Ginger Scent in a Bowl of Tahok

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I have finished exploring Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace and its square, Klewer Market and Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace. I started down southern point of Jenderal Sudirman Street heading north. This was administrative area of ​​Solo City, I felt impressed when I passed Surakarta City Hall which was very majestic with its Joglo*1 roof.

Surakarta City Hall.

Sidewalk in front of city hall seemed to be made wider without a fence, this was because the office where mayor worked also acted as a people’s house who was ready to accept their complaints. The city hall was still quiet that morning, it hadn’t yet touched nine o’clock.

Arriving at a T-junction, classic appearance of Pasar Gede Clock Tower really captivated my eyes. The tower, which was neither high nor low, still showed the spurs of Dutch colonialism. This was Sudiroprajan area with its main icon, i.e Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market.

Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market.

I started to go to Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market. My goal was only one….TAHOK.

I didn’t even know what this traditional Solo culinary looked like, even the location and shape of its stall, I never imagined it. My step was getting closer to market building which looked silent when I looked at it from front gate.

But I was still on other side of street when I noticed a long queue which started at a food cart. I still didn’t know what the culinary which sell in food cart. After approaching and reading small banner which was hanging on its roof, I just found out, it turned out that a culinary which I had been looking for was right in front of my eyes. This was Mr Citro’s Tahok.

Me: “Sir, what are the ingredients?

Mr. Citro: “This is made from beancurd and ginger water, Sir“.

Me: “Rahadian, do you want to try or not ?. I want to try ”, I offered to Rahadian, who had been hesitating.

Rahadian: “No, sir. I don’t really like ginger. Sir Donny can eat it, I’ll just wait ”.

Me: “What?. You come for far way to Solo and how come you don’t try its culinary. It’s strange ”, Rahadian just smiled and took a bench in the corner of sidewalk.

I started to queue, some customers prefered to take away their orders. It show that they were loyal customers of this culinary. Not long in queueing, it was my turn to get a bowl of Tahok. The seller seemed to start to lightly scooping the beancurd and put it in the bowl many times until it was full, then poured ginger water until it drowned all beancurd.

Tahok food cart.
Tahok.

This was the fifth Solo City’s typical culinary which I enjoyed after Dawet Telasih Ice, Jenang Suro, Soto Kwali and Wedang Ronde which I ate a day ago. Combination of subtle texture and warmth of ginger made it perfect to ete in that morning which still blowed remains of last night’s cold wind .

I finished this culinary experience by handing over IDR 7,000 (USD 0.5) and started to leaving the food cart. Now I was heading to Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market inside for second time since yesterday. I was still curious about Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice which I didn’t find a day ago because it wasn’t open yet. I did have time to drink Ibu Hj. Sipon’s Dawet Telasih Ice as the replacement.

But my curiosity still paid off with no luck. Stall which I was looking for had not opened yet, even the market was still deserted and not many traders were present. My desire was delayed again.

Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market inside.

Later I would taste this Bu Dermi Dawet Telasih Ice two months since my arrival that day.

Note:

Joglo*1 is a type of traditional vernacular house of the Javanese people

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Dawet Telasih Ice and Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market

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North Gate of Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market.

Even though Rahadian had just arrived in Solo very early in the morning and had a chance to take a shower and breakfast in hotel, according to schedule, I still checked out from Grand Amira Hotel by Azana. The time was already 8:30 hours when we came out to hotel courtyard.

I immediately ordered an online taxi and headed for Sudiroprajan area to do the first culinary survey. The special culinary which I was aiming for was Dawet Telasih Ice*1, dawet which was consisting of black sticky rice, jenang sumsum*2, tape ketan*2, telasih seeds, liquid sugar, coconut milk and ice cubes.

I was dropped off at the north door of Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market, right next to Pasar Gede Clock Tower. This old market building of Dutch heritage was indeed amazing. The combination of Javanese-Colonial architecture could be clearly seen from the appearance of Colonial-style walls and Javanese-style roofs. Thick walls, high ceilings and windows extending upwards.

When I arrived, market courtyard area was already busy that morning. The flow of visitors who come in and out of the market to shop, traders who flocked to entering their trading goods into market, boisterous of pedicab drivers who looking for passengers and busyness of light culinary traders outside the market made atmosphere of the biggest market in Solo City very lively .

Its Courtyard.
That is Pasar Gede Clock Tower.
Market inside.
Market inside.
Market inside.

I rushed into market inside to find whereabouts of Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice Shop which was said to be very well known throughout Solo City. How couldn’t, it was said that Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice recipe concoction was 90 years old and hadn’t changed at all since it was first made. Even this Dawet Telasih Ice had become a subscription for Mr. Joko Widodo (Republic of Indonesia President) when he went home to Solo.

Walking through narrow alleys in the middle of market made me immerse in commercial sense of Solo residents. And finally, unfortunate circumstances befall me. When I arrived in front of Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice Shop, the shop was still closed and deserted. I tried to ask some traders in the market about when the shop would open.

Later on 10:00 hours, Sir“, they replied.Oalah, aku terlalu pagi melakukan survey dawet ini.

Until 14:00 hours, it usually ends, Sir“, they added information when I sat on one of empty shop benches.

No matter how, I have to find and taste Dawet Telasih Ice to test its taste, because Marketing Conference participants will be directed to Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market to taste this culinary item.

I tried to walk on other alleys in the market, until I found Ibu Hj. Sipon’s Dawet Telasih Ice Shop. Without thinking, I immediately ordered a portion for IDR. 8,000. I enjoyed it so slowly, this Dawet Telasih Ice had very special taste, combination of savory, sweet, soft and cold texture became an appetizing unit. Finally I decided, Dawet Telasih Ice would be the first culinary destination for Marketing Conference later.

One of Dawet Telasih Ice Shops.
Mrs. Hj. Sipon.
Dawet Telasih Ice.

After enjoying Dawet Telasih Ice, Rahadian and I rushed to Solo City Transportation Board to charter a Jaladara Tourist Train*4.

Notes:

*1 : Dawet Telasih Ice is a culinary specialty of Solo City.

*2: Jenang Sumsum is a kind of food in the form of white porridge made from rice flour and eaten with sweet sauce.

*3: Tape Ketan is is a traditional Indonesian food made from sticky rice which is processed by fermentation.

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