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Pempek© Photographer: Erika Febriani Indra, Jakarta


Erika Febriani Indra - @helloannaerika, Jakarta

People from different ethnic groups in Indonesia live in Jakarta. Newcomers to the city often bring their traditional dishes from their regional origins.

One of these is pempek. Pempek is one of the most popular dishes from the city of Palembang in South Sumatra. Pempek can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Palembang. It consists of fish, flour and water and can be cooked, fried or baked. Because it can be prepared in a variety of ways, pempek can be adapted to individual tastes at any time. If, for example, you have a sore throat, you can have the pempek cooked several times to reduce the amount of oil. But if you are more interested in enjoying greater taste, you can order fried pempek. Pempek can also be eaten on the go. My grandmother, for example, uses flour that is applied to the cooked pempek to keep it fresh longer. But nowadays people transport pempek in airtight bags so that it doesn’t spoil quickly. How it is prepared with ingredients from Indonesia, the way it is cooked and its shelf-life all make pempek a traditional dish that must be retained.