Destinations in Indonesia
Jepa and Bau tuing-tuing: the true Mandar Culinary taste of West Sulawesi
Travelling along the coast of West Sulawesi, one will be presented with beautiful natural seascapes and rows of Mandar’s ethnic signature of Sandeq boats. Aside from the natural spectacle and the seafaring cultural attraction, the young province of West Sulawesi also offers culinary delights in Mandar’s distinct cuisine: the Jepa and the Bau Tuing tuing. If you are ready to try this special taste, you can find these special treats at the coastal village of Sombu, in the Labuan area about 45 minutes’ drive from downtown Majene.
Jepa is a traditional bread of the Mandars ethnic group, made from a mix of Cassava and coconut and baked using traditional methods. This traditional Mandar bread has a plain taste and acts as a complementary dish to the main food, which is the Bau Tuing tuing and/or chopped squids.
Bau tuing tuing is the local name for the smoked spotted flying fish (Cypselurus spp) that are found abundantly in the waters of Majene Bay. The savory taste of the Bau tuing-tuing and the spicy fresh chilly condiment make a perfect match with the Jepa bread. Aside from the Bau tuing tuing, the Jepa bread may also be served with chopped squids which are cooked with a thin sauce. Uniquely, the Bau tuing tuing is cooked without any ingredients, thus the taste is pure and natural.
Preparing the Bau tuing tuing, the freshly caught fish are first gutted and cleaned and then placed on coconut leaves. The lines of spotted flying fish are then spread out over a traditional stove stoked with firewood. The smoking process does not take too long, once the fish scale has hardened and turned yellowish, the fish is ready to be served. Keep in mind that one must peel off the skin and scales of the Bau tuing tuing before eating.
Much of the flying fish roe is today exported to Japan, known in Japan as Tobiko, where it is a prized delicacy served as sushi.