Thursday, July 12, 2012

Festival Pernak-pernik dan Makanan Betawi

On the fourth of July, my Mom and I went to this place named Sarinah to attend an art and culinary festival. Festival Pernak-pernik dan Makanan Betawi is the name of the event, which is Betawi's Accessories and Culinary Festival literary translated. 

The event took place at a shopping place named Sarinah, which already existed since my Mom was still in high school. At the hall way of this shopping place were countable food booths, in which the sellers were busy making foods to sell. My first stop was at this booth that sells Kue Rangi (Rangi Cake) and Kue Pancong (Pancong Cake).

Kue Rangi is a traditional dessert originated from Betawi, or Batavia, which is made from shredded coconuts. Those shredded coconuts were mixed with coconut milk and flour, and the seller would just cook them immediately on the shaped grilling pans. After the shredded coconut is well-cooked and shaped according to the frying pan, the seller would then coat it with melted jelly-like palm sugar. 

Spreading the shredded coconuts onto the grilling pan

Spreading the shredded coconuts onto the grilling pan, again!

Add some of those delicious jelly-like sweet filling to the grilled coconut

Kue Pancong, on the one hand, is also made out of coconut. The coconut is shredded into much smaller pieces, then mix it up with some flour and coconut milk, along with a dash of salt. The seller used a different grilling pan, which is shaped like crescent moon, to fry the coconut mixture. After those lovely Kue Pancong are nicely cooked, the seller would then place them on a plastic container and serve them with lots and lots of sugar. 

The process of grilling Kue Pancong

Kue Rangi and Kue Pancong, cooked side by side as if they were Batman and Robin

The sight of the well-cooked Kue Pancong

I bought myself a pack of Kue Rangi because it is one of my favorite traditional dessert from Betawi. The crunchiness of the grilled coconut is pure amusement, not to mention delicious in a peculiar way. The jelly-like palm sugar, on the other hand, was very sweet, yet blended perfectly with the grilled coconuts, making the dish tasted not too sweet, nor not that tasteless. The combination of food in this dish is very unique, yet common among Indonesian people. 

Pick whichever Kue Rangi you would like to have


Tear a piece of the Kue Rangi, dip it in the sweet sugary jelly, then
take a big bite to taste that heavenly traditional dessert

You can actually dip a finger to this gooey melted sugar and eat it as if it was Nutella

My next stop was at a Kerak Telor booth. Kerak Telor is another example of Betawi's traditional dishes. This one is made out of rice, eggs, coconut, and spices. First, the seller took some spoonfuls of rice and put it on the frying pan. Then, he took some spoonfuls of dried coconut and mixed it with the rice. The next step is that, he took some eggs, depending on how many eggs you demand on your Kerak Telor, and cracked it open and mixed it with the rice and dried coconuts. Last but not least, he poured some spices onto the frying pan and mixed them up all together. 

The interesting part from this dish is that, at some certain time, the seller would just lift up the frying pan lid and turn the frying pan upside down, so that the Kerak Telor's upper side will be nicely cooked. A bit odd, don't you think? The dish will not fall off from the frying pan, because the part of the Kerak Telor that touches the surface of the frying pan would be attached to the cooking instrument, leaving burnt crusts if we take it off from the frying pan. That's why its' name is Kerak Telor (Egg Crusts).

Kerak Telor is pretty tasteless and bland, to be honest, but it sure is palatable. It's like eating rice omelet, but tasted more traditional. You can easily tasted the dried coconuts and the spices, which make this dish somewhat scrumptious and enjoyable. 

An order is being cooked

The Kerak Telor seller, diligently cooking the dish at the right temperature

First, you add some rice

Second, add some ingredients

Third, mix them up like there's no tomorrow, don't forget to picture your ex

Fourth, fry it until it is perfectly cooked

Fifth, enjoy your Kerak Telor

There were lots of appealing food, such as the Kue Cubit and Martabak. Both of this dish are made out of pancake batter. Kue Cubit are shaped like seashells and fish, sprinkled with chocolate sprinkles on top to make them fit for the king, while Martabak is simply cooked and shaped like how pancakes are shaped, only thicker. Both traditional dessert tasted heavenly and simply mouth-watery. 

The seller is making a batch of Kue Cubit

Add some chocolate sprinkles to make them tasted great

Those are what Kue Cubit look like when they are out of the frying pan

A batch of Martabak is being cooked

When they are cooked properly, fold them together and serve them hot

Pick a Martabak, any Martabak you would like to taste

Then, I stumbled upon my ultimate favorite Betawi dish, Kue Lekker. Kue Lekker are like crunchy crepes. They came in four different flavors, depend on what the seller wants to sell, such as Honey, Chocolate, Screwpine Leaf, and Chocolate Honey. You can get ten of these babies for Rp 5000,00. I just love the crunchiness of this dessert, not to mention it tasted deliciously sweet!

The almighty Kue Lekker

It amused me how the seller would just pour the chocolate milk and make
swirly pattern on the Kue Lekker

This is a traditional way of hypnotizing

The sight of the crunchy Kue Lekker, ready to be indulged

Directly adjacent to the Kue Lekker booth, there was this Rujak Bebek booth that caught my attention. Rujak is a refreshing plate of mixed fruits, served with a combination of gooey spicy, sweet, salty, and sour sauce. As for Rujak Bebek, the seller would simply mixed the fruits and the sauce together, and mashed them together.

You read it as "Ruh-jhock buh-bug"

Those are the fruits used to make the Rujak Bebek

The sight of the seller, mashing the fruits and the sauce altogether 

My Mom and I decided to went to the basement and head to the food court. Since we were attending Betawi's Accessories and Culinary Festival, we decided to crash landing at this Betawi restaurant named Soto Betawi Bang Thamrin. Both of us ordered ourselves a bowl of Soto, a plate of Asinan, a couple glasses of tea, and a plate of rice. 

A wide varieties of Soto is available at Soto Betawi Bang Thamrin

 Soto is a soup, mainly consisted of broth, meat, and veggies. It is a traditional soup unlike those fancy cream soup that you can find at restaurants. It tasted flavorsome, not to mention very tangy and left an enjoyable aftertaste. My Soto consisted of meat, lungs, crackers, and vegetables. Lungs are not that bizarre here, in Indonesia, they are commonly found at most traditional restaurants as side dishes. For those of you who haven't try lungs, they actually tasted delicious. A bit chewy, yet meaty and yummy.

My Meat and Lungs Soto

The presentation was nice and a bit amusing, as the chef serve the
Soto on a staked bowl with a candle right under the dinning utensil

Lunch was great

Before we indulge on our lovely bowls of Soto, we devoured the Asinan beforehand. Asinan is a traditional dish which made out of mixed vegetables, crackers, and sauce. Bean sprouts, cabbages, cucumber, and roasted nuts are commonly found in your plate of Asinan. It is also served with a handful of pink crackers and a big yellow spider-web-like cracker, coated with a mix of sweet, spicy, and sour sauce, which tasted incredibly refreshing. This particular dish is highly recommended for those of you who haven't try one. 

Asinan is rich in taste, it will tingle your taste buds 

A plate of mixed vegetables, crackers, and sauce for an appetizer

Selamat makan!

All in all, my first visit to a traditional culinary festival turned out swell. I tasted lots of my country's traditional food and I'm looking forward to do the same in the upcoming Betawi's Accessories and Culinary Festival next year. 

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