Considered a light snack and often eaten alongside a meal, crackers are consistently popular across the country. They are made of sago as their main ingredient. Relatively cheap at Rp 1,000 (7 US cents) each, they are produced through an intricate process that can take up to three days.
The first step involves the mixing of sago, sardines and seasoning for three hours until the dough reaches the desired firmness. Then it is molded and steamed. After an hour in the steamer, the crackers enter their most important phase: being dried out in the sun for 10 hours. Afterward, the crackers are baked in the oven for six hours and have to be fried twice as the final stage.
At a crackers factory in Depok, West Java, workers take turns to fry crackers in a scorching room with minimal ventilation. The room is designed to keep tens of thousands of raw crackers at a warm temperature before going into the pans.
Established in 1974, the factory produces around 30,000 crackers per day. Sixty workers live in a mess at the factory. As well as making the crackers they also distribute them to markets, grocery stores and restaurants. The majority of these workers come from Ciamis and Tasikmalaya in West Java. (wng)