One of the greatest kingdoms in Indonesian history, the Buddhist Empire of Sriwijaya prospered along the banks of Musi River in South Sumatra over a thousand years ago. Located on the southern-most rim of the South China Sea, close to the one of the worlds busiest shipping lanes linking the Far East with Europe, the Regions historical background is rich and colorfull. Sriwijaya kingdom practiced a bustling and productive trade with ancient China during its golden years.
Stretching from the foothills of the mighty Bukit Barisan mountain range, this province is relatively flat but very fertile, with numerous rivers cutting across the landscape and meandering their ways to the sea. Coffee and tea plantations are scattered across the province, but South Sumatras enormous wealth comes from oil, natural gas, coal, tin and quartz reserves.
Getting There : Many domestic Airlines serve to Palembang. Garuda Indonesia airlines serves flight from Osaka, Tokyo, Jeddah, Riyadh, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Singapore and Perth as well as major cities in Indonesia to Palembang. Air Conditioned busses from Java and Sumatra are also available.
In 672, the Chinese scholar, I Tsing, recorded that a thousand monks and scholars could be seen translating and studying Sanskrit in Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra. This shows that more than a thousand years ago, Palembang under the reign of Sriwijaya kingdom was prosperous and rich in culture. Many relics and remnants of this mighty kingdom can still be found in this area.
Palembang’s famous fruits are pineapple and duku (Lansium domisticum). The taste of Palembang pineapple is fresh and rather tangy, while duku tastes sweet and sometimes bland. Palembang also offers unique, tasty dish, mostly made of fish. To name a few:
One of the most famous dishes from Palembang, it can be found throughout Indonesia and has become a favorite. The best place to taste it is in Palembang, of course. Made of ground fish, flour, and other spices, pempek is formed into several shapes, steamed then fried. It is served with a sour, rather spicy black sauce and sometimes sliced cucumber.
Variants of pempek: Pempek Lenjer, Kapal Selam (literally means submarine, with chicken egg filling), Pempek Kulit (fish skin), Pempek Adaan and Pempek Lenggang (mixed Lenjer with egg), Pempek Keriting, Pempek Panggang (baked).
Stores to visit:
Pempek Dempo at Jl. Dempo Dalam
Pempek Noni at Jl. Kolonel Haji Burlian
Pempek Pak Raden
One of the famous snacks from Palembang, this kerupuk or chips are made from mixed flour with certain fish. Usually they are made from tenggiri fish (also known as Spanish Mackerel), Gabus (also known as Snakehead Fish) and Belida (Clown knife fish).
Stores to visit:
Kerupuk 601 and Taxi 333 at Jl. Dempo Luar
Made from eggs mixed with certain spices and sometimes meat, and then coated with flour dough mixture then fried. Martabak Har is usually served with delicious sauce made from potatoes, water and spices. Best place to have this martabak is Martabak Haji Abdul Rosak at Jl. Jendral Sudirman
Made from Durian and sugar, very sweet and chewy.
Local soup made from fish ball, shrimp paste/essen, rice noodle and mushroom, juicy tuber. Best served hot.
Salted, cured fish.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
Palembang people are known for their frankness and gregarious manner. They can create works of art, beautiful and exquisite with their patience and strength.
Songket, made of silk combined with gold thread, will fascinate traditional cloth collectors because of its rich designs and elegance. It’s also a great keepsake to buy, although the price of this first grade hand-woven songket might be quite expensive.
Palembang is also famous for its wood carving motifs, influenced by Chinese and Buddhist designs. The carvings are dominated by decorations in the form of jasmine flower and lotus seen in the furniture and lacquers.
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