Most people will associate Palembang culinary with pempek. You would be forgiven for thinking so because pempek is so popular in Indonesia. Everyone in the country knows that pempek is THE dish from Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra. However, in term of culinary wealth, Palembang is much more than just pempek. There are many delicious Palembang cakes that are yet to be known well.
It is true that the most popular dishes from Palembang are fish-based. However, the sweet and savory cakes are also wonderful. You can see a lot of similarities between Palembang cakes with those of other Melayu areas. Here are some of them.
Engkak is a cake made mostly from sticky rice flour and coconut milk. However, it is not as easy as it might sound. The coconut milk is cooked so extensively that the oils are all extracted. This is called Santan Glondo. The cake is usually sweet and savory with a soft texture. It has a brownish color with random darker lines all over them.
The most distinctive feature of Kojo cake is its color. This is somewhat similar to sponge cake. The main ingredients are duck eggs and butter. The green color of this cake is acquired via the extensive use of suji leaves. Kojo commonly has a savory aroma, almost like pandanus leaves. It is savory and sweet, ideal for evening tea or coffee.
This one is almost similar to dodol from Java. The difference is that lempok is mainly made from durian, thus giving it a really strong taste and aroma. The main ingredients are sticky rice flour, durian, and palm sugar. The cooking process of lempok takes hours to acquire the best taste and texture. It is usually sold in cylinders.
Kue Delapan Jam
Literally means the ‘eight-hour cake’. You might already suspect where this cake gets its name. The cooking process of this cake will take eight hours to complete. The main ingredients are duck eggs, butter, and milk. The end result is a really sweet cake with a perfect hardness/softness. Kue Delapan Jam usually has a brown color, almost like palm sugar.
At a glance, you might mistake maksuba with lapis legit. This cake has a lot of layers and the cooking process is also almost similar. Maksuba is really sweet because it uses a lot of cream milk. Also, this cake is very popular during Idul Fitri.
In term of culinary, Palembang is definitely more than just pempek. There are many Palembang cakes that you can try. Most of them have similar looks and style. However, the ingredients and cooking process are vastly different from one cake to another.