Banjarmasin is a busy and important city in the Province of South Kalimantan. The existence of the city is rooted from the Banjar ethnic community from more than 400 years ago. The culture of Banjar is still obvious to feel in the atmosphere of Banjarmasin city.

The unique floating market every morning on several rivers in the city, the dynamic Sasirangan cloth, and several old buildings in the city proofs the glory of Banjar Empire in ancient time.

Other remains of Banjar that you can explore while visiting the city is the culinary. Banjar has plenty unique foods that are still favored by lots of people. Going around the city of Banjarmasin, it is difficult to find street stands of restaurants that offer Banjar traditional foods.  For your culinary adventure in Banjarmasin, here are several menus that you can try out:

1. Soto Banjar

Soto Banjar is the most common and most popular foods from Banjar culinary. The dish can easily be found not only in Banjarmasin or East Kalimantan, but also on many other cities in Indonesia. Even so, it would still be great to taste this dish at where it really came from. This way, you will know the original taste of it.

Complete Serving of Soto Banjar (Source: Flickr. Credit: Malik_Braun)
Complete Serving of Soto Banjar
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Malik_Braun)

Soto Banjar is a dish similar to a soup made from chicken stewed with spices to add flavors. The spices include shallot, garlic, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. It is usually served with ketupat (bland rice cake to replace steamed rice), bihun (rice vermicelli), and a slice of boiled egg. Celery and fired shallot is then sprinkled on top of the dish.

Several complements are also served on separate plate or bowl, such as chicken satay, perkedel (savory potato cake), and kerupuk (chips). To personalize the flavors, you can add several condiments such as lime, soy sauce, and sambal (chili).

Other variation of Soto Banjar is Sop Banjar. Both of them are basically the same thing. But in Sop Banjar, the dish uses regular steamed rice instead of ketupat. Restaurants that serve Soto Banjar usually serve Sop Banjar as well.

Sop Banjar with Fried Chicken and Perkedel (Source: Flickr. Credit: ervansetiawan)
Sop Banjar with Fried Chicken and Perkedel
(Source: Flickr. Credit: ervansetiawan)

In Banjarmasin, there are several restaurants that are already famous for selling the best Soto Banjar in the city. Some of them are:

  • Soto Bang Amat
    • Located on Banua Anyar, under the bridge.
    • Recommended complement: chicken satay with Banjar peanut sauce.
  • Soto Babat Mak Enggot
    • Located on Kampung Melayu
    • Besided chicken meat, they also use cow’s omasum.
  • Soto Ayam Bapukah H. Anang
    • Located on Jalan Pangeran Antasari
    • The chicken meat is not sliced tenderly. Instead, it is being roughly cut by hands.

2. Wadai 41

Wadai 41 is a large set of snacks consists of 41 variations of cakes. The number “41” is considered sacred in the culture of Banjar. The concept of Wadai 41 emerged long before the Islamic empire of Banjar rose. Originally, it came from the Hindunese culture that Banjar people embraced before Islam came to the land.

The cakes that include in this package are Apam Habang, Apam Putih, Bubur Habang, Bubur Putih, Bubur Baayak, Babungku, Babalungan Halam, Bingka, Cingkaruk Habang, Cingkaruk Putih, Cincin, Cucur Habang, Cucur Putih, Cucur Kuning, Dodol Habang, Dodol Putih, Gagatas Habang, Gagatas Putih, Hintalu Karuang, Kakicak Habang, Kakicak Putih, Kakicak Gumbili, Kakulih Habang, Kakulih Putih, Kalalapun, Lakatan Putih Bahinti, Lakatan Kuning Bahintalu, Lamang, Lupis, Pupudak Baras, Pupudak Sagu, Papari, Putu Mayang, Roti Baras Habang, Roti Baras Putih, Roti Sagu, Surabi, Tapai Baras, Tapai Gumbili, Ular-ular, and Wajik.

Wadai Vendor (Source: Flickr. Credit: alex popescu)
Wadai Vendor
(Source: Flickr. Credit: alex popescu)

Wadai 41 was originally intended as sacrifices to the Gods and Spirits. But since the society grew with Islamic and modern culture, this snack set is then served for people during sacred ceremonies or parties such as wedding or baby born, if the family is rich.

If the family is not very rich that they couldn’t afford 41 variations of snacks, they only need to serves Wadai 7 that includes Nasi lakatan putih bahinti, Bubur habang, Bubur putih, Cincin, Cucur, Wajik, and Pisang mahuli masak.

The snacks are actually delicious. Everybody usually have their favorite snack amongst the set. To try some or even all of these snacks, you can buy it on Warung 41 or Warung Kembar Dua on Kraton Village of Martapura. The stand sells the entire variants of the cakes for people to buy and eat it casually as daily snack. Besides that, the vendors of Wadai 41 snacks are also available at floating markets or any traditional market in the city.


3. Mandai

Mandai is another unique dish from Banjar. It is a dish made from the peel of jackfruits. The basic method to make Mandai is by slicing the jackfruit peel, putting it into a jar, adding some waters and salt, and then tightly closing the jar. The jar of Mandai should be kept for several days before being cooked.

Mandai on Jar (Source: Credit: Kasih Ilmar)
Mandai on Jar
(Source: Credit: Kasih Ilmar)

The idea of cooking jackfruit peel came from the ancient society of Banjar. At the old times, people of Banjar always catch fishes from one of the rivers in the city for them to cook and eat. During the dry season, the fishes were getting harder to catch. Thus, they tried to invent other ingredients to be used as dish.

Here came the idea of processing the peel of jackfruit, the fruit that is easy to find in any season in Banjarmasin. Even though it sounds very simple, it turns out that Mandai is very nutritious. You can list this food on your diet menu while you are in Banjarmasin.

There are many ways to cook Mandai. The simplest way is by frying it without additional condiments. Other way is by cooking it with spices, herbs, and other ingredients. To make a tastier dish, you could mix Mandai with other ingredients such as meat, fish, shrimp, egg, or other vegetable.

Sauteed Mandai with Shredded Fish (Source: Credit: edyprops photography)
Sauteed Mandai with Shredded Fish
(Source: Credit: edyprops photography)

You can buy Mandai dish on several restaurants, food stands on the streets, or breakfast vendors on the floating market. You can also buy the raw Mandai on the jar from them and cook it later with your own recipe.


4. Es Nangka Selasih

Es Nangka Selasih is an icy serving of dessert. Literally, the name of the foods can be translated to be “Ice of Jackfruit and Basil Seed”. The serving is a combination of ice, water, lemon juice, sugar, jackfruit, and basil seed. While touring around the city, it would be such a good idea to get some Es Nangka Selasih at the afternoon to beat off the heat. It is an effective and tasty choice to refresh you up.

Jackfruit is used in this dessert as it the most common fruits to be found in Banjarmasin regardless the season. It also has soft sweet taste that is much enjoyable. Nowadays, Es Nangka Selasih is mixed with other ingredients to make it more colorful to see and richer in taste. Some common additional ingredients are nata de coco, jelly, and coconut meat.

Es Nangka Selasih can be easily found on the humble stands or stalls along the street. Some restaurants that serve Banjar culinary usually have this dessert on their menu as well.


In the city of Banjarmasin, there are still many other foods from Banjar culinary that you need to try. To get to know more of those, kindly continue reading our next article where we would provide more lists of delicious Banjar foods to enrich your culinary experience.


Culinary of Banjar : What to Taste in Banjarmasin City – Part 2 (END)