Bogor Laksa is a name of tradisional cuisine in this rain city. When it was found is not known but it should have been a long time ago.
It is made from bean sprout combined with tofu, oncom, basil leaves (or called as Kemangi in Bogor), white vermicelli and with a crock of coconut oil concoction sauce.
It is served with hard boiled egg and also pieces of rice cake in a bowl.
As its friend on a dinner table, usually, a glass of hot tea or coconut ice.
In the past, the food was cooked with firewood stoves that left a smell of smoke on the dishes. The aroma gave an additional uniqueness of Laksa Bogor.
Laksa, is a family name of a dish created by Chinese diaspora in Malay. Therefore it is no wonder that this food can be found South East Asia where usually Malay ethnics descendant live.
The cuisine spreads over Thai, Singapore , Malaysia and of course Indonesia. You will not find exactly the same Laksa in these countries.
Each type of Laksa has its own characteristics and uniqueness. In Thai, Laksa is combined with prawn. Malay’s Laksa has chicken slices in its recipe.
Even the Indonesian Laksa differs one with another. There are several area where Laksa can be found in their food culture. Palembang, Jakarta and Bogor are among of these society that has laksa in their food directory.
Which one is better than others? It is up to you to judge. Each of them has its own fans and lovers.
Bogor Laksa nowadays
You may have tasted laksa in your hotel as it is likely included in the menu for lunch or dinner. However, it may not taste differently from the traditional or original taste of the cuisine of the past.
The taste of laksa in the hotel tends to imitate more to Malay’s or Singaporean.
In Bogor itself , it becomes more and more difficult to find the original Bogor Laksa. It has been marginalized by more modern type of foods for the last decades.
The complication of the making seems to have beaten the uniqueness in attracting people.
Luckily, there are still few people who decides to stand on their traditional way by keep selling this traditional food closest to its original form.
At least, there are three places where Bogor Laksa can still be found. One in Sumber Karya Indah or Tas Tajur tourist resort, another one is in Cihideung and the last one is in Gang Aut (Aut Street) , Suryakencana Street.
The ugly side for tourists who are interested in finding this traditional laksa is the inconvenience.
It needs your sense of adventure before you can taste the original Bogor Laksa. You will not find inconvenience that most of tourists require.
The nearest spot to sell the cuisine is in Aut Street. The small kiosk stands on the pavement of the street.
There are only few plastic chairs and two or three long wood tables occupying most of the food stall. The rest is used as a kitchen where some cooking equipments placed.
Bogor Laksa is served in a bowl mixed with pieces of rice cake. Each bowl will cost only Rp. 10,000.- or less than a dollar. A glass of hot tea water will accompany the bowl.
It is cheap, very cheap indeed. If it’s compared to a price of a piece of J. Co Doughnut or a cup of cappuccino in Starbucks, it is less expensive. Compared to the difficulties to cook it, you may feel it should be worth more.
Although it’s so cheap, the taste is not. It is delicious ! Absolutely tasteful. The aroma, the taste, the look, all are similar to what Bogor Laksa should have been.
It should be worth more than what we pay. For me, it is even more delicious than the laksa served in modern hotels . I tasted several times laksa during my travelling but none of them were close to what I had in this place.
Well, it becomes rare and will be rarer in coming years. Someday it may only stay in memory of people. It is a reality that can not be avoided.
The complicated ways of making , a small profit it produce, its modest, closest to primitive appearance are some of Bogor Laksa’s weak point in this modern world.
So, perhaps while it still exists, you should try to taste it before it disappears forever from Bogor.
Will you ?