Savory and Soft Serabi Notosuman

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Enjoying local culinary delights is always an interesting thing for travelers. This type of culinary is a special attraction because it reflects culinary treasures of region in question. This time I would taste one more typical Solo culinary after I’ve tasted five of them.

That morning, I decided to leave Alun-Alun Kidul (South Square of Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace) early because the sun had shone on that open area. After taking shelter for a while under Waringin Kurung Sakembaran*1, I immediately ordered an online taxi service to Jayengan area.

Shortly after executing the order, a black Toyota Avanza came to pick me up. Taxi driver was very easy to recognize me after I had given my characteristics in detail starting from the color of my clothes, bag and shoes which I was wearing. I opened the front left door and buried myself in the seat.

Serabi*2 Notosuman, Sir!”, I confirmed the destination.

“Ok, Sir”.

The online taxi drove to east, tracing morning streets of Solo City. It was a national holiday, Islamic New Year, and streets were deserted. I arrived in ten minutes and entered parking area. The first glance was a large green nameboard with words “Serabi Notosuman”, this was the famous Solo City snack. I should try it or at least bought it as a souvenir.

Parking area.
Production area.

In a corner, six production employees were busy working on making serabi. Those employees deftly handled more than a hundred mini serabi pans, carried large basin of dough from the kitchen, greased each pan with oil using a round brush, poured the dough with a distinctive hand shake to form a thin layer over the puddle of dough, then covering the pan for three minutes to produce a cooked serabi. Hot serabi were started to be lifted one by one using a small taper and then were cooled on top of tampah*3, then were wrapped in banana leaves to be ready to sell to buyers. Indeed, the serabi which sold in this outlet were fresh serabi because they were directly taken from the stove.

I entered the inner room, it turned out that this outlet didn’t only provide serabi. But it also provided some other traditional culinaries such as intip, jenang, lanting, jipang*4 and others.

Selling room.

Serabi Notosuman itself was almost a century old, had a distinctive and savory taste of coconut milk. That morning, I chose to order two kinds of serabi, plain serabi and chocolate ones at a price of IDR. 2,000 per piece to bring as a souvenir.

Located on Mohammad Yamin Street, this outlet operated from 06:00 to 17:00. This culinary based on rice flour and coconut milk had two outlets with different owners, namely Serabi Notosuman Ny. Handayani, which was characterized by its orange color packaging and Serabi Notosuman Ny. Lidia with green color packaging.

So, take your time to stop by at Serabi Notosuman when traveling to Solo.


Waringin Kurung Sakembaran*1: The twin banyan tree is full of magic in the middle of royal’ south square

Serabi*2, one of the most common snacks in the market when visiting Java

tampah*3 is tray which is made from woven bamboo

intip, jenang, lanting, jipang*4 are typical Javanese snacks

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Soaking “Kebo Bule” in “Alun-Alun Kidul”

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My success in enjoying Tahok made my morning worthwhile because I could enjoy again one of many typical Solo City’s culinary. My third day in Batik City continued. The limit was this afternoon when I have to leave Solo City to return to capital city.

Now I was standing back in front of Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market’s gate, waiting for an online taxi to came and picked me up. Not long after, a white Toyota Agya stopped its speed right in front of market gate. I walked towards it and the driver seemed to understand that I was the passenger who he would pick up.

Alun-Alun Kidul, Sir“, I confirmed the destination.

It’s quiet in the morning. You should have come there at night, Sir, it will definitely be festive”, online taxi driver provided information.

What festivy is on the night, Sir?

Usually, families will play with their children to try various game rides, and young people will hangout around to enjoying culinary delights, Sir“, he lightly said.

Oh, I see….but I just went there for a survey, Sir, just a moment. The main event is still two months away”.

I see, Sir. It’s okay

Ten minutes later, I arrived at Alun-Alun Kidul (South Square), in Gajahan area. Dropped off at east side of square. My attention was immediately fixed on two large banyan trees in the middle of square. The square still looked very quiet that morning.

OOOngng… .aa… .kkk ……… OOOngng… .aa… .kkk”.

Ah, that’s a buffalo sound“, I thought.

I quickly turned around to voice origin, a little further behind me.

Kebo Bule“, I was shocked.

Kyai Slamet” Buffaloes was othet their nickname.

Five buffalos were seen in an iron cage. That was “Kebo Bule” (“Albino Buffalo”) which was usually paraded at “Malam Satu Suro” (“1st Muharram”) celebration parade around Solo City. It was a routine event which held by Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace to welcoming the arrival of Islamic New Year 1 Muharram.

