Unique flavours are combined into delicious food creations that can be found across the island, and as a result, oleh-oleh flavours can vary from region to region. Here are some types of oleh-oleh that can be found across Java, and the regions that they originate from.
The sweet variety
One of the many sweet oleh-oleh types is dodol, and the most famous kind comes from Garut. Made from rice powder mixed with coconut milk and jaggery (brown sugar made from palm tree), dodol is sweet and sticky. Another famous sweet oleh-oleh is bakpia from Jogja, a round sweet roll that usually is stuffed with beans, cheese, durian, or chocolate.
If you want to try another sweet oleh-oleh variation, try Wingko Babat from Semarang. It’s comprises of dried pancake made from coconut and glutinous rice and usually has flavours like chocolate, durian, or just coconut. Also, if you like cassava, you may find getuk goreng (fried getuk) from Sokaraja, made from cassava and grated coconut.
The salty variety
Salty oleh-oleh actually isn’t traditionally Javanese, but you can find keripik tempe (tempeh crackers) in Malang. It’s made from thinly-sliced tempeh that is deep-fried to make it crunchy. Another salty snack is keripik singkong (cassava crackers), made from thinly-sliced cassava that is also deep-fried. The salty cracker widely known as rempeyek is a deep-fried Javanese cracker made from many ingredients that are mixed together – rice powder, salt, garlic, and sometimes coconut milk – and filled with peanut, beans, anchovey, or small prawns.
The other flavour combinations
There are so many rich-tasting Javanese oleh-oleh. Surabi combines sweet and sour flavours in a traditional pancake made from rice powder mixed with coconut milk. Some have toppings like shredded coconut, peanut and raisin. To make them sweet, it is occasionally served with coconut sugar syrup.
Another well-known oleh oleh that combines unique flavours is lumpia from Semarang. It’s similar to spring rolls, but is crunchier and it’s usually filled with vegetables mixed with chicken or prawn. If you want to try something else, onde-onde, a sour-salty sesame ball that is filled with mung beans, is a great choice.
All these amazing examples of Javanese oleh-oleh show that if someone wants to try different types of oleh-oleh, Java might be the best place to start.