Semanggi or sometimes being called as pecel semanggi, is one of Surabaya traditional culinary. This food is rare to be found, and tends very difficult to find. The problem is about the limitedness of the semanggi or clover leaves as the main ingredient.
The seller who sell Semanggi is commonly middle-aged ladies who walk around the menu by lifting up the basket while making some particular noise like “Semanggiiiiiii” in order to let the people know their existence.
The ingredient in pecel semanggi is, of course, Semanggi leave (Marsilea crenata) or boiled clover leaves, there is also boiled bean sprouts. Those leaves are completed by the seasoning sauce that made of boiled sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) mix with palm sugar, salt, shrimp paste, little bit peanut and chili. Mix all the ingredients until it form of sauce.
This pecel served without rice, only clover and bean sprouts vegetables which sprinkled the seasoning sauce and served in banana leaf Pincuk, it is kind of banana leaf that folded and used as kind of plate. There is no spoon or fork to eat this food but krupuk. We can eat this pecel semanggi using particular cracker called kerupuk puli. This cracker is made of rice, some Javanese people call this cracker as kerupuk gendar. This cracker is large enough, and we can just chunk the cracker to be the spoon and eat together with the dishes.
The vendors are mostly from Benowo area, west of Surabaya. Because of the difficulty of the raw materials of clover leaf, the seller is selling uncertainly. Sometimes once a week, sometimes every two weeks. The clover leaf that used is not a wild clover, which is commonly grows in rivers and rice fields, but it purchased from a person who cultivates this clover.
If we lucky, we can find this food in some restaurants or stalls, but the originallity is coming from those ladies who carry away their menu in the middle of modernity vendor that walking around the city. We should be so proud to them anyway.
The price is similar between those walking ladies, which is cost around Rp. 3,500 per pincuk. But if we buy semanggi in restaurant or stalls in will cost Rp. 8,500 – Rp. 10,000 per pincuk. Convenient takes more price.
The ladies who carry the basket and sell semanggi have particular outfit that signify the semanggi seller. They always wear batik cloth and kebaya, a traditional Javanese cloth, complete with scarf that wrapped over their head in such a way to be a base on the basket when it lifted up.
One hand is holding the merchandise on the head, while the other hand is carrying a basket containing banana leaves to be a Pincuk and other gear. Sure it takes incredible balance so that the merchandise is not spilled out.
Have you enjoy your Semanggi, today?
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