Sayur besan: Betawi Culinary That Is Rarely Found Today

Many people rarely know about Betawi cuisine other than kerak telor, nasi uduk, dodol and bir pletok. In fact, there are so many types of Betawi culinary that are rarely known and even rarely or few sell them. Like Sayur besan culinary. Sayur besan are unique in the ingredients used. In addition, the Betawi cuisine is also full of meaning.

Sayur besan is a coconut milk soup filled with terubuk. The emergence of Sayur besan cannot be separated from the existence of sugarcane plantations which are commonly found in Batavia and Tangerang in the 17th century. As the name implies, this Betawi dish is indeed served for besan (parents of the son/ daughter in law). Sayur besan are cooked and served by the female family when the male family comes to the house after the wedding.

Not only besan and family can enjoy this kind of dish, but it also distributed to the guests present. In the past, making Sayur besan was a tradition of the Betawi Pinggir people who lived in the South Jakarta area to Parung. While the people of Central Betawi are more familiar with a dish called laksa bridal. Although the names are almost the same, the laksa bridal and Sayur besan are very different.

One uniqueness that exists in the Sayur besan dish, namely the use of terubuk. Terubuk or its Latin name Saccharum edule, is a type of vegetable that is similar to sugar cane. When peeled, there is a yellow tail inside, like a bunch of fish eggs. Therefore terubuk also called fish egg sugar cane. Well, the 'egg' is the last thing to put in the Sayur besan stew pot.

Terubuk is also often referred to sugarcane flower which comes from dwarf sugarcane trees. Terubuk usually measuring between 15-20 millimeters in diameter. Before peeled, terubuk shaped like lemongrass.

As mentioned above, Sayur besan is a dish served by the family of the woman or the bride when the family of the man comes to the house after the wedding. Sayur besan are also closely related to Eid. Because usually before or after Eid, many people get married, so after the wedding, Sayur besan are always served. Sayur besan served with eggs on the top. The topmost grains are fused into a cob which symbolizes two families united in familial ties through marriage.

Sayur besan are usually eaten with side dishes, but these side dishes are not mandatory on the menu. The side dish consists of fried egg with fried shrimp sauce, rolled omelet or stir-fried papaya leaves with anchovies.

Then there is also fried tilapia fish and chili sauce. But unfortunately, Besan vegetables are now starting to become scarce. Considering that it is a terubuk, one of the ingredients for making besan vegetables is difficult to obtain. Even if it is found, the price offered is quite expensive. Quoting from the Food Literacy, the maximum price per bundle can reach Rp. 35,000. Usually in a bunch, containing 8 to 10 stems terubuk. However, because of that, Sayur beesan became a special dish.


“Manusia tanpa cita-cita adalah mati. Cita-cita tanpa kerja adalah mimpi. Idaman yang menjadi andalan adalah kebahagiaan.”
- Ali Sadikin -
Gubernur DKI Jakarta 1966 - 1977
“Emang rejeki kagak kemane, tapi kalo lo gak kemane-mane mana mau dapet rejeki.”
- H. Benyamin Sueb -
Seniman Betawi