this treat has climbed up the culinary social ladder. The toppings on offer these days include not just the obligatory liquid palm sugar, but also the likes of cheese, sausage, ice cream, vla (custard) and many more. One such joint that has earned itself a must-visit reputation is Surabi Bingung in Ciputat.
I only understood why it was given such an unusual name – bingung means “confused” in the English language – once I paid the shop a visit. The moment I set foot inside, I was directed straight to the cashier to order and pay for my serabi. It is a system that I assume would be very useful during crowded times, as it would mean that my bill will not be accidentally swapped with someone else’s.
Only when I had a look at the menu, did I realize why this place was bestowed with the moniker Surabi Bingung – or at least I assumed this may be the reason: The variety of toppings on offer is countless, with customers able to choose up to three. Its motto is “Kalau bisa murah, kenapa harus mahal?” – which roughly translates as “If you can get it on the cheap, it does not have to be expensive” – and that motto reflects in the prices on the menu. Besides serabi, the joint also has other delights on offer, including french fries, a variety of beverages and even sate daging kuda (horse meat satay) for the curious and adventurous.
There was not a single moment when the shop was void of customers after opening at 5 p.m. that day. Its kitchen – complete with its 40-piece serabi mold – is located at the forepart of the eatery, where punters are able to see these tantalizing traditional delights in the making. The employees are very affable, greeting you with a smile, and even a joke or two.
I decided to try out four toppings at once: banana and cheese, cheese and durian vla, strawberry ice cream, and cheese, sausage and spicy mayonnaise. Its serabi is quite thick, yet its center leaves a velvety sensation with every bite. Each topping has a unique flavor, especially the cheese and durian vla, which tasted as if I was eating a real durian. If you opt for the strawberry ice cream like I did – a masterpiece of a combination between the cold and sweet ice cream and the soft and savory serabi – make sure you eat quickly, before it melts due to the heat from the warm serabi.
Surabi Bingung is without doubt a must-visit place for an affordable round of modern serabi. (kes)
Explore more of Indonesian cuisine here.
Jl. RE Martadinata, Ciputat, Tangerang
Contact: 0877 432 9234
Open daily from 5 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Rp 30,000 (US$2.30) per person
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.