Every time go to Cirebon must never forget with one of the typical food of this shrimp city, the Nasi Jamblang. A portion of white rice with side dishes to taste does look like white rice in general. However, when viewed more observant will find a uniqueness of itself from Nasi Jamblang, which is a fresh teak leaves that became the base for rice, side dishes, even chili and sauce.The aroma of teak leaves that I think gives a uniqueness when eating a serving of Nasi Jamblang. In the city of Cirebon this food is very easy to find, from start restaurant to street hawkers, either morning or night.
One of the center of Nasi Jamblang stall which is open until night is seputaran Grage Mall, precisely at Student Tentara Jalan. On this street the tent stalls are perched on the sidewalk, offering a typical Cirebon cuisine of one serving of rice with teak leaf mats.Entering one of the jamblang rice stalls that boisterous invaded prospective buyers, large basins presented there. Inside the basins are presented with a variety of side dishes, such as fried sambal, omelet, balado egg, fried tofu, corn banana, fried tempe, cakes, satay quail, beak, chicken, liver stew, meat, fish, until blakutak, Squid cooked with ink. Various side dishes are ready to be taken buffet after a plate of white rice beralaskan teak leaves submitted. That said, the first use of this teak leaves as a wrapper of white rice makes the nasih be durable and still pulen. But now mostly in the stalls I’ve visited, the use of teak leaves is not wrapped in white rice but only as a base placed on the plate.
The name Jamblang itself is the name of one of the places in Cirebon, while the use of teak leaves is said to have existed since the days of Daendels when building the post of Anyer-Panarukan highway. At that time the workers replace the rice wrap that previously used banana leaves to teak leaves. Use of teak leaves is what makes the rice remains durable and pulen because of the texture of teak leaves are porous.Eating a serving of jamblang rice does provide an experience in itself.
Sometimes what looks like a plate of white rice with a side dish or maybe it looks like a hubbub from a roadside tent shop. But behind a plate of rice jamblang there is a long story of the era of forced labor Daendels era to build a highway that connects Anyer and Panarukan. A dark era of colonial tragedy where people are forced to make the road approximately 1000 km. It is said that during the period of forced labor there are 12,000 souls hovering. Terrible!
If then I know if this plate of rice jamblang this story begins from the era of Daendels do forced labor for the construction of postal highway, then I have found a different story than just eating a delicious portion of white rice pulen.