This is my first article that I sent for ASEAN – Korea Weblog Correspondent. It’s about the similarity between Indonesian cake Gemblong and Korean cake Songpyeon. Fully my own thought, so again as always, take out with full credit to me.
Our Friendship is As Sticky As Gemblong and Songpyeon
Indonesia consists of many islands, officially 5 big islands and 34 provinces. Each province has different culture and uniqueness. Indonesia is rich with its society culture, traditional dress, traditional languages, songs, music instruments, nation natural preservation and of course food.
With 34 provinces, Indonesia has more than 34 kinds of traditional food. Each food shows the special taste to represent the area. You will find one province to cook mostly spicy food, other province to have coconut milk mixed to their food, other province to preserve sago rather than rice, or other province that has got sweet and colorful side dishes and cakes, and so on.
I will talk about Indonesian traditional cake. The interesting side to talk about Indonesian traditional cake is because they are colorful with various shapes and you can find unforgettable sweet, savory, sour, and salty taste.
Now, I want to introduce you to one specific cake named Gemblong. Gemblong is a traditional cake from West Java. You can spell it like geumbeullong if you are uccostom to Hangeul (Korean language). Originally, Gemblong tastes sweet because of its topping from melted palm sugar of Java Island.
Gemblong is a daily snack anytime in the morning or in the afternoon to accompany us enjoying coffee or any drink. We can buy this traditional cake easily just like any other street snack. Especially when you go to rural and sub-urban area, you will find it easier there. During Ramadhan or Muslim’s Fasting Month, Gemblong is a favorite food for breaking fasting.
Gemblong is easy to make at home by yourself. The main ingredient is rice flour. You mix the rice flour into dough. Shape the dough to the size of your fist or smaller, and then fry it with cooking oil in a frying pan. After cooked well to golden color, drain it and coat the topping. That is the traditional way to make Gemblong.
But nowadays, Gemblong has innovated both in the way to cook and the additional ingredients. For a healthier way, Indonesian would choose to bake or steam it than to fry it. And we would like to add any other healthy and tasty ingredients to sprinkle as the topping, such as cheese grater, coconut grater, celery or sesame. Moreover, Gemblong has innovated to not only add a topping but also a filling. For Gemblong filling, we can add mincemeat, minced fish, or sweet flavor. And even you can make the dough colored green or purple with natural coloring. So Gemblong will look cuter and taste healthier.
When talking about Indonesian food, you will also remember Korean food because there are some foods similar to one another. As for Gemblong, it will remind us to Songpyeon. Songpyeon is a Korean traditional cake to be served specially on Chuseok day or Korean Thanks Giving Day. This is a big celebration day in Korea where Korean people visit their home town, and this is just like a tradition in Indonesia too when we visit our home towns on Eid Al-Fitri Day.
Songpyeon is a Korean rice cake. It shaped like a half moon with cute attractive color. The main ingredient of Songpyeon is rice flour, with red bean or sesame as the filling. Songpyeon is then to be steamed with fir needle to avoid it sticky. Anyway, Song is a Korean word meant fir needle.
From there, we can point out the similarity between Gemblong and Songpyeon are the rice flour ingredient, the oval shape, and the sweet taste. Both countries have diverse and amazing cultures. We have to preserve both diversity for good life and friendship.
all photo credit to: as tagged