1. KERIPIK SINGKONG
Potato chips might be the best friend of couch potatoes around the world, but cassava chips are the healthier option with their richer flavour and solid, cracker-like texture that make them more munch-able. Although keripik singkong (cassava chips) can be found anywhere in Indonesia, it is in Bandung that it found its renaissance. Seasoned with salt, chillies, garlic, and kaffir lime leaves, its flavour profile would remind some of Thai tom yum. The people of Bandung take their hot and spicy cassava chips very seriously to the point that many manufacturers would indicate the level of spiciness to cater to their demands. Next time you’re in Bandung, definitely go for level 10!
Fans Suggest: Maicih, Jl. Primaraga No. 6, Cingised, Bandung
2. SALE PISANG
Indonesians go bananas over banana. From stalks to leaves, we find the whole plant useful. One of the methods we use for bananas to keep for a long time is to smoke them, and sale pisang (thin slices of smoked banana) is a very popular souvenir snack. The smoking process leaves the banana with deep and complex flavours, making the sweet taste even more pronounced on top of the smokey base. On its own it’s great, but there are many flavours to choose from: strawberry, blueberry, durian, pineapple, and arguably the most popular variant: cheddar cheese or chocolate. More on this on the next item.
Fans Suggest: Oncom Raos, Jl. Cihampelas No.57, Tamansari, Bandung
3. PISANG BOLEN
Most Indonesians don’t realise that our fondness to combine chocolate with cheddar cheese is not shared by many. This obsession is especially apparent in things we see as “Western”. Pisang bolen is a perfect example of this. Its base of sweet and buttery pastry shows Dutch influence that our country retained after centuries of colonisation, but the filling of banana, cheddar cheese, and chocolate might catch the uninitiated off-guard. But fret not, this Bandung specialty comes in other fillings hiding under its flaky golden shell, including peanut, pineapple, durian, and peuyeum (fermented cassava).
Fans Suggest: Kartika Sari, Jl. Ir. Haji Juanda No. 85 – 87, Kota Bandung
4. EMPING MELINJO
Gnetum gnemon is a species of evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. Some provinces in Indonesia use its young leaves and cones in cooking, but this is not a common practice that all of us share. One thing we do share is the obsession over emping melinjo, chips that are made from roasted, smashed and sundried Gnetum gnemon kernel. There’s something about its naturally salty and bitter taste that is so addictive, especially when it’s coated with caramelised sugar and chilli.
Fans Suggest: Toserda, Jl. Pajajaran No. 4, Tamansari, Bandung
5. BROWNIES KUKUS
Brownies are originally dry and dense, and that’s what makes the dessert loved by many. Well, Bandung has a different opinion, as the people there prefer brownies kukus (steamed brownies). Don’t worry, the city has a long history of making much-loved local cakes like lapis legit and bolu gulung, so you can bet their take on brownies won’t disappoint. Brownies kukus is rich, moist, and comes in local variants such as purple yam, black sticky rice, fermented cassava, and, you guessed it, cheddar cheese and chocolate.
Fans Suggest: Amanda Brownies, Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No. 167, Bandung
Eid al-Fitr, Christmas, Lunar New Year. Whatever the occasion, this is the treat you’ll see on every festive table. “Nastar” is a corruption of “ananastaart”, another proof of Dutch influence on Indonesian cuisine. But please don’t try to look for it in the Netherlands because you’ll find a totally different thing instead. This round pastry has a crumbly pie texture, filled with thick pineapple jam. And while neighbouring countries have their own versions of pineapple tart, Indonesia’s is unique in that it is always round in shape, it contains cheese in its batter, and it is always topped with clove, which is native to Maluku islands.
Fans Suggest: J&C Cookies, Jl. L.L.R.E. Martadinata No. 123, Bandung
7. TING-TING JAHE
It’s always the simplest treats that are the most addictive. Ting-ting jahe (ginger bonbons) have only three ingredients: cane sugar, tapioca starch, and lots of ginger. The bonbon is chewy (chewier than taffy) and has a spicy, refreshing ginger taste that lingers long after your last bit. Warning: it is so good that you might find yourself finishing the whole bag in one sitting.
Fans Suggest: Sari Raos, Jl. Cihampelas No. 93, Bandung
8. BANDREK & BAJIGUR
Okay, so this last one doesn’t really fall under “food” category, but no Bandung food list would be complete without bandrek. Bandung is surrounded by mountains and can get a bit cold sometimes, especially after a downpour. This is when bandrek comes in, being a traditional beverage of ginger, cinnamon, pepper, chilli, cloves, nutmeg, palm sugar, and slivers of young coconut. Drinking it will leave warm embers lingering in your throat and stomach. Bajigur is just like bandrek but with coconut milk as additional ingredient. Instant versions of bandrek and bajigur are available for you to bring back home.
Fans Suggest: Jl. Leuwilayung No. 16, Cihanjuang, Bandung Barat
EXPERIENCE BANDUNG: AirAsia offers the lowest fares to over 150 destinations. Book your seats, accommodation, holiday packages and activities now at airasia.com
Featured image by @mochaccinopatisserie via instagram