Nasi Tumpeng (Photo via javakitchencatering)

The elaborate dish hides important values an deep meaning.

Retno Wulandari   24 August 2016 12:49 - If you’ve spent any time in Indonesia, you've seen and tasted Nasi Tumpeng, an elaborate dish with a cone of yellow rice in the center and side dishes including chicken, beef, tempeh, anchovies, eggs and different kinds of vegetables. 

Nasi Tumpeng comes out at special events, usually as a big dish that everyone shares, and that's because it represents the wisdom, heritage and values of the ancestors. 

Oh, and it is delicious!

1. Cone shape reflects mountains and volcanoes. 

Cone shaped Nasi Tumpeng (Photo via nasikentjana)

Indonesia boasts numerous mountains and volcanoes. Originally, Nasi Tumpeng was made to worship Mount Mahameru as the home of hyang, the spirit of Indonesian ancestors, as well as the Hindu Gods.

The cone shape can also be defined as the expectation of the prosperous life, and also a certain part of the male anatomy... 


2. Seven sides reflects the helping hands. 

Seven side dishes accompanying Nasi Tumpeng (Photo via nasikentjana)

Nasi Tumpeng always served with seven side dishes. “Seven” is pitu in Javanese, a word referencing pitulungan or pertolongan in Indonesian, or “the helping hands (of God).” It’s a symbol of gratitude to God. 


3. A whole chicken to avoid misconduct. 

Ayam bekakak (Photo via rumahmakanan)

Chicken is one of the most important side dishes accompanying Nasi Tumpeng. Traditionally, it has to be a rooster cooked whole in yellow spices and thick coconut milk, called ayam bekakak. A rooster reflects bad attitudes, including pride, arrogance, loudness, infidelity and a tendency to neglect the wife and children. Serving and eating the rooster is an act to banish these behaviors.


4. Anchovies reflect harmony and togetherness. 

Sambal goreng teri (Photo via Tokopedia)

Anchovies (ikan teri) beside the Nasi Tumpeng are usually fried with peanuts, spices and chopped chilis, called sambal goreng teri. In the sea or in the frypan, anchovies always swarm together in large groups, reflecting harmony in social life.



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