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Jakarta Post

Satinem’s ‘lupis’ stands test of time

Fri, April 24, 2020   /   03:54 pm
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    Satinem prepares to cook lupis, a traditional sweet snack. She forms a tube from a banana leaf, which will later be filled with glutinous rice. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Satinem (left) and her husband Narto Utomo fill dozens of banana leaf tubes with glutinous rice. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Satinem and her husband collect firewood to cook lupis. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    A handful of banana leaf tubes filled with glutinous rice. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Narto Utomo manages firewood to create stable heat throughout the cooking process. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Satinem drizzles molten brown sugar on a portion of lupis. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    A customer takes a photo of Satinem with his smartphone. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    A customer holds a waiting number at Satinem’s lupis stall on Jl. Bumijo, Yogyakarta. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Lupis served in a banana leaf cone with a drizzle of molten brown sugar and a sprinkle of grated coconut. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Satinem’s daughter, Mukinem, calculates the money they’ve earned after finishing selling lupis with her mother. JP/ Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    An optician staff members opens the shop’s window — a sign for Satinem to close her lupis stall. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Mukinem and Satinem return to their home by motorcycle. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

In the early hours of the morning, five people lined up in front of an optician not far from the Tugu monument in Yogyakarta. They were waiting for Satinem, who has been selling a glutinous rice snack called lupis in front of the optician for decades.

The 75-year-old appeared at 6.30 p.m. and got ready to cater to her customers.

“There are quite a lot of orders for today, so I’m a little late," Satinem said with a laugh.

She opened up a banana leaf wrap to reveal warm lupis, then cut the snack with a thread tied to her left index finger. The lupis is then mixed with thiwul (grated cassava) and cenil (colorful sago-based snack). Satinem then sprinkled grated coconut and drizzled thick, brown sugar syrup on top of it.

Customers circled her, eagerly waiting for their orders.

Satinem has been selling lupis since 1963, gaining countless loyal customers over the decades. But she shot to fame after she was featured in the Netflix documentary Street Food last year. Since then, she started welcoming new customers, particularly young ones.

Satinem’s daughter, Mukinem, prepared 50 waiting numbers to manage the flow of customers. But that doesn’t always work.

“Some customers directly order lupis with my mother; that annoys the people waiting in line," said Mukinem, who also helps take orders.

After selling lupis, Satinem usually goes home and rests for a while. She and her husband Nardi Utomo then start cooking lupis in the afternoon. The couple also prepares thiwul, while Mukinem is responsible for making cenil

Everything is cooked in the family’s kitchen, whose walls have blackened due to smoke from the fire-burning stove.

In this humble kitchen, Satinem and her family cook the traditional snack that is not only tasty but also stands the test of time. [yps]