Written by @joehairie (Photos by curiostraveller.com team members unless stated otherwise)
“Jamu asal Indonesia tidak ada tandingannya di dunia, hanya saja rasa kepemilikan dan kebangsaan bangsa Indonesia sendiri masih sangat rendah terhadap jamu tradisional.”-Jaya Suprana
There were so many memorable experience when we visited Surabaya, Indonesia. One of those was when we were given the opportunity to sample some of the finest Jamu served at Jamoo, Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya. This particular hotel was our residence in Surabaya for 5 days and 4 nights. It was during lunch at Jamoo that we saw one lady wearing Indonesian Kebaya and carrying a basket (gendongan) with 4 bottles inside it. We were later told that she is the famous ‘Ibu Jamu Gendong‘. Her name is Ibu Lilik Mudjiati. Together with her colleague (Ibu Yayuk), they take turns in making and serving Jamu to patrons opting to have Buffet Lunch at Jamoo. While we do have another great coverage for Jamoo, we felt it is appropriate to highlight this particular experience, drinking that Jamu, for the first time ever! It’s indeed great herbal drink, healing and refreshing!
Jamu by Jamoo
We actually forgot to ask that important question. Is Jamoo named after Jamu? Perhaps, and if our guess is correct then the servings of that endless Jamu during Buffet Lunch is indeed so coincidence with the name of the restaurant. According to Renny Herwanto, Communications Manager of Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya, there are 4 types of Jamu being served to patrons at Jamoo;
Made from young Tamarind Leaves or Tamarind itself, this type of Jamu is mainly aims to refresh the body and great to drink after some heavy seafood dish in order to avoid food poisining from the seafood. It is also ably to increase appetite.
Beras Kencur (White)
Made from Rice Water and Kencur (Zedoary/Kaempferia galanga), is use for slimming purpose and said to ably reduce fatigue and stomachache.
Kunyit Asam (Darker Yellow)
This herbal drink is made from Kunyit (Turmeric) and Tamarind. There’s a little bit of lime water infused with the other ingredients. It helps with menstruation, reducing body heat, cooling down so to say.
Segar Bugar (Almost Red color)
The ingredients are red Tamarind, Cumin, Ginger and Honey. This particular Jamu is great for vitality, refreshing the body and relaxing the muscles.
These two Ibu Jamu from Pagesangan and Wonokromo-Surabaya (Ibu Lilik and Ibu Yayuk) were specially selected by Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya. Both of them produce the Jamu in the Kitchen of the hotel which thus eliminating any doubts about hygiene and quality. Apart from being served at Jamoo, Jamu is served to in-house guests when they check-in.
Before anyone get confuse, let us explain the difference between Jamu and Jamoo. Jamu is the herbal drink while Jamoo is Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya all-day dining café and restaurant. Here, guests may enjoy Asian and Continental dishes in the restaurant’s sleekly-designed dining room or out on the outdoor terrace. The buffets include a variety of antipasti, sushi, a hot pot as well as a noodles section, and a Chinese wok station. There is an extensive array of dessert specialties such as Ice Cream Teppanyaki, a flowing chocolate fountain and a range of traditional Jamu flavours. We sampled the Jamu by Ibu Lilik during buffet lunch and buffet is priced at IDR 300.080 nett.
Level 1 – Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya
6am – 10pm
We never had Jamu before. The experience at Jamoo, Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya was the first. Jamu is not a rare thing for us. Back in our hometown, Kota Kinabalu, there are some Indonesian women wandering the streets selling Jamu at an incredible cheap price. We never dare sampling it. Why? Some people told us that Jamu is one bitter drink and seeing that Ayam Kampung Egg being cracked; mixed into Jamu made us had that uneasiness feeling. That was our first impression and many strange thoughts were in our mind until Ibu Lilik showed up in front of us at Jamoo, Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya.
We were a bit skeptical when Renny Herwanto briefed us about the Jamu service, not that we don’t believe her but those ‘weird’ and ‘strange’ thoughts about bitter taste were playing in our head. We had no time to say no as Ibu Lilik instantly poured some of that Jamu into the cup already! @Lan is one adventurous person, he has that ‘bravery’ and I observed his reaction when he drank that first cup of Jamu. He told me it was all right and I braved myself to taste it. Sinom and Kunyit Asam were amazingly delicious! Luckily we did not see any Chicken Eggs! We both don’t prefer consuming raw Chicken Eggs…
Ibu Lilik came for more rounds and we tasted more and more. We somehow begin to like this Jamu. We never thought that such traditional herbal drink is actually great in taste. Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya through its dedicated team (which includes Ibu Lilik and Ibu Yayuk) managed to elevate Jamu to such a classier herbal drink that is acceptable by international guests. Yes, we admit that previously we had negative perception about Jamu especially in terms of taste but we changed our mind already! Thanks to Jamu at Jamoo, we now appreciate Jamu more.
We’re still craving to have more Jamu by Jamoo and we intend to visit Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya in the near future. That great experience makes us having an open mind to bravely consume Jamu at different places. However, we are pretty sure that the Jamu at Jamoo, Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya is still the best one. We hope that Jamoo will still be serving Jamu when we come ‘home’ soon, yes, we regard Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya as our home in Surabaya as we felt comfortable throughout the entire duration of our stay.
