There are literally THOUSANDS of cheese variants throughout the globe. But I believe only a small number of people knows that there is a cheese variant in Indonesia. First, before you think that I’m bluffing that it is cheese, let me explain about it etymologically:
Meriam-Webster Dictionary: Cheese (n) a food consisting of the coagulated, compressed, and usually ripened curd of milk separated from the whey
Bahasa Indonesia Great Dictionary: Cheese (n) a food made from the essence of milk by hardening fermentation
So to be defined as cheese, a milk should be processed, fermented, and sometimes compressed to solid form.
Dangke, cheese made in Enrekang regency of South Sulawesi (north from Makassar), is made of buffalo milk. Instead coagulated by rennet like usual cheese, it is coagulated using a protease enzyme extracted from the latex of papaya (Carica papaya) called papain. The latex of papaya itself tastes bitter. So right amount of concentration and proper mixing is required to make this cheese.
How to enjoy it? During my visit to Makassar, I visited my girlfriend house and her mother marinated the sliced cheese with the mixture of salt, garlic, and coriander, mashed together and poured with water before the cheese is being fried. The result is just fantastic!
It has a bit or fried exterior like fried Halloumi from Cyprus, rich and a bit bitter taste like Emmenthal from Swiss, and soft, porous texture like tofu or Paneer from India. Although this one is bitter in some cuts, showing that the mixing of papain is quite uneven. However, it is one of the best experience that I would have and it is very interesting that we have our own cheese!
Credits to Mr. Jeremia Jerry and his family, who bought this cheese and cooked it for me.
Originated: Enrekang regency, South Sulawesi, Indonesia
Price: Around IDR 25.000,00
Milk: Water buffalo
Type: Fresh cheese
Further fermentation: Not required
Curd coagulation: Papain (proteinase) from papaya latex
Melting: No, similar to Halloumi, you can even pan-fry it
Expiry: Only in hours if placed outside refrigerator, up to 2-3 days refrigerated
Serve: People pan-fry it with oil after marinating it in seasoned garlic-coriander paste and eat dangke with rice
Moi! Tervetuloa Suomen! Ummm… I meant, welcome to Finland! This month and forth, I will take you to the meals that I will eat for daily routines, or some restaurant visits, or even some traditional food events!
Honestly for me, transition between Indonesia and Finland is not that much in term of food for me because actually I used to eat bread or cereal in the morning instead of rice while I was still in Indonesia. Even more, I actually random enough to made this… Karelian Pasty (low budget and no rye version):
The idea comes from Alexis Gabriel AKA “The French Guy” in Youtube…
And… now I’m here! Here in Turku, Finland, Karelian Pasty or Karjalanpiiraka is something you can found almost in every supermarket that selling breads which may cost you only less than 1 euro per kilogram.
The difference is uncanny… this one is piece of art!
As Indonesian that accustomed to be full after eating rice, me myself… after eating like 3-4 pieces of this (medium size), I’m starting to full. I like the mild savoury and creaminess of the rice in here. I like these one! There are other variants of Karelian Pasty: Porkkanapiirakkan (FI: Porkka = carrot) or Perunapiirakan (FI: Peruna = potato).
Porkkanapiirakkan (with rice and carrot)
To let you all know, Karelia is area in Europe that marks the northwestern part from Russia, including some part in south of Finland. This pasty or pirog is available mostly in Finland, and especially here in Turku (you can find it in LIDL, K-Market, or Siwa). People here say that the pasty is delicious if you eat it with egg butter or munavoi (FI: Muna = egg, voi = butter), butter mixed with chopped hard-boiled egg.
For daily, I ate bread, cheese, and sometime… fish, because fishes in here are all mostly fresh! In Turku, I normally buy my stuffs in supermarket, but sometimes… if I’m in mood for adventure, I go to Kauppatori (FI: market) located in the heart of the city, where sometimes… various goods can be found.
In the market… in fish truck.
We can sometime found a fish truck in the market (last time, I saw it on Wednesday in a week ago, and in Friday around three weeks ago). They sell various cooked fish in there, from salmon with any methods of cooking, fish patties, to other smoked fish. They priced per weight (kilogram).
You can found smoked salmon… with cream cheese and herb, with herb, with spices, or original one. Last time, I bought the one with cream cheese and herb… and it’s truly marvellous!
Smoked salmon with cream cheese and herb (0.25 Kg = EUR 5), warmed in microwave.
Smoked herring (whole fishes; 0.5 Kg = EUR 5), also warmed in microwave.
For the first time, I also interested to buy smoked herring because I was curious about it. Well… like I was in Indonesia eating nila fish, it has a lot of spiky bones in it so you have to be careful, and because it’s whole… you need to separate anything with flesh before you it it. I ate “something” from it, and I don’t like it…
Rye breads are common in here. The one I bought (picture above) is called limppu. It made from rye and added with molasses, so the flavor is between sweet and a bit sour, and it has unique aroma. My housemate told me that it’s a traditional bread here for Christmas and good to be eaten with butter… and it does! It also good with lox (cured salmon).
