Actually, speaking of pempek, there are various kinds of pempek available. But for the regular pempek, it is popular as South Sumatera region’s food specialty. It is Palembang to be more specific if it is talking about a regular pempek food. In general, according to the Wikipedia in this link, Pempek, where the pronunciation maybe varies one among the other such as “mpek-mpek” or “empek-empek” is a savoury Indonesian fishcake delicacy, made of fish and tapioca or sago, from Palembang, South Sumatera. The regular appearance exist in the following image :
Still by the information from the Wikipedia, when serving Pempek, normally it is available with rich sweet and sour sauce called kuah cuka or kuah cuko, vinegar sauce, or just “cuko”. At some point, as the variation of Pempek, sometimes local people also eat the dish with yellow noodles and diced up cucumber to balance out the vinegar’s sourness as exist in the following image :
The delicious taste in an original Palembang Pempek dish can make people craving for more to those who try it. It because of the savory of kuah cuko or cuka which is so appetizing. Therefore, although this food is a Palembang specialty cuisine, it also popular in Indonesian society not only in Palembang but also around other region in Indonesia.
As it exist in the previous information, pempek is fish and tapioca or sago based dishes with a delicious and savory taste. Obviously in general, the main ingredients are fish and tapioca or sago. So, processing tapioca or sago into a dough is the important factor for the base of various shaped of pempek later on. Accompanying the serving of pempek is a brown sauce called cuko. This brown sauce is made from boiled waiter, with the addition of brown sugar, dried shrimp, and mashed cayenne pepper, garlic and salt.
Actually, the variant of the pempek can comes in a different ways. One of the available way comes from the modification of the fishcake dough. In this context, the modification of the fishcake dough can be made into various shapes and forms with additional ingredients. Different variants especially in shape will have a slight different name for the pempek variants. Those variants among others are pempek kapal selam (submarine pempek), pempek adaan, pempek telur kecil (small egg pempek). Another variants availble are pempek keriting (curly pempek), pempek lenjer, pempek tahu (tofu pempek), pempek kulit (skin pempek), pempek tunu, pempek pistel, pempek mode, etc.
Where to Find
Almost every large cities in Indonesia, from a traveling pempek vendors, tent stalls, street vendors, restaurants, event outlets in a certain food-courts inside mall or shopping centers. It is because it has already wide known in Indonesia. So, it is easy to find in Jakarta and other Indonesian cities. The cheaper one is the version available in traveling vendors on carts. Usually ends the pempek with commonly use less fish and more tapioca, resulting in less flavor.
But on certain restaurant where the main specialty of the dishes is Pempek where the price is more expensive the taste will have a lot more flavor. According to Wikipedia also, Pempek is also a popular dish in South Sumatra’s neighboring province capital city Bandar Lampung. So, the establishment of pempek is also exist in Bandar Lampung.
In Jakarta, the notable pempek outlets are Pempek Megaria in Metropole Cinema complex, Central Jakarta. Actually, it is among the oldest pempek establishments in the city. The following is the location of the pempek outlets :
For the famous outlets serving pempek, there are brands such as Pempek Pak Raden and Pempek Bunga Mas. There are also opening branches with that name all over major food courts.
The following is the location of one of the popular pempek restaurant in Palembang, Pempek Raden :
Another outlet of Pempek Raden exist in Jakarta are those in Pasar Minggu market, South Jakarta in the following location :
In Yogyakarta, one of the leading pempek establishments in the city is Pempek Ny. Kamto located near Malioboro street. The location exist as follows :
Still according to Wikipedia, in outside Indonesia, pempek establishments also exist in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. As Palembang is not far from Singapore and Malaysia, to ensure the authenticity some pempek establishments import boiled unfried frozen pempek dumplings in vacuum packages straight from Palembang. These ready to cook pempek dumplings are also popular as a selling item in Palembang as oleh-oleh foodstuff gifts or souvenirs for visitors from other Indonesian cities.