Balinese ‘Es Campur’
There is no sign in front of the kiosk selling this Balinese es campur at Badung traditional market in Denpasar. However, although the kiosk has no name, it is popular among local people as es campur peken Badung.
While es campur translates as mixed ice, it is in fact a mixture of sweet liquid with any combination of fruit, jellies, fermented cassava and other tempting treats served over ice. There are innumerable varieties across the archipelago.
Located on the third floor of the market, this simple kiosk only provides two wooden tables each with a long bench, just the same as when it opened 30 years ago.
Many of today’s customers first came there when they were children, as young as five years old, and now they bring their own children. They don’t mind jostling with other customers amid the cramped space on the benches in the small kiosk.
Made Reni, who runs the stall, sees they don’t have to wait more than 5 to 10 minutes to get a glass of her refreshing es campur.
Five years ago, it was Reni’s husband, Komang Alit, who opened the stall each day and served its customers, but now she has to struggle to do it all by herself.
“My husband has been suffering from an unknown disease for many years. He can’t get out of his bed,” she said, believing that the disease was related to the supernatural and was caused by someone who disliked him.
Well, you may or may not believe that, but one thing you have to believe is the sweet-savory taste of this drink.
Made from simple ingredients, a glass of es campur is only Rp 4,000 (40 US cents) and here it consists of daluman (a green jelly made from daluman leaves), tape (fermented cassava), shredded coconut, red sugar syrup, coconut milk and crushed ice.
Reni’s es campur has a combination taste of sour tape with sweet syrup and savory coconut milk made from grilled coconut, a recipe that makes customers keep coming back.
If you don’t like sweets, or are avoiding high cholesterol food, you can simply order the daluman ice.
Reni’s agile hands are used to serving dozens of customers at once. She can hold three glasses in one hand.
Keeping her eyes focused on the ingredients, she only turns around when customers are ready to pay after enjoying their delicious es campur.
- Photos by Anton Muhajir