6 must try food from East Java
On an island of 47,922 square kilometers, East Java not only has interesting natural attractions, but also good food that worth trying. East Java typical food is known by using terasi and petis as a flavor of cooking. East Java specialties also tend to have a spicy flavor. Of the many culinary specialties of East Java, this 7 Culinary specialties from East Java you will often encounter and must try.
1. Rujak Cingur
Rujak cingur is one of the most iconic East Javanese dishes. However, if you see the picture of this meal, you will not be easily attracted. It is indeed unappetizing until you taste the food. For people outside the area, petis can be considered very strong and fishy. For people in East Java, it is obviously something to be missed when going or living abroad.
Rujak contains a variety of sliced fresh fruits –like pineapple, young mango, bengkuang, kedondong, and papaya– mixed with vegetables like cucumber, kangkung, bean sprout, and long beans as well as lontong, tofu, tempeh, and obviously the cingur or nose-mouth part of cow. The last part is what makes Rujak cingur, rujak cingur. The mixture of the ingredients, which sometimes are steamed, are served with petis dressing on top. The dressing is made from the mixture of petis (shrimp paste), palm sugar, chili, fried peanuts, fried shallots, a type of banana (pisang klutuk or Musa balbisiana, salt, and water. The technique of the mixture is called “ulek” because it uses cobek and ulekan (Indonesian traditional mortar and pestle). That’s why sometimes rujak cingur is called rujak ulek. It is served with shrimp or white crackers.
2. Nasi Pecel
Lots of people love this food and they usually have it for breakfast. In East Java alone this food is divided into several pecel depending on the area. There is Pecel Malang, Pecel Kediri, Pecel Jember, and Pecel Madium which is the most popular. It is more or less the same only the what they put in is a little different. Pecel is rice with salad of boiled vegetables, dressed in a peanut-based spicy sauce. On top of it, a peanut or dried fish or shrimp cracker (rempeyek). If you buy it in the street vendors, it will be served in banana leaf instead of mainstream plate. It has extra flavor added to it. The unique thing about pecel peanut sauce, compared to other dishes with peanut sauce, is the use of kencur (kaempferia galanga) and daun jeruk (kaffir lime leaves), giving a really refreshing taste to the sauce.
Rawon is originally from Surabaya. It is one of the oldest and the earliest historically identified dish from ancient Java. It was mentioned as rarawwan in ancient Javanese Taji inscription (901 CE) from the era of Mataram Kingdom. A black beef soup, served with (mung) bean sprouts, shrimp crackers and sambal. Kluwak (Pangium edule) nuts is the main seasonings which gives the strong nutty flavor and dark color.
The soup is made of ground mixture of garlic, shallot, keluak, ginger, candlenut, turmeric, red chili and salt sauteed with oil until it gets aromatic. The sauteed mixture is then poured into boiled beef stock with diced beef. Lemongrass, galangal, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves and sugar are then added as seasonings. The special dark or black color of rawon comes from the keluak as the main spice. The soup is usually garnished with green onion and fried shallot, and served with rice, hence the name ‘Nasi rawon’
4. Tahu Tek
Tahu tek is another East Javanese favorite salad which contains sliced fried tofu, sprouts, rice cake, and cucumber pickles, mixed with sauce made from petis (shrimp paste), boiled water, peanuts, chili, and garlic. It is called tahu tek because the vendors of tahu tek always use scissors to cut the ingredients. The scissors-cut will make the “tek-tek-tek”-like sound. That’s why it is then called “tahu tek.”
5. Bakso Malang
Bakso Malang or often called bakwan is originated from Malang. Bakso Malang has more accompaniments, beside the meatball (mostly beef) itself. For example, siomay dumplings (fried or steamed), tahu (tofu, fried or steamed, filled with meat), soun (mung bean threads), and yellow egg noodles. All of these are served in hot beef stock. Bakso is commonly made from beef with a small quantity of tapioca flour, however bakso can also be made from other ingredients, such as chicken, fish, or shrimp.
6. Sate Madura
Sate Madura is originated in the island of Madura, near Java, is a famous variant among Indonesians. Most often made from chicken, the recipe’s main characteristic is the black sauce made from Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) mixed with palm sugar (called gula jawa or “Javanese sugar” in Indonesia), garlic, deep fried shallots, peanut paste, petis (a kind of shrimp paste), candlenut, and salt. It is eaten with rice or rice cakes wrapped in banana/coconut leaves (lontong/ketupat). Raw thinly sliced shallots and plain sambal are often served as condiments. Sate and peanut sauce are very famous in Netherlands.