Fasting and “Ngabuburit”

It’s the month of Ramadan and the season for ngabuburit. For my foreign readers, ngabuburit, as defined by Definithing, refers to the search for  amusement  or distraction while waiting for the day’s fast to end.  The best way to do this is to look for cooked food in the neighborhood.


There are lots of tempting fried food but lots of healthier options too like pecel (boiled vegetables with spicy peanut sauce), lemper (rice with chicken wrapped in banana leaves),  and variations of lontong (cooked rice wrapped in banana leaves with different kinds of vegetables such as carrots or potatoes).

The left tray contains lontong with oncom (fermented tempeh) and the right tray contains lopis, sticky rice to be eaten with coconut milk and melted palm sugar.

Another important item to shop for is the drinks.  Most prefer something sweet.  Also, kolak, a drink made of coconut milk, sugar, squash, sweet potato and kolang-kaling (boiled sugar palm fruit; kaong in Filipino), is the first thing that people who fast partake after taking a sip of water.

You may also spend your ngabuburit time to  prepare your own drink of blewah which is translated in English as cantaloupe.  It’s the poorer cousin of cantaloupe in terms of taste and price but it’s good for digestion that’s why it is frequently used as a drink or substitute for kolak during Ramadan.  Although, it smells and looks (on the inside) exactly like cantaloupe, it is a lot less sweet and has an aftertaste.  But it can be transformed into a refreshing drink.  Instead of using sugar, as most people would, I use dates (kurma in Indonesian) and lots of ice.

It is just the 17th day of fasting.  There are more days to go.  Enjoy your ngabuburit.

I would also like to take this chance to greet everyone, “Happy Pancasila Day!”  It is such a beautiful ideology that binds together a nation of diverse ethnic groups and nationalities.

May Indonesia continue to prosper and enjoy peace and harmony always!


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