The cities on the north coastal area of Central Java are almost have their own genuine products. For example, Kudus known for soto food, jenang food, and cigar food. Brebes known for salty egg, Semarang known for lumpia food, wingko babat food, Pekalongan known for batik, Jepara known for carved meubel.
What about Pati?Pati known for Nasi Gandul/Gandul cooked rice.At a cross of main gate of Kalibata Grave Garden of Heros, South Jakarta, you’ll find a lot of food stall which sell various traditional food stall. That food stalls opened at 5 p.m. till drop. There are gudeg jogja food, taliwang chicken, sate padang, sate madura, java noodle, soto solo, gunung kidul meat ball, manado food, chinese food, etc. If you want to taste the traditional food of Indonesia in few times and one stop food stalls, this place could be added to your destination places, because you’ll easy to pick any traditional food that you like. The parking is wide.
Wait...wait...Yoohooiii!!!There is Gandul cooked rice founded, the owner is Ibu Hartati (Mrs.Hartati). That food stall is 2x2 dimension size, only two table inside.Formerly, Mrs. Hartati sell a cigars, but a cigars is prohibited, so she changed her sell stuff to food culinary. In coincidence, she could make gandul cooked rice. She is from Pati (as her confess), so known well about gandul cooked rice which originally food from Pati city.
In taste factor, gandul cooked rice almost same as soto betawi (betawi soup). Like in soto betawi, gandul cooked rice use santan gravy, and add in a cow meats which different cooking choise.
The unique factor about this cooked rice is from its serving, and how to eat it. Cooekd rice served in plate which banana leaf on plate. Cooked rice doesn’t touch a plate. Brown gravy which full of spices and have cow meats content served in separate bowl. You can choose a cow meats apart as you like;there are, dice meat, lungs, foot, etc.Then we could flooding of cooked rice with the gravy.
Mengapa disebut nasi gandul? Ibu Hartati yang mengaku asli Pati menjelaskan, "Kalo aslinya di Pati, ada beberapa bungkusan nasi yang digandulkan di dalam warung. Itu sebagai hiasan saja. Makanya disebut nasi gandul."
The eating method is unique. When we eat a gravy food, use spoon and fork is the easy way and comfortable. But gandul cooked rice does use spoon and fork to eat, it use banana leaf. Yes, banana leaf!!!
In border of plate, you’ll find banan leaf with long shape and folded. With banana leaf, wet cooked rice could be taken. For beginner, at the beginning may be have a little bit problem, but if you’ll find the method, you’ll be satisfied to eat. Gandul cooked rice more tastly to eat use banana leaf.
In Jakarta, gandul cooked rice food stall could find in several location, from just street food stall until mall food stall. But, this food less popular then the others food in Jakarta. In Jakarta, the price of this food around Rp 6,000 or USD 0, 65 per portion.
Why it is called as gandul? (note: gandul in javanese word, means hang/hanging). According to Mrs. Hartati who from Pati (as her confess), in Pati itself, food stall wich served gandul cooked rice usually have pack of rice which hanging as a decoration.
Other seller have other explaination, his name is Amin who sell gandul cooked rice at Prof.Dr. Satrio Street. According to Amin, this cooked rice called gandul cooked rice because the cooked rice pillowed with banana leaf, so the cooked rice floating onthe plate, seems like hanging.
According to Oping, who also sell gandul cooked rice said, that there are several version about the genesis of this food culinary. According his version, gandul name come from customer who see a seller. That seller use a shoulder to carry his stuff. When he walk away the stuff which carry is shaky because its hanged, so the customer called the seller as hanging cooked rice seller (note: years ago, it was common to watch a seller who carry his stuff with stick on his shoulder, a basket band with rope at stick, so basket look hanging).
So, which one argument is true among three argument above? What a name means, said William Shakespeare. A food culinary do not have problem with its name, for food culinary the mos important factor is the taste, isn’t it?:p:)
Source: KOMPAS, written by Egidius Patnistik, edited and translated by reog.
SPICY FOOD NETWORK 31.5.07