Trip to Cirebon, West Java (2)
In Cirebon we were not only enjoying the city, seeing the heritage buildings, and learning their culture, but also enjoying their culinary and capturing the glory of past time dining.
I have a list of traditional food that we must try. And...surprise-surprise, my children love the food, so do I. This culinary journey ends up with beautiful memory of delicious North Java Coast cuisine. Just one day after we got back from Cirebon, my children kept asking me to cook some of the food.
To be honest, that was our very first time trying this famous food. We have heard the name many times before, but never had a change to try it. Finally, on our first day in Cirebon we had a delicious lunch eating this food, and surprisingly, our children who normally hesitate to try traditional food, this time they loved this food so much.
gulai, that is cooked using unique traditional way (i.e: using big clay pot and fire wood). This delicious soup is served with chopped chives and ground chilli. To accompany them, we can choose rice or lontong (rice cake) and acar (pickled cucumber).
This hot soup gave us a very good impression about this city. Delicious food and hospitality of the seller.
My favorite is including fried tempe, spicy tuna, potato fritter, pepes tahu (~tofu) and kerupuk. Other than that, there are lots of choices of side dishes such as semur daging (beef in soy sauce gravy), fried tofu, potato satay with dry coconut, fried sambal (chili), salted fish, jamblang eggs, black squid, and many more. These are simple everyday menu for most of Indonesians, but for unspeakable reason, this food is so delicious and quite cheap. All the side dishes are cooked and treated with good way, it's so delicious.
Great culinary experience we got!
If you are curious where the name of 'Jamblang' came from, actually it's the name of an area in the west side of Cirebon, where most of the Nasi Jamblang sellers come from. Long time ago, this food actually were served for forced labors during colonial era. They chose to use teak leaves instead of banana leaves, because teak leaves can keep the rice fresh longer compared if they're wrapped with banana leaves.
Some people call it Sega Lengko. This is a vegetarian dish.
I tried this food after finishing our shopping at the famous batik Trusmi. In this humble dish all the food is served in one plate.
It's warm rice, fried tofu and tempe (cut into small pieces) and steamed bean sprout laid down beautifully on the plate and covered by peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce, then sprinkled with chopped chives and fried onion. Very humble dish that rich of flavor and texture.
Other than all those food, there is another must-try dish.
Tahu Gejrot is one of Cirebon's culinary icon. This dish is not only famous in Cirebon, but also known in other places in Indonesia. Not sold in a fixed place, the tahu gejrot sellers will walk around and carrying their merchant. In big cities, some sellers ride their bicycle to sell this food.
Tahu Gejrot is crisp-fried tofu bathed in a thin, dark sauce flavored with green chili and shallots. We can ask the seller, how many chilli we want to put in the bowl. For me, one chilli is enough.
As a bonus... we could find lots of other traditional desserts around the city. One of them that stay in my heart is the traditional delicacy that we found in front of Warung Nasi Jamblang Mang Dul. An old lady just sat down on the pedestrian floor and sold her homemade traditional snacks. There were about 5 or 6 different type of snacks that using rice flour as the main ingredient. It's good for my dessert after enjoying nasi jamblang.
Those are the food that made us happy staying in Cirebon that I can share this time. The food that we enjoyed in the city.
What better way to end a trip than bringing home some traditional delicacies and some local products. It's not hard to find 'toko oleh-oleh' (souvenir shop) around the city. On our last day in Cirebon, we stop by in one shop, and brought home a big box of local products.