Illustration of “Malam Satu Suro” celebration (Source: SINDOnews).

I knew that “Kebo Bule” parade had been done overnight when I fell asleep at Amaris Hotel Sriwedari. Even though I had invited Rahadian to watch the celebration. But our bodies were just too tired after doing some survey for fourteen hours yesterday. So we chose to sleep and enjoy hotel facilities.

It seemed that that buffaloes was rested in Alun-Alun Kidul after last night parade, “Kandang Mahesa” is their cage’s name. Very lucky, I could see that buffaloes up close even I could touch their head.

For a long time I watched “Kebo Bule” behavior with several people who deliberately stopped from their vehicle to take a brief look at that sacred buffalo.

In the end, I decided to walk towards the middle of square to feel a magical nuance when I passed that two twin banyan trees. I thought that magical power of that banyan tree was just a myth, but I also didn’t blame it when many people believed in magical power of that trees. People’s beliefs were different each other and couldn’t be enforced.

Waringin Kurung Sakembaran” (the name of that twin banyan tree) which have magical powers in the eyes of Solo City’s people.

Not felt, the sun began to rise and its heat began to pierce into the square. I have to get away from here.

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Mangkunegaran Palace: A Resistance Symbol to Arbitrariness

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Mangkunageran Palace.

Very sunny that afternoon. It was past five o’clock but the city’s sky was still shining. I was still sitting on a chair inside of Triwindu Market front gate and enjoying free dish of Jenang Suro*1. Solo was indeed welcoming the Islamic New Year which would come tomorrow, so Association of Triwindu Market Trader distributed this special food to all visitors.

Triwindu Market itself, in the past was called as Windujenar Market. An art and antique goods marketplace which was built by Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya (KGPAA) Mangkunegara VII*2  to commemorate twenty-four years of his reign. Therefore this market was located not far from the palace.

Because of that history, a visitation to Triwindu Market will never be perfect if you don’t visit the palace from the king who built this market. Even after all my survey trip in Solo City was over, I put Mangkunegaran Palace and Triwindu Market as destination packages which were highly recommended for all Marketing Conference participants to visit.

Not long after I finished in eating Jenang Suro which was sprinkled with Javanese typical Sambal Tumpang, I left Triwindu Market, passed through its wide front yard and looked back to very distinctive and classic market building before saying good-bye.

I slowly walked along Diponegoro Street sidewalk, heading north for three hundred and fifty meters to visit Mangkunegaran Palace. Walking at the end of T-junction, then I arrived across  of palace gate. Heavy traffic flow made me struggling to cross Ronggowarsito Street which implemented a one-way system and circled palace complex.

While in one corner of the T-junction, there was a view of visitor crowds to a hotel which was combined with a restaurant, called Omah Sinten Heritage. After I investigated, later I found out that this restaurant had indeed become one of favorite places for young people to office employees to hangout to welcoming national holidays on tomorrow.

Successfully crossing Ronggowarsito Street, I rushed towards palace gate through a path along a hundred and fifty meters with a very wide yard on either side of it. Before actually arriving at the gate, a building of Puro Mangkunegaran Museum greeted me on left side of the gate. The museum looked deserted and without guards, so I couldn’t be sure whether the museum was still accepting visitors to visit or not.

Puro Mangkunegaran Museum.
Palace gate.

Likewise with the palace high gate, its iron fence was tightly closed without guards. It clearly indicated that the palace didn’t receive guests that afternoon. The palace was indeed closed for visitors at exactly five o’clock in the afternoon.

I could only enjoy the elegance of Mangkunegaran Palace from a distance and stare around in awe. But I’ve never been disappointed, I was already very grateful to be able to visit it. This was the palace which is a symbol of the power of Solo City in the past

Mangkunegaran Palace also became a resistance symbol from an aristocrat against VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) power and local arbitrariness which was applied by Pakubuwono II as a supreme leader of Surakarta Sunanate. A fierce resistance which resulted in a brilliant victory from Raden Mas Said at that time.

My visitation at Mangkunegaran Palace had to be rushed to stop because I couldn’t do anything in front of its giant gate. I decided to finish this visitation and headed to next destination which was included in a long list of my survey.

Let’s get out of here!

*1: Jenang Suro is porridge which is made from rice which was cooked with various traditional herbs and spices such as coconut milk, lemongrass and bay leaves so that it tastes more savory than usual porridge. This porridge is a symbol of gratitude to God and is usually served to welcome 1 Muharram or Islamic New Year.

*2: Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya (KGPAA) Mangkunegara is a title for the ruler of Mangkunegaran region.

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