As I grew up in Jakarta I rarely visit my parents’ hometown.
My father’s hometown is Ambarita, Samosir Island, in the middle of the famous lake Toba, North Sumatra. The last time I went there was in 2007. My mom’s is Gunung Megang or “dusun“, about four hours drive from Palembang, the capital city of South Sumatra. And guess when I last visited her hometown? 1997!
Most of my mom’s family however, live in Palembang, and regardless which part of South Sumatra you are from, people always call you “Palembang people” or ” wong kito galo” 😀
Since it’s been long enuff, I decided to “mudik” (our term of visiting one’s hometown) to Palembang, well most every relatives are there obviously, only one or two still live in dusun. The good thing is that one of my cousin’s daughter was getting married – so I can still mudik and meet my relatives while attending the wedding.
Being able to see the big family members and spend quality time with them is such a blessed especially when we haven’t met for years! And the thing about being with your big sisters and brothers and the in-laws is that they want to make sure that you are happy (read: well-fed *grinning*)! Yep, I gained some kgs just spending 4 days on my mudik trip *sighz* They always ask “are you hungry?” – “what do you want to eat?” – “shall we eat grilled pempek?” – “do you want to try that other pempek place?” and so on – every hour! Guess that’s how they love me, hahaha 😀
Btw, pempek is a must try-famous-signature Palembang snack, made from fish and served with cuko (spicy and sour soup) – tastes really good! And you can chose too, since there are many “variants” of pempek: telur/kapal selam (egg), lenjer, kulit, kerupuk, adaan, lenggang, panggang – you can have it fried or grilled! Well, you just have to try them all and decide which one is your fave!
Another fave dish from Palembang is pindang – sweet and sour soup that can be cooked with fish, chicken or shrimp!
Other thing that you shouldn’t miss when in Palembang is to buy songket! Traditional Palembang kain (fabric) comes in many bright colors and price 😀 – well I was lucky that my sister bought me one that costed her quite some money (the benefit of being the youngest in the big family!). But, hey, they’re very beautiful!
It was indeed a very short visit for mudik and everyone complained saying that I should’ve stayed longer! The “tradition” in our family is that if you mudik, you have to spend at least one night in each of your relative’s house. Quite overwhelming, eh? 😀