Fermented foods are popular among the Sundanese of West Java, where much of the lush terrain is mountainous and many live at higher altitudes. Fermentation requires a specific temperature range to work properly, and so traditionally it was best done by those in cooler climes. Colenak is a combination of ‘dicocol’ (to dip in sauce) and enak (delicious). No false advertising here! Fermented cassava – called peuyeum in Sundanese – is grilled and served with a thick, sinfully sweet concoction of palm sugar and shredded coconut. The texture of margarine yellow ripe peuyeum is sumptuously smooth with a tantalizing slightly sour spike.
On a cold Bandung night after a heavy monsoonal downpour, there’s nothing better than washing down colenak with a steaming cup of bandrek — a traditional Sundanese beverage of ginger, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, chilli and sugar. It leaves warm embers lingering on your tongue long after the last sip!
Where to try it: Colenak Murdi Putra, Jalan Ahmad Yani No. 733, Cicaheum, Bandung.