Serabi Bandung, Pancakes from Pasundan

Heri Sisworo

Heri Sisworo

On English

Serabi or Surabi, is a pancake-like snack from West Java. Serabi can indeed be found in many parts of Indonesia, but the one from Bandung is special. Many people agree that Serabi Bandung has a unique characteristic and taste that can’t be found in other regions.

A white serabi. via Instagram/yulichia88

Serabi is a traditional cake that is currently undergoing a renaissance. Once forgotten, serabi make a comeback lately with a new life. It’s no longer an outdated cake. The modern retouch makes serabi Bandung returns to its former glory. Here is all you need to know about surabi, Pasundan’s take on the pancake.

History and Name

Cooking a Serabi. via Instagram/tra_culi

Even though there is no official record, serabi was already present in West Java in the early ‘20s. Many people believe that serabi is local’s interpretation of the Dutch’s pancake even though the ingredients are different. Pancake uses flour and eggs as main ingredients while serabi uses flour and coconut milk. The name serabi or surabi comes from the word ‘sura’ which means big in Sundanese.

Cooking Process

Cooking serabi. via Instagram/jajandoeloe.kbp

The cooking process of serabi hasn’t changed since early last century, especially in Bandung. Serabi Bandung is a ‘wet’ type compared to other types such as serabi Solo. Flour, coconut milk, yeast, baking powder, sugar, and salt are mixed together into a dough. The dough is then poured into a specially-made crock. It is important that the crock is made from clay. Indeed, they say that the clay crock gives the real characteristic and taste of serabi.

Traditional Toppings

Serabi with Kinca topping. via Instagram/larasa_pempek

Traditionally, serabi Bandung only has two toppings; kinca and oncom. Kinca is thick palm sugar syrup while oncom is the byproduct of tofu or tempe. The two traditional toppings give very different flavors to the serabi. Kinca, of course, makes a sweet serabi, akin to the actual pancake. Meanwhile, oncom makes a savory serabi, very different from original pancakes.

Modern Retouch

Modern serabi with other snacks. via Instagram/ekhaalvino

Serabi Bandung gets its renaissance because of the creativity of the people there. Instead of sticking to the traditional toppings, serabi now has many more different toppings. You now can find toppings like cheese, durian, chocolate, sausages, mayonnaise, corned beef, and even green tea. Today, serabi is no longer the food of old people. It already successfully transcends generations.

Serabi with oncom topping. via Instagram/winbinn

Serabi is a great example of how the food can come in and out of trend really easily. Today, serabi Bandung has returned to its former popularity due to its versatility and many toppings.