other than bakso, a meatball soup with clear broth, Malang was known for its fine selection of East Java delicacy: rawon -dark beef stew, cwimie -a type of dry noodle dish with chopped chicken and fried wontons, kripik tempe-basically soybean cake chips and tahu campur -a dish of tofu, beansprouts, beef and shrimp paste (petis) broth. I am seriously drooling now
while planning what and where to eat, we jumped into a heated discussion on where is the best rawon in malang now. you see, it is very important to make sure that you make the best use of the time, meaning not wasting time eating in a place that is not worth your while.
rawon is a simple but complicated dish altogether. it is a beef-based dish; therefore, you have to make sure that the brisket used in it has enough tender meat as well as delicious fatty part. the dark broth comes from keluwek, fruit of a species of tall trees native to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. these fruit need to be specially prepared as it produces poisonous hydrogen cyanide, so it has to be fermented to change its flesh from creamy white to dark brown or black. however, you must be careful to no use rotten keluwek as well. it takes a sharp eye to know which keluwek will help to produce rich, thick broth with yellowish oil surface, as a combination of delicious beef brisket and fresh keluwek.
there are of course hundreds of rawon sellers in Malang, some are more famous than another. some have a very limited opening hours, some others have longer queues as tourists flocking to it to get the best rawon they can find. our conversation today leaving us with at least three candidates, and the discussion is still ongoing. I think if no consensus reached, I will settle with the best rawon I have known: the one made by my mum.