As we have discussed before, Karimunjawa is an archipelago that works as Marine Protection Area as well as stunning tourism destination. The object has many wonderful attractions where you can do plenty unforgettable activities. Coming to Karimunjawa is not difficult as there are several modes of transportation available in reasonable price. Accommodations are also provided in various choices of facilities and rates, allowing the tourists to pick one that fits their budget and plan. Thus, no wonder that many tourists from around the world would come to this wonderful place.
Another thing about Karimunjawa that is quite worth exploring is the culinary. At this archipelago, you would find several villages where the people are still living traditionally. These people indeed know how to cook well with their traditional recipes. Some of those awesome culinary are:
1. Pindang Serani
Pindang serani is a dish of sautéed fish served with gravy. This dish is traditionally from Karimunjawa and Jepara. Basically, almost any kind of fish can be used to make Pindang Serani dish. But most people use mackerel or snapper as it tastes the best. The dish has a combination flavor of spicy, sour, and savory. This strong combination is what makes Pindang Serani is loved by many people, both local and tourists.
2. Bakso Ikan Ekor Kuning
Bakso Ikan Ekor Kuning is a fish meatball soup made from yellow-tailed fish. This food can only be found on Karimunjawa archipelago. The meatball is made using the meat of freshly caught yellow-tailed fish. The gravy is made using the broth of the very same fish. This combination caused the dish to have strong seafood taste and aroma. Bakso Ikan Ekor Kuning is best served when it is warm so you could easily smell the mouth-watering aroma. This dish is very cheap.
3. Lontong Krubyuk
Lontong is bland rice cake wrapped with banana leaf. The word “krubyuk” means “running on the water” in Javanese folk language. And lontong krubyuk itself is a lontong served in gravy soup. The dish has spicy and unique savory taste. Lontong Krubyuk is one of tourist’s favorite. So when you go to a Lontong Krubyuk stands during meal hours, do not get surprised if the stand is crowded and you have to wait a little bit longer before your order comes.
4. Siomay Karimunjawa
Siomay is a traditional food from Indonesia adapted from China through the immigrants that came long before Indonesia gained their independence. Generally it looks like a dumpling but is served with peanut sauce and other condiments such as potato, boiled cabbage, and tofu. In Karimunjawa, the siomay is slightly different than the usual siomay commonly found on any other place in Indonesia. Siomay Karimunjawa use tuna fish instead of mackerel as the main ingredient for the dumpling. The peanut sauce tastes a little bit different too. It is a little bit sour and spicy instead of savory. Siomay karimunjawa also uses raw cucumber and raw tomato slices as condiments, which is unusual in common siomay. It also uses shredded raw cabbage instead of boiled one.
5. Wedang Jahe
Wedang jahe is a simple warm beverage made from ginger and brown sugar. Ginger tastes warm on throat. It also could warm up your inner body and cure gassy stomach. This way, wedang jahe is favored to drink at night or early morning, when the weather is cold. Wedang jahe is not only available in Karimunjawa, but also at almost any town in Java Island. There is even instant powder for wedang jahe that you can buy at food shop or supermarket.
6. Wedang Blung
Wedang blung is a unique traditional beverage available on Karimunjawa archipelago, Kudus town, and Jepara town. The beverage was made from ginger, brown sugar, pandan, lemongrass, young coconut meat, and thick coconut milk. While most ginger-based beverages are served warm, wedang blung can also be served cold. Most people would of course choose hot or warm wedang blung during cold weather. But when it is a bright day, a glass of cold wedang blung could really refresh your energy. Traditional wedang blung is served in a clay mug or bamboo mug.
7. Klepon Alang-Alang
Klepon alang-alang is a snack made from flour filled with sweet brown sugar. This snack has symbolic meaning in local culture. If you see the snack in a glance, it might look so simple and unattractive. But once you eat it, you can taste the sweetness from the inside. This teaches people to not judge anyone or anything by the appearance. Because sometimes, what appears to be simple might have sweetness on the inside if you open up your mind and give it a chance to understand.
8. Jenang Karimun
Jenang karimun is another snack originally from the Karimunjawa archipelago. It is a mixture of flour, thick coconut milk, sugar, and ginger. Cooking this food takes up a very long time. Sometimes, it could take up to six hours to let the ingredients to mix thouroughly and forms the perfect texture. Just like klepon alang-alang, jenang karimun also has symbolic meaning. This small treat teaches us that in order to gain perfection you must be patient enough as it sometimes takes quite long time.
9. Any Kind of Seafoods
Basically, almost any kind of seafood dish is very great to eat in Karimunjawa because they mostly use the freshly caught ingredients. The most popular seafood on this archipelago is local snapper. Most fish-based dish may work with the local snapper. But most popular snapper dish among tourists are Snapper Pindang Serani or Grilled Snapper. Other popular seafood are squids and mackerel fish.
If you are interested in tasting these culinary, there are several choices of place to acquire these foods and beverages, such as:
- At the Village
The best place to eat traditional culinary is directly from the village. This way, you will get the most original foods and drinks to taste. Local villagers are very friendly to tourists. If you walk around the village, some people might greet you and offer to cook for you.
- Food Stands and Stalls Around Object
Nearby the beaches and conservation centers, you might find several food stands and stalls lining up. These places could also accommodate your curiosity in tasting local culinary. Most of them would write down their menu with big font at the façade. This will make you easier to find the right stand that sells the foods or drinks you are looking for.
- Alun-Alun Karimunjawa
On the city, there is a plaza square called Alun-Alun Karimunjawa. During the day, the place would be rather empty. You might find several stands or stalls in here, but not so much. But after the sunset, Alun-Alun Karimunjawa would transform into a culinary center. There would be plenty of stands and stalls offering various foods and drinks where most of them are traditional ones. Many people would come around this place at night not just to eat and drink, but also to hang out with friends or family.
- From restaurant or hotels
Some hotels might also provide you the foods and drinks made with local recipes. But some of them had already modified the traditional recipe so the taste might be different from the original ones.
Nothing can makes a vacation perfect than local culinary. I mean, why would you go far away if yo just end up eating foods that you eat everyday? Tasting new flavors is another adventure worth experiencing during a vacation.