Ketupat, South East Asia"s Heritage Cuisine

Ketupat, South East Asia"s Heritage Cuisine

A pair of big ketupat-shaped statue in Kandangan subdistrict, Hulu Sungai Selatan, South Kalimantan. | Photo: Sahrudin

WE can simply assert that "ketupat" is an authentic Indonesian food. But, don't forget that the rice dumpling wrapped and cooked in woven palm/coconut leaf pouch, can also be found in different places of Southeast Asia. 

Ketupat, in fact, has become an essential part of both our (and their) long culinary history and identity.

Served as staple food, as the replacement of plain steamed rice, ketupat has long been popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines and also Vietnam.

In Indonesia, especially among Javanese (Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java) and Sundanese (West Java), the rice dumpling is locally known as kupat.

Magelang, Central Java and Singaparna (Tasikmalaya, West Java) are well known for local cuisine called “kupat tahu”. The food consists of ketupat, fermented tofu or bean curd, bean sprouts and cabbage served with peanut sauce and soy sauce.

In Bali, this type of food is called "tipat cantok".

A pair of large ketupat-shaped statue has been built in Kandangan subdistrict, and becomes a landmark of Hulu Sungai Selatan Regency, in South Kalimantan.

Ketupat Kandangan has been popular for years as an authentic food in the province.

Itinerant ketupat pouches seller in Magelang, Central Java. | Photo: Sahrudin

Beside ketupat as main element, ketupat Kandangan also comprises grilled snakehead fish (locally known as ikan haruan or gabus) as side dish, and spiced coconut milk.

In South Sulawesi, coto Makassar (the province’s capital) has also become one of many culinary options.

In coto Makassar, again, ketupat as staple food is served with meat and innards cooked in coconut milk with spices.

Ketupat, in many places of Indonesia, usually can only found and dished up during Eid Al-Fitr celebration. 

Meanwhile in Magelang, Tasikmalaya, Hulu Sungai Selatan, and Makassar, local cuisines with ketupat as main food are easy to find, everyday, no matter when you visit.

In Thailand, many people call it "katupat", while others remain refer to as ketupat.

In the Philippines, as Marigold Lebumfacil wrote in The Philippine Star, ketupat has also different names: “patupat” in northern Philippines, “puso” in central, and “tamu” in southern Philippines.[sahrudin]
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