Limppu and salmon… and extra horseradish sauce (as you might see)
Leipajuusto with cloudberry jam
Other than fish and bread, Finland is also has their own cheese… and sometimes Finnish people eat meat or cheese… with jam, especially lingonberry (red one, Vaccinium vitis-idaea) or cloudberry (orange one, Rubus chamaemorus). One of the unique cheese here is called bread cheese or in Finn, leipajuusto. This cheese is made from colostrum rich milk of cow that already has calves, and strangely… it squeaks while bitten (in contact basically) with your teeth, so in America, they call it squeaky cheese. It tastes plain with some richness of cream but a bit salty (if preserved with brine). Normally eaten with cloudberry jam or lakkahillo and it gives the flavor quite colorful in your mouth!
Ah right… there are also special foods that can be eaten to commemorate some events. Like in February 5th, you can eat Runebergin torttu (FI: Runeberg torte, SW: Runebergs Tårta) to celebrate Johan Ludvig Runeberg’s (a poet) birthdate.
The torte is made from pastry flavored with almond and arrack or rum and in top of it, there is raspberry jam with ring of sugar icing. It is nice to eat as snack in any time!
Ah right, you can found A LOT of pizzeria and kebab store (normally both in one shop) here! You may found one who sell falafel (Lebanese fritter made of chickpea) or kebab pizza!
Well… that’s for now. I believe there will be more soon!
PS: If you are not eating pork, here’s some list to avoid… meals with these words in Finnish:
Sika (FI: pig), sianliha (FI: pork), kinkku (FI: ham), porsaan (FI: pork), porsaanliha (FI: pork meat), porsas (FI: pork), porssu (FI: piggy)
PPS: These stuffs is just okay:
Kala (FI: fish), kana (FI: chicken), pihvi (FI: beef), lammas (FI: lamb)
Finally… after passing some jet lag and some adaptational time here, now I’m got to go and ready to write my culinary experience here! But of course, placing some transitional meals here would be really nice, don’t you guys think so?
Okay then… on that January 21st night until January 22nd in the morning of Eastern European time, I made my long journey of more 10,000 Km (it’s ¼ of the globe!) with total around 16 hours of flight hours! For the first flight between Indonesia and Netherlands, I was in GA Flight 88 for more than 13 hours. Thank God for the awesome and cozy Boeing 777-300 ER and cool flight crews to flew it really smooth, in addition of there’s nobody seating next to me in the 3 seats (which in some moments become really sad), I could lean my feet and the rest of my body to sleep! And, you know what… I had my stomach really full up there!
For flying with GA 88, there are 2 segments of flight: CGK (Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Banten-Jakarta, Indonesia) to SIN (Changi International Airport, Singapore), then SIN to AMS (Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Netherlands). By total, there are 4 sets of meals on my way to AMS.
About inflight food, I heard before they said that it cooked a bit spicier to balance the condition during high atmospherical lower pressure that affect human taste bud to make it sense less than normal.
From outside: Fruit cuts, bread and butter, and coffee cake.
Farfalle Fish and Prawn.
From CGK to SIN, the offers were chicken and rice or fish pasta, I took the fish pasta. It tastes nice, the pasta is not overcook, although the fish is too few. But the taste from the prawn make a lift on the dish. I also like the cake!
From SIN to AMS, there are 3 courses… well, actually 2 plus 1 snack time. The menu was given after we took off from SIN.
From outside: Brownies, bread and butter, fruit cuts.
Miso broth and guava juice.
Pan seared snapper with potato and veggies.
Option for this time, Hainan rice with grilled chicken or pan seared fish. I, again, took the fish. I like the fish and its mild flavored sauce. Although if it has more spice, it will be better… I remembered that people from Europe are tend to prefer milder flavor. For the brownies, it’s nice! They also offered the miso broth… well, broth… because there is no seaweed nor tofu inside. But I like it simple like that because it wouldn’t give much extra to my stomach, but it kept me warm (it’s -69ºC outside you know!).
Then… I took a long (supposedly) sleep time for more than 10 hours. I spent some of it to watch some series in the inflight TV. At the same time, the flight attendant gave me 2 bottles of mineral water and 2 smoked beef sandwich. I couldn’t get the picture because it’s dark.
Half an hour before landing to AMS, we had our final meals… the option: Western style omelette or chicken satay with rice. As I don’t like egg, I took the chicken rice.
From outside: Fruit cuts, yoghurt (YEAH!), croissant and butter… and miso broth.
I’m sorry… I was too hungry (really??) at the time.
The chicken satay is actually out of the skewer sticks and for me, the combination between it and the peanut sauce are more like curry (I tasted the flavor of cumin and some spices, unlike in simple peanut sauce). But I like curry, so this one is one good shot!
Then… we landed… I wanted to try some food over AMS, but my flight transfer schedule was too short.
But hey! I still had a flight from AMS to HEL (Helsinki-Vantaa Airport), KLM Flight 1167.
The warm box.
Once we were airborne, the flight attendants gave us this warm box… at first, I was hopping that it has no pork inside…
Smoked Turkey Pretzel Sandwich with Mascarpone and Melted Emmental Cheese
Lucky enough… it’s turkey… even better, it’s smoked turkey! Even better again… it’s on pretzel and bunch of mouth watering cheese!!
Hello… smoked turkey!
The taste? Fabulous!!
I got a glass of orange juice for my drink. Brrr… it’s cold outside. I was worried because I could see ice crystal forming in my window. But well… I had nice and warm food inside! And for extra, I got 2 of these lemon cake!
Yummm… although honestly I already felt quite lonely on the trip, feeling far away from my family, my friend… and my girlfriend, Ghea… I feel that my next 9 months of journey in Finland will be awesome! It’s for food… and science!