The Jakarta Post
Bringing "legendary food" vendors from different culinary hubs in the country, Mal Ciputra’s fourth edition of "Kampoeng Legenda" marks the celebration of Independence Day. (JP/Muthi Kautsar)
August is a busy month in Indonesia as the country commemorates Independence Day. The month is even busier this year as Indonesia is hosting the Asian Games and wishes to showcase the best of the country to the world’s watchful eyes.
With this timing, and being fully aware of the culinary wealth it owns, practitioners in the retail and hospitality industries are keen to offer an array of Indonesian food in festivals. Mal Ciputra in West Jakarta, for instance, presents Kampoeng Legenda (Village of Legends), a culinary festival held annually that is now returning for the fourth time.
Ferry Irianto, general manager of Mal Ciputra, said to The Jakarta Post that Kampoeng Legenda aims to bring legendary Indonesian food to citizens of Jakarta, particularly visitors of the mall.
“Now that many Jakartans are keen on exploring the archipelago, it is good for them to get an idea of the local food of their travel destinations here in this mall,” said Ferry on the opening of the festival on Thursday.
More than 70 Indonesian foods presented by "legendary vendors" are available at the festival. Theses vendors hail from many cities in Indonesia, from Yogyakarta, Central Java, to Pontianak, West Kalimantan. Some food vendors from Jakarta and Bogor are also participating in the festival.
The opening of the festival also aims to tap into the millennial generation by featuring a talk show with Indonesian culinary expert William Wongso and young actress Yuki Kato.
Ferry, along with Febriyanto Rachmat, founder and CEO of JisComm, who organized Kampoeng Legenda, shared a concern that millennials may not be interested in cooking Indonesian food even though they like eating it.
“Their parents may still be able to cook Indonesian home food. But what if they don’t pass the skill and recipe down to their millennial children? Or what if the children are not interested in cooking? We organize this event to instill awareness within millennials that it is also important for them to cook Indonesian food,” said Ferry, who believes that it is a good way to preserve the culinary heritage.
Food vendors who participate in the event are examples of culinary businesses that have lasted decades. Febriyanto and Ferry quickly pointed out the vendors from Semarang when asked which were the most recommended. Among those vendors are Asem-Asem Koh Liem, established in 1978 and mainly selling beef and cow innards soup cooked with tamarind, tomato, and bilimbi; Pisang Plenet Mbah Toerdi (flattened grilled banana with margarine and other toppings) from Jl. Pemuda, established in 1952; and Warung Makan Mangut Manyung Bu Fat, who has been selling smoked manyung fish cooked with an array of herbs, spices and coconut milk since 1969.
William Wongso at Mangut Manyung Bu Fat stall in Kampoeng Legenda, Mal Ciputra Jakarta (JP/Muthi Kautsar)
Following the talk show, William Wongso was seen buying the smoked manyung fish head from Bu Fat’s stall.
Kampoeng Legenda is slated to run at Mal Ciputra until Aug. 19.