DAWET AYU CENTER
Culinary, Philosophy, and Railway Workshop on Jalan Kusbini
Updated on 1/1/2018
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"Kakang kakang pada plesir (maring endi yayi).
Tuku dawet, dawete Banjarnegara.
Seger adem legi (apa iya).
Dawet ayu, dawete Banjarnegara."
"Brother, brother, let's go out (where to, sister?).
Let us go buy dawet, Banjarnegara's dawet.
Refreshing, cool, and sweet (is that true?).
Dawet ayu, Banjarnegara's dawet."
- Lyrics of "Dawet Ayu Banjarnegara" song by Bono, an artist from Banjarnegara.
Titled "Dawet Ayu Banjarnegara", it is said that the iconic beverage of Banjarnegara was named after this song, which was popular in the 1980s. However, according to a well-known author from Banyumas, Ahmad Tohari, the name dawet ayu came from a folktale about a beautiful (Jv.: 'ayu') dawet seller. Thus, the dawet she sold was named dawet ayu (literally translates to 'beautiful dawet').
Though dawet ayu's origin was Banjarnegara, there's no need to go to Banjarnegara to find it since dawet ayu sellers have already spread throughout Indonesia, including Jogja. You can find this sweet and refreshing beverage along Jalan Kusbini, in front of the biggest Railway Workshop, Balai Yasa Pengok, to be precise. That's where YogYes team drove to in a sunny day; to have a sip of its refreshing sweet taste.
In between the lines of giant canary trees (Canarium amboinense), many carrying poles commonly called angdayu or angkringan dawet ayu can be seen, complete with the signature ornaments of two Javanese puppet characters Semar and Gareng on both sides of the pole. There's a reason why those two punokawan (the clown servants of Pandavas in Javanese leather puppet stories) characters are used as ornaments on both sides of the angdayu poles. When joined, the words Semar and Gareng form the word 'mareng', which means 'drought' in Javanese. The symbolization of those two characters conforms to 'dawet ayu' that is best drunk when the sun is shining very brightly during dry season.
Upon a closer look at the angdayu, there were two large barrels made of clay, both of which contain dawet (hunkwe flour batter) and coconut milk, placed on the right and left end of the angdayu. Clay barrels are used because it is believed that they provide a chilling effect so that the dawet and coconut milk contained in them will cool off without the need to add ices. However, though still using clay barrels, nowadays dawet ayu are served with ice, like the dawet sold by Mr. Puji Haryanto, a dawet ayu seller who has been selling this beverage in Jogja for eighteen years.
The flavor of pandan leaves and jackfruit, the combination of the sweet palm sugar, and the savory coconut milk are the distinctive features of Dawet Ayu. However, the sweet taste of palm sugar syrup keeps dominating though savory coconut milk has been added into the mixture. The texture of the dawet was also chewy and soft unlike most dawet. According to Mr. Puji, such texture is obtained by the use of a mixture of sago palm flour and rice flour as the basic ingredients, added with natural food coloring made from pandan leaves. Other dawet sellers commonly use only sago palm flour instead.
The sensation of the taste is even better with the addition of small slices of jackfruit. The long thirst that had been parching our throats instantly vanished once we tasted the super-refreshing dawet ayu. It's even better when enjoyed under the shady trees along Jalan Kusbini, especially during hot days in Jogja. The best part is that you don't have to spend a lot of money to enjoy this drink.
Text DIAN NORRAS Photography JAYA TRI HARTONO
Copyright © 2015 YogYES.COM
How to get there:
from Lempuyangan Train Station, head west - Jl. Lempuyangan - Jl. Hayam Wuruk - PT KAI (Daop 6 Yogyakarta), turn right - Jl. Tukangan - turn right to Jl. Krasak Timur - turn left to Jl. Dr. Wahidin Sudirohusodo - turn right at Valentine Modiste - Jl. Kusbini - Dawet Ayu Center