Bakpia in Jogja and a Tradition of Giving Oleh-Oleh

Bakpia served on a plate in Jogja
Who doesn’t know bakpia in Jogja? This one word is famous here. Many local tourists who are visiting Jogja like to get this one and bring it home as oleh-oleh. This time you will get to know more about bakpia and oleh-oleh. 
Bakpia is pastry that looks like a moon cake with a filling. Google the word “bakpia”, you will find that this word is a Chinese word. “Bak” means meat and “pia” means meat pastry. People used to make this meat pastry with pork. However, since the majority of the population in Jogja was moslem, pork was replaced with mung bean. Nowadays, mung bean is not the only filling for bakpia in Jogja. You can easily find bakpia with other fillings such as chocolate, green tea, cheese, purple sweet potato, milk, pineapple, and many more.

A stack of Mung bean filled bakpia served on a plate in Jogja
Mung bean filled bakpia.
Bakpia in Jogja is usually sold in a paper box. The size of this snack is pretty small; it’s about a diameter of 4 to 5 cm. These bakpia can easily be found in Pathuk. No wonder there’s a term called bakpia pathuk. Bakpia pathuk  is so popular. You can find many options of bakpia brand in Pathuk. If you visit this area, don’t get surprised to see many local tourists buy many boxes of bakpia.

A package of bakpia in Jogja in a paper box
How long can you eat the whole bakpia in their paper box?

Although I like cheese filled bakpia, mung bean filled bakpia has a space in my heart. Long before we have variations of filling, mung bean filled bakpia was there for me as a part of my childhood. When I was a kid, sometimes my mother would bring home bakpia. She bought this from her colleague who apparently was also a bakpia seller. This bakpia was so delicious! My mind still can recall how tasty it was though years have gone by. Currently, if I eat mung bean filled bakpia and its taste isn’t that good, my mind would always take me back to that old bakpia I had during my childhood and it shouted, “This isn’t as good as that (old) one!”

What’s the relation between bakpia and oleh-oleh? Before giving you an answer, let's pay attention first to the word "oleh-oleh". Oleh-oleh is a preferred gift for families and friends someone gives after returning home. It’s pretty common for Indonesian people to give oleh-oleh. Many of us would be busy shopping for souvenirs when we are traveling somewhere so that when we get a back home, we have oleh-oleh to give either souvenirs or local snacks from the place we just visited. It gives us a headache sometimes to pack on our way home. So many souvenirs, so little space… As a solution, some of us probably will bring an additional empty bag for when it’s time to go home, we have enough space for our oleh-oleh.  It’s not an obligation to give oleh-oleh but this has become a tradition for many of us. 

Three mung bean filled bakpia in Jogja
Mung bean filled bakpia from Pathuk area

Bakpia is oleh-oleh local tourists like to buy when they are visiting Jogja. There are many souvenirs and local snacks here, but this one really has many fans. If you were here I would have suggested you to taste bakpia in Jogja. It will be a cultural experience and a culinary adventure as well. Maybe you even want to buy some as oleh-oleh? Hehehe… If you seek for tasty bakpia, based on my personal experience, I recommend you going for Bakpia Pathok 25, Bakpia Patuk 75, Bakpia Kurnia Sari, and Bakpiaku.

What do you think of bakpia in Jogja? Do you also buy oleh-oleh each time you travel somewhere? Feel free to share your comment in the comment section below.

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