Food and Song in Blitar, East Java

Posted on October 29, 2011


i spent a few days with grandpa before i went to Singapore, and now i am back for what i thought would be another few days. Unfortunately, grandpa is in the hospital. I stay in Blitar until he returns home… While he rests, I hang out with a new friend, Nidya, who knows all cool in Blitar and runs an English school in her neighborhood.

My favorite Street Foods – These first 2 are dutch influenced – Martabak (indo version of an omelette), Sweet Martabak/Trambulan (two super thick pancakes with butter, grated cheese, chocolate, peanuts, and condensed milk inside), Sawut (grated and steamed casava/yuca root sweetened with palm sugar and topped with grated coconut)

My favorite cafe’s – Omaku you can find a good assortment of treats here, along with fresh juices, and french fries. They have free WiFi, as well. Mak Nyak a very nice place for Blitar standards. You can sit in your own cabana and enjoy ribs, indo and chinese food, and really good shaved-ice treats. Duta Bakery find home-made ice-cream here! and Soy Joy bars.

So my friend invites me to her Chinese ladies choir, which i assume will be a pretty, but ordinary church-like ensemble. But to my delight, these elderly women had me leaving with a hop in my step. ‘Sister Act’ comes to mind when they spontaneously break out in dance while singing- sometimes sounding like exotic birds, sometimes sounding like percussion instruments, and other times sounding like heavenly angels. And at moments you hear all of the mentioned at once… I was really sooo excited. I felt that i found an unknown treasure. I had to record it, but my phone’s quality just doesn’t do it justice 😦 I shall return one day to properly record them…

I somehow managed to become a stowaway on Nidya’s family trip (3 hours) to Mt Batu to visit their temple (Buddhist with Sri Lankan blessings) for prayer and ceremony. We arrived about 10pm, stayed up till 4am, and left at 630am. These Buddhists are devout night owls! I enjoyed it very much and felt welcomed as family. I even got to eat half a melon (a real treat since i hadn’t tasted one since state-side a couple months back) as part of the ceremony. At the shrine there are tables full of fruits. The owner of the temple chooses what fruit you eat- sometimes you get young, unripe mangoes, a chance to eat sweet (or sour) oranges, a WHOLE watermelon, or even apples. Nidya lucked out since she got to share her melon with me. I imagine it can be tough to eat a whole one so late in the night after you’ve had dinner… After, while they prayed and chanted, i meditated in the back. All doors remained open as the cool mountain air listened and the complete full moon shined above… I only wished we could spend the day there- the drive is gorgeous and the area is known for its sweet, crunchy apples!

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Posted in: Indonesia