Babanci, Betawi’s signature dish served during Lebaran, is going “extinct”

Sayur Babanci
Babanci, Betawi’s peranakan fusion dish. (Source: ANTARA/Nanien Yuniar)

Jakarta, IO – Babanci, a distinctive Betawi dish cooked using a lot of spices, is now increasingly hard to find in Jakarta, which is regrettable considering that it used to be a signature dish commonly served during Eid.

Babanci actually comes from a combination ‘Babah’ and ‘Enci’ because the dish is said to be only cooked and enjoyed Betawi-Chinese peranakan,” chef Moch Feisal Rachman of Hotel Mercure Cikini told Antara on Saturday (16/4). Peranakan refers to the assimilated Chinese community mostly living along the Java coast.

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Babanci actually resembles another popular dish called lontong sayur (a soupy dish with compressed rice cake) with its distinctive reddish-yellow color. The contents are ketupat, beef brisket and young coconut. It takes 21 types of spices to create the dish.

“Main ingredients include red chilies, onions, garlic, candlenut, kencur (Kaempferia galanga), lengkuas (Alpinia galanga), ginger, lemon grass, lime leaves, star anise, tamarind, turmeric, shrimp paste, bay leaf and cardamom to strengthen the flavor,” said chef Feisal. (rr)