Jamu in general
In general, Jamu is regard as traditional medicine in Indonesia. Perhaps it is best to regard Jamu as Herbal Medicine which are made from natural materials such as roots, bark, flowers, seeds, leaves and fruits. Jamu also incorporates ingredients sourced from animals, for example Ayam Kampung (Indigenous Chicken) Eggs, Milk, Honey and many more. Though available all over Indonesia, Jamu is more popular in Jawa/Java. In this modern days, Jamu is seen being sold at Stalls/Warung.
However, Mbok Jamu, wearing the traditional kain kebaya, still exists. Those women carries bamboo basket filled with bottles of Jamu on the back, travelling all over in town/cities/villages, offering the traditional herbal medicine to people around. The taste is usually bitter but sweetened with honey or palm sugar and chicken eggs are mostly one of the ingredients!
The History of Jamu
Citing references from Wikipedia, Jamu is said to be originated in the Mataram Kingdom era, some 1300 years ago. The stone mortar and pestle with long cylindrical stone mortar — the type commonly used in today’s traditional Jamu making, was discovered in Liyangan archaeological site on the slope of Mount Sundoro, Central Java. The site and relics are dated from Medang Mataram kingdom era circa 8th to 10th century, which suggest that the herbal medicine tradition of Jamu already took its roots by then.
The Madhawapura inscription from Majapahit period mentioned a specific profession of herbs mixer and combiner, called Acaraki. The medicine book from Mataram dated from circa 1700 contains 3,000 entries of Jamu recipes, while Javanese classical literature Serat Centhini (1814) describes some Jamu herbal concoction recipes. Generally, the different Jamu prescriptions are not written down but handed down between the generations. Simply put, it’s a tradition in the family that practice it.
Jamu Ingredients Health Benefits
Turmeric is said to be one of the most powerful healing herbs. Apart from being a natural liver detoxifier and kidney cleanser, it also speeds up metabolism, helps in weight loss, is anti-inflammatory, heals damaged skin, busts infections and so much more. Galangal and ginger are anti-inflammatory, as both contain a host of anti-oxidants to minimise the damage caused by free radicals and other toxins. Galangal and ginger both calm down the stomach, curb indigestion and acidity, and replenish the body’s stores of iron, sodium, vitamins A and C, flavonoids and phytonutrients.
According to the medicalnewstoday.com, Ginger has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like ginger decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy and overall lower weight.
Tamarind is a rich source of dietary fibre, which binds to toxins, bile salts and excessive cholesterol, flushing them out of the body safely and cleanly. It also contains hefty doses of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), that inhibits an enzyme that helps the body hold on to fat. Other scientifically verified health benefits include the ability to reduce inflammation, heal the digestive system, step up blood circulation, maintain nerve function and soothe a whole range of skin issues. Tamarind is also rich in many vital nutrients, including vitamins A, B and C, and iron.
Next time you are in Surabaya, visit Jamoo, be amazed with their elevated Jamu served by Ibu Lilik and Ibu Yayuk. It’s free anyway (if you opt for the buffet lunch)!
Jamoo Shangri-La Surabaya JL. May. Jend. Sungkono 120 Surabaya, 60256 Indonesia Phone (62 31) 6003 8888 Fax (62 31) 566 1570 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website Click HERE Instagram Click HERE Facebook Click HERE
Though the Jamu tasting session at Jamoo was by invitation from Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya, we expressed our own opinion freely without being influenced by anyone.
About Shangri-La Surabaya
(Reference: Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya website)
As Surabaya wakes to a new day, you gear up for a new adventure from the charming and enchanting Shangri-La Hotel, Surabaya. As the only true luxury hotel in Surabaya, the warm Indonesian hospitality embraces you as soon as you enter the hotel. The lush greenery and excellent weather promise exciting rounds on the sprawling golf courses.
You waste no time and get down to it. The game is exhilarating – winning always is. It’s now time for a relaxing massage to soothe those tired muscles. At the spa, the scents of traditional Indonesian oils suffuse your senses, lulling all aches away.
Back in your room at the exclusive Horizon Club floor, the anticipation of exploring the city below tugs at you. This is the confluence of history, where the Indonesian nationalist movement began. Today, it is an urbane cosmopolitan city. It has a Chinatown, swanky malls, and even the first Indonesian mosque built in Chinese-style architecture. You can’t cover everything in one day. But there’s no need to hurry, for time is on your side.
Night falls. With seven restaurants and bars, the choices at your disposal pose a challenge. Antipasti, hotpot and noodles, and Teppanyaki ice-cream tempt you at Jamoo restaurant. Your feet take you towards Shang Palace. Soon, fine Chinese cuisine delights your palate. Under the canopy of a darkened sky, you slip between the luxurious sheets of your bed. This is bliss, right here, at Shangri-La Hotel, Surabaya.
About Shangri-La Group
(Reference: Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya website)
The Shangri-La story began in 1971 with their first deluxe hotel in Singapore. Inspired by the legendary land featured in James Hilton’s 1933 novel, Lost Horizon, the name Shangri-La encapsulates the serenity and service for which our hotels and resorts are renowned worldwide. Today, Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is Asia Pacific’s leading luxury hotel group. Shangri-La group are also regarded as one of the world’s finest hotel ownership and management companies. Owning and/or managing over 95 hotels and resorts throughout Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East and Europe, the Shangri-La group has a room inventory of over 40,000. In addition, new hotels are under development in mainland China, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka.