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The sweet treats of the older Indonesian culinary legend have stood the test of time – Health and Lifestyle News – Report by AFR

As dawn approaches in an Indonesian city famed for its street food scene, a line of sleepy customers weaves down the street in anticipation of a local culinary legend.

The clock strikes 5 am in Yogyakarta and out of the darkness appears a small and frail woman dressed in a sarong on the back of a black motorbike.

She slowly climbs down, holding onto a basket of the sweet snacks she’s been selling for more than half a century.

For decades, Mbah Satinem, now 76, was the Indonesian cultural hub’s best-kept secret but is now a culinary sensation after rising to fame in the 2019 Netflix series Street Food: Asia.

Every day, she opens her stall before sunrise and bends over a table to prepare and hand out traditional market snacks known as Jajan Pasar.

A selection of treats are displayed on a banana leaf, including an Indonesian sweet cake known as lupis, made from glutinous rice.

In addition to the star dish, there is tiwul, which is made from cassava flour, palm sugar, and cenil, a worm-shaped jelly made from tapioca flour.

“I’ve been selling lupis for a very long time, nothing has changed about that,” she said at the stand, which she has been running since 1963.

“Lupis and I are connected,” she added, laughing softly.

– food fights –

She cuts it with nylon thread and carefully places it on the banana leaf before dripping thick palm sugar and sprinkling grated coconut over the breakfast.

The secret of the recipe passed down from her mother is firewood, which gives the sweet treat a smoky flavor.

“I used to help my mom make these snacks. When she noticed that I was getting better at it, she asked if I wanted to sell it. I said yes,” she said.

“She asked again if I was embarrassed, but I said I wouldn’t. So she agreed to make some snacks for me to sell.”

Satinem’s booth is now surrounded by dozens of fascinated customers every day, watching her every move and documenting the process on their phones.

“The taste of their lupis is still the same,” said 49-year-old Budi, a local who, like many Indonesians, goes by a name.

“The savory and sticky lupis and the thickness of the brown sauce, it’s delicious.”

Her version of Jajan Pasar, which sells for 10,000 rupiah (US$0.67) apiece until 9am, has proved so popular that she introduced a numbering system for customers after arguments broke out over her treats .

– ‘It’s worth it’ –

Customers who have to wait more than an hour to satisfy their sweet tooth come from all corners of Java, the Indonesian island with Yogyakarta in the middle.

One of them is Rama Luhur, from the capital Jakarta, who waited almost two hours to get a taste of the famous lupis after watching Satinem on Netflix.

“Its worth it. You can find Jajan Pasar anywhere but I appreciate her hard work,” the 39-year-old told AFP.

This hard work only subsides during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. But every second day of the year she gets up early to start her preparations.

“I usually wake up at 1 a.m. and go to bed after Isha (prayer around 8 p.m.),” she said.

Due to her age, Satinem’s stable is now a family affair.

Her husband takes care of the sticky rice, her son takes care of the firewood and her daughter drives her to work and accompanies her through the four-hour shift.

When asked why she refuses to give up what is usually a young people’s game, the persevering street food granny brushes the question off with a laugh.

Her daughter Mukinem steps in to stand up for the shy cook.

“She likes it, she likes to cook snacks,” she said.

“And she can’t stay.”

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