25September2017

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THE STORY OF SAMBAL

THE STORY OF SAMBAL

Sambal is typical Indonesian condiment  prepared with the main ingredient of crushed chili so its taste is usually hot . Other ingredients such as salt and shrimp paste are often added. Sambal is one of the distinctive elements of Indonesian cuisine, but something similar  can also be found in Malaysia and other countries in South Asia and East Asia. There are many variations of sambal originating from various regions in Indonesia. People in this country apparently can not keep away from this chili condiment.  

According to history, chili was already known at the time of ancient Javanese kingdoms  and had become a trade commodity. Even in the ancient text from the 10th century, chili  was cited as an  example of delicacies. A slave who was  adept at making chili sambal  would earn a special place because she would be  favored  by the employer. Jacob de Bondt Alias Bontius, a  Dutch doctors who was  also personal physician of the Colonial governor general in Indonesia. Jan Pieterszoon Coen, had mentioned about  the existence of red chili in Indonesia which although it wasn’t not clear why, was  also known as Brazilian chili. The hot property of chili has caused some tourism guide books put some  warning to  tourists to be careful in eating spicy sambal because it can affect one’s  stomach.

Many tourists, however,  are just curious about the taste of sambal. In every region in Indonesia, sambal is condiment that are included in culture. This is evidenced in the different types of sambal in every region in Indonesia. The most popular one and can be found almost everywhere is sambal terasi or shrimp paste sambal. But there are also sambal Matah from Bali, Goang from West Java, Dabu-dabu from Sulawesi, Colo-colo from Maluku and many others. One common thing about these sambal is the hot spicy taste of chili. Since most Indonesians  eat rice as staple food, sambal is considered important condiment to accompany it. Some people can even eat rice only with sambal and raw vegetables, known as lalaban, and consider it as the best food in the world.

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