4 RAMADHAN CULINARY MARKETS IN JOGJA
Waiting to Break The Fast at Ramadan Feast
When the new moon starts appearing in Ramadan month, it indicates the time for Moslems to fast during the whole month. This is the long awaited month-the month of blessing and mercy. Everybody happily welcome the month, though they would have to fast for more than 12 hours each day. While waiting for the sound of drums from the Mosque, people used to spend their time during the afternoon by hanging out and shopping for foods to break the fast. Such activity has been widely known as ngabuburit-a Sundanese vocabulary which has been popular throughout the island of Java. In Jogja alone, there are several spots you can choose for ngabuburit, all of which can be found only once in a year, and become must-visit spots during Ramadan.
1. Kauman Evening Feast
Located in the narrow walkway in the legendary Kauman area, Kauman Ramadan Kampong is one of the obligatory ngabuburit spot in Jogja. No wonder; this is where the oldest Ramadan kampong first held, back then in 1973. Antique feel dominates the air as Kauman is an old housing area with antique-styled architectures dominating. Dozens of booths stand in front of locals' houses, each offering various foods to break the fast. One of the most interesting foods offered is various kinds of pepes (steamed food, commonly made of fishes, with spices and wrapped in banana leaves)-from pepes tofu and even clams. Other foods are also tempting. Still, from the so many snacks offered, kicak is the most sought after as it is produced only during Ramadan month. Made of sticky rice, sugar, grated coconut, and small cuts of jackfruit, kicak was first produced by Mbah Wono-a Kauman local. Even until the present time, kicak he produced is still sought after by many during Ramadan. There is also guava syrup, which is said to be one of the favorite drinks of King HB IX and X; the beverage is delicious, either served chilled or hot.
2. Jalurgaza Nitikan-Jajanan Lauk, Sayur, Gubug Ashar Zerba Ada (One Stop Food, Vegetables, Ashar Booth)
The second spot for ngabuburit is Jalurgaza. Don't worry; this is not the particular Gaza Trail in Middle East, which becomes the battlefield between Israel and Palestine. Jalurgaza here is the acronym for jajanan lauk sayur gubuk ashar zerba ada (one stop food, vegetables, Ashar booth). Here, flying missiles and bullets are replaced by delicious foods, while the brave squads are replaced by sellers trying to earn for living.
Located near Mutohirin Moqsue along Sorogenan Street, the area is filled by lines of booths offering various foods to break the fast-from light snacks to full meal. If you miss the taste of original corobikang cake, you can find it here. Served hot and fresh from the mold, the sweet vanilla flavor will definitely attract you. A wide variety of beverages are also available, each tempting you with the cold drops of dew.
Not only do food sellers, various events are also held to celebrate the most awaited month for the Moslems-such as live music, collective fast-breaking, charity events for orphans, and massive-scale recitation.
3. Jogokaryan Ramadan Kampong
By taking Bregodo Jogokaryo as its mascot, Jogokaryan Ramadan Kampong is ready to celebrate the sacred month of Ramadan. Just after the afternoon call of prayer, the area surrounding Jogokaryan Mosque is transformed into an impromptu feast. Various foods are displayed, from traditional snacks to Japanese bento. They have it all. Close to the mosque, smokes from grilled sate koyor (sate made of chicken/goat/cow fat) fill the air; the sweet aroma of burnt fat makes us feel as if time were flying slowly to the fast-breaking moment.
Jogokaryan Ramadan Kampong is attended not only by food sellers but also by cloth and toy sellers. Clothes commonly offered here are Moslem outfits and other prayer equipments. Jogokaryan Mosque, which is a sample Mosque, also holds various activities such as free meal for breaking the fast-up to 1000 portions, collective sahur (breaking the fast in early dawn), and tarawih prayer, like one held in Medina, every Thursday night including the reading of one section of the Koran.
4. UGM Valley
Unlike the three other ngabuburit spots which appear to resemble kampongs, UGM valley (not an actual valley; just a nickname) appears with a more urban feel. It should not be surprising as the spot is located within the area of the biggest campus in Jogja which, obviously, inhabited by numerous youths. The urban feel manifests in the variety of commodities offered, which mostly are foreign menus such as German grilled sausage, Indian cane cake, Korean kimbab, and so on. Still, it doesn't imply that local foods are being left behind in popularity. Mendoan booth a la Banyumas attracts buyers, while standing close to fruit soup and sugarcane ice seller. Another interesting thing is that the majority of the sellers are college students. UGM valley appears to be a paradise for culinary freaks, making it one of the most-visit spots.
Ngabuburit adds more fun while spending time waiting to break the fast. While trying on some tasty foods, you can also enhance brotherhood with friends. Sharing fortune and happiness along with the sellers may also be another excitement. So, where will you spend your ngabuburit time this afternoon?
Text KEN SAVITRIE Photography DANIEL ANTONIUS KRISTANTO Translation WIDIANA MARTININGSIH
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