Botram Culture: The Sundanese Version of Potluck Party

Aug 5, 2017 · 2 min read

In the diverse (sometimes confusing) world of Indonesian culture, food holds an important role. It does not function only as a stomach pleaser, moreover food and its related customs represent certain identity of the society itself.

For instance, Botram. Literally means as ‘eating together’, Botram is a traditional feast party that practiced by Sundanese people from West Java.

The rules are simple. No fancy dining tableware, no complicated etiquette, or pretentious dishes. Just grab your favorites by hands and stuff it into those hungry mouth. Yes, you heard it right. As a wise men said, food always tastes better when hands are involved.

Botram’s menu plan consists of traditional Sundanese cuisines. To start, rice is a staple dish that must include in Botram. The rice was cooked with fragrant herbs and called it as Nasi Liwet. For side dish, there are ayam goreng kuning (tumeric fried chicken), deep fried fish, fried tofu, tempeh, topped it with lalap (fresh assorted vegetables) and the gracious sambal. The foods are changing periodically to keep it interesting with additional dishes such as petai (stinky beans) or jengkol stew.

Usually guests come by and bringing their home-cooked meals for sharing. Then all dishes are stacked on the pile of banana leaves that spread on the floor, merging as plates. No need to do after washing chores, so practically Botram can be held at everywhere in many occasions.

Since Botram is all about sharing happy moments together, Botram never ends too quick. Expect everybody to eat slower than usual because they don’t want to miss any juicy gossips around. Each guests share their own stories, and as the turn rotates everybody will always listen to them excitedly.

To experience Botram, tourists can visit local Sundanese restaurant which scattered everywhere in every corner of Jakarta street. If there are still more free time, take a short trip to Bandung for better sensation since this is the place where Botram culture starts. After all it can’t get any better than having Botram under the cool breeze of air and surrounded with lush forests scenery.

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