Betawi Traditional  Cuisines; Reflection the Native Culture of Jakarta (Formerly Known as Batavia)


Dhian Tyas Untari1, Ricky Avenzora2 , Dudung Darusman2, Joko Prihatno3, Harnios Arief2

1Indraprasta PGRI University, Indonesia

2Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia

3The Ministry of Environment and Forestry Republic of Indonesia



Abstract. Betawi is a native tribe in Jakarta where once known as Batavia. The modernization concept brings quite significant impact on the change in value system order in Betawi Culture.  Research has the two phases. The first phase was to analyse the potentials and the functions of Betawi Traditional Cuisines; have using secondary data. The second phase was analysed the culinary socio-cultural representation of the community; using the primary data. Geographically, the respondents will be taken from the five administrative areas of the Special Capital District of Jakarta (330 respondents in total). The assessment aspects in the representation test include: knowledge, uniqueness, originality, social value, distribution, sensitivity and seasonality

Keywords: Betawi, Jakarta, Batavia, Society, Culture

JEL Codes:

1.       Introduction

Jakarta is one of many regions in Indonesia with a high complexity of community social interaction, and a discussion on the culture in Jakarta has been a highly strategic issue. Jakarta as the Capital of Indonesia experiences a relatively significant population explosion. This is because Jakarta has its own attractiveness as the urbanization