As one of the festivities of Surabaya’s 726 years of existence, the city invited visitors and organizations from far and wide to once again celebrate the traditional Rujak Uleg Festival. The festival which celebrates the famous delicacy from East Java took place on Sunday the 17th of March on Kempang Jepun Street. Citizens of Surabaya, Indonesia’s 2nd largest city, and invited guests from all over the world came together to witness different groups trying their best at making the traditional fruit and vegetable salad dish. The mayor of Surabaya, Mrs. Tri Rismaharaini, who is publicly better known as “Bu Risma”, opened the event with a speech and welcomed the visitors and participants. In two competitions the participants tried to win the prices for the best self-made Rujak and for the best costume. The festival is a must for any visitor to Surabaya during this time of the year. The variety of colors and the creativity seen in the participants’ costumes is mind-blowing.
Different styles of Rujak can be found all over Indonesia and Surabaya is famous for its traditional Rujak Uleg. It is well-known in the region of East Java, but has a typical taste in Surabaya. The salad-like dish is based on special shrimp-paste. The better the paste the better the salad tastes. The dressing is made out of shrimp-paste, beans, chili and garlic. Everything needs to be grinded by using mortar and pestle (nguleg). The finished sauce is then mixed with the other ingredients: cucumber, bean sprout, water, spinach, rice cake (lontong), tofu, soy bean cake (tempe) and pineapple. Slices of cingur complete the dish and give it its other common name: Rujak Cingur. Cingur means the upper part of a cow’s or buffalo’s lip and nose area.
For the event groups of six people each are preparing six Rujak Uleg. Each group has its own table and the people around are cheering for them. The freshly made food is then rated by a jury.
For Wisma Jerman it was already the 5th time to participate in this unique event. We feel very thankful that we got invited and could participate even though we weren’t part of the competition. Since most of us made Rujak Uleg for the first time that didn’t make much of a difference We had a lot of fun wearing traditional Bavarian clothing Dirndl and leather trousers and representing Germany at the Rujak Uleg Festival 2019. We are looking forward to join the festival again in 2020.