Semarang is located in the heart of Java island. It is also one of Indonesia’s main port and becomes governmental center for Central Java. Since centuries, it has been part of cultural exchanges as its position. Many nationalities come, live and influence its life aspects, includes its culinary atmospheres.
For this journal, I would like to introduce (for none who knows) and re-introduce (for one who has already known) two of various iconic dishes in Semarang.
Tahu or tofu has been modified into delicious food and can be mixed with other ingredients. In Semarang, besides Tahu Pong, Tahu Gimbal is also well known. It is made of fried tofu combined with sliced lontong (banana leaf packed rice), fried egg, gimbal (fritter made of shrimp, wheat flour, egg, salt and seasoning), grated cabbage. The fried egg and gimbal are sliced with scissor, and how to serve is lontong at first, then fried egg, fried tofu, gimbal, covered with grated cabbage and poured with special spiced peanut sauce. You may choose whether hot or not. The Tahu Gimbal cannot be perfect without krupuk. The peanut sauce is fresh as it is directly made when you order. It is not blended by blender but by using uleg.
For the foreigner, just order without chilly. But if you dare, you can try the hot version. Nowadays for one portion is IDR 10,000 in average. Once more, you can easily find it anywhere in Semarang.
This is originally from China. It is similar to other variants of spring roll around the world. However different countries develop their own lunpia or popiah. Much alike in Indonesia. Indonesia has got several types of spring roll. But one of the most well-known is Lunpia Semarang.
Historically, it was created by a Chinese immigrant who came to Semarang for being merchant. And from his marriage with a Javanese woman (Wasih), they created what we know as Lunpia Semarang. Its filling is made of sliced bamboo shoot, minced chicken and prawn. There are several types of Lunpia Semarang with different tastes. The first is Gang Lombok (Siem Swie Kiem), the second is Jalan Pemuda (The Late Siem Swie Hie which continued by his daughter, Mbak Lien), the third is Jalan Mataram (The Late Siem Hwa Nio). Those three types here are direct descendants of Lunpia Semarang’s creator Tjoa Thay Yoe- Wasih. The rests are mostly their ex-employees which develop their own style and others who have interests in lunpia.
Typically Lunpia Semarang is more sweeter than other Lunpias. Its filling can be differentiated into several types. Bamboo shoot with chopped shrimp, chopped chicken or combination of both. Recently, there is also milkfish variant. You may choose what type of Lunpia you order… chicken, prawn or both. But! Bamboo shoot cannot be left as it is the heart of Lunpia. Besides, you can order fried or unfried (called Lunpia Basah – literally Wet Lunpia). Have it with special sweet sauce , bird eyes’ chili peppers, and baby shallots. You may also try with mayonnaise sauce , tomato sauce or chili sauce. Don’t worry..no pork.
Lunpia Semarang costs IDR 11,000 (Gang Lombok) and IDR 10,000 (Mbak Lien Jalan Pemuda).
These are two Semarangese typical dishes and I’ll tell you more in the future.
Have a nice week-end.
Just info especially for those who still blank about my recent town. Hehehehe.