August 28, 2009

Es Campur - the quintessential Indonesian 'slushy' dessert

"Mixed Ice/Slushy" is the literal, albeit vague, translation of Es Campur. Its toppings (hmm, they're actually buried under the shaved iced... anyway) typically include cubes of smooth black grass jelly (cincau), slices of chewy atap/aren fruit (kolang-kaling), sweet jackfruit, creamy avocado and soft young coconut flesh. Chunks of tape singkong (fermented boiled cassava) offer some funky and unusual element into the mix, but a true Es Campur won't be complete without it.

Ice is shaved on top of these until it grows into a small hill, then it's finished off with drizzles of sweetened condensed milk and neon-pink syrup that gives Es Campur its signature color.

Now, dig in! Start by carefully crushing into the icy mound with a spoon and slowly mix everything. The distinct tastes and textures of the toppings, all washed down with the sweet milky 'slush', are what makes eating Es Campur so enjoyable.

My favorite vendor of this slushy goodness is called Sinar Garut (yes, it has 'franchises' all over Jakarta, but beware of impostors!). A bowl costs 9000 rupiahs, or slightly under US$1, and it comes in a portion generous enough for two to split as a post-meal dessert.

Or, just for one as a meal... *ehm*.