Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Benefit of Knowing Other Cultures

On the way to my place, there is this small place selling all kinds of food from South Sumatra. Mom and I have been wanting to try but since it not that easy to park we havent been stopping by until tonight.

I stopped by to buy some Pempek, it's a kind of fish cake made from fish paste, plain flour, eggs and sago flour which is eaten with cuko (vinegar and palm sugar mixed). I wanted pistel, a kind of pempek with young papaya but they ran out of it. So I settled on mixed pempek, which consists of pempek keriting (curly pempek), pempek kulit (fish skin pempek), kapal selam (literally means 'submarine', it's pempek with egg inside), and ada'an (pempek with fried shallot inside). I also bought Tunu, which is a grilled pempek that I had never tasted before.

As I was paying, the owner who manned the till was asking his employee what and how many my order was in Palembang dialect. I chimed in Palembang dialect, "pempek mixed duo, tunu tigo". He thought I dined in, but I wanted to bring it home and commented, "I dont think a girl like you can eat two portions of mixed pempek." Obviously he never saw me around pempek at my aunt's place.

While waiting we chatted, and I asked him about Tempoyak, it's a fermented durian, a delicacy in South Sumatra that my mom never tried. He asked if I wanted raw or cooked. I said I was just curious, I tried it before with sambal. He told me if I befriended him on facebook, he'll give me the recipe for making a Brengkes Tempoyak (in Java we called it Pepes, a dish cooked wrapped in banana leaf which normally is fish). He then went to the back, got out a 500gr frozen tempoyak and gave it to me for free on top of the discount he gave earlier for my order. He said, "no Javanese would asked about tempoyak, only Sumatran".

Not bad for knowing a bit of one's culture, huh?


Harry Nizam said...

Hi Triesti,

I agree that know other people's culture would be beneficial.

I love Empek2, my favorite is Kapal Selam. Beside that I only know Lenjeran and Adaan.

triesti said...

@Harry, now you know more:) I want to try mie celor, laksan and celimpungan (the last two are using pempek dough but serve with fish broth mixed with coconut milk)

Kapal selam lemaknyo! (lemaknyo = it's delicious)

colson said...

Good story. Though I bet your charming social behaviour rather than the astonishing knowledge of culinary culture made him act so generously :).

(Pempek? Here I am - six years I've been trying to get a little bit better acquainted with Indonesia, and still I hadn't a clue something like Pempek existed.)