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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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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