If you are going to visit Palembang, you must try their traditional food (read: What Should You Do during a Vacation in Palembang City). The name is empek-empek / pempek. It’s actually salty fishcake. The food is made mainly of tapioca and mackerel fish. This is one of the reasons why Indonesia becomes a favorite Asia tour destination. The food comes with a dark and sour sauce. It also comes with yellow noodles. Local people call the sauce as “cuka”. In common terms, it’s a vinegar sauce. Needless to say, Pempek is a signature dish in Palembang. No one knows the history behind this traditional food. Though, local people say that it came from old China.
The History of Empek-empek / pempek
In the past, local people didn’t have ample techniques and knowledge for cooking fish. They only used several traditional methods such as frying, grilling, and boiling. An old man from China mixed spices, tapioca, and fishes. He promoted this new food around the village. During that time, he only used his food cart. As time went by, this food became more popular. Today, people call it empek-empek. It’s sour and spicy. Also, it’s tangy! Even though it comes from Palembang, you can enjoy this food in other provinces. As a matter of fact, each region sells it.
More about empek-empek / Pempek
As a great Asia tour destination, Indonesia has lots of traditional foods. Pempek is one of them. There are different types including Lenjer, Kapal Selam, Kulit, Tahu, Adaan, and Keriting. Each of them has a unique characteristic. For instance, Lenjer has a long shape. Kapal Selam has a similar shape to a submarine. There’s an egg within. The dough wraps the egg nicely. Once you bit it, you can taste the combination of fish cake dough and egg. Kulit is the combination of Pempek dough and fish skin. It’s a little bit strange. Still, the taste is quite good. You will be addicted to it. Tahu is a type of Pempek that’s mixed with tofu. The last one is Keriting. It’s actually a curly-shaped Pempek.
The dough is made from mackerel. The cook combines it with sago flour, salt, and some water. Cooking oil is also imperative. Also, you can add wheat flour to improve quality. As the result, it won’t be too chewy. The second aspect is the sauce. As mentioned earlier, Pempek is incomplete without Kuah cuko. The sauce is made of chili, palm sugar, vinegar, garlic, and salt. It also requires boiling water. It’s quite unique. The color is dark brown. Some people add shredded dried shrimp on it. They want to improve the taste of such sauce.
Where Can You Buy It?
Most restaurants in Indonesia serve boiled Pempek dumplings on the food display. Once you choose your types of Pempek, the cook will deep-fry these things in cooking oil. The food is ready to eat once it turns pale brown. There are some extras such as shredded shrimp and chopped cucumber. No worries. You can find Pempek in many places including Palembang restaurants. You can even find them in different regions of this Asia tour destination. Indonesia is a rich country. There aren’t only numerous cultures, but also foods. Are you ready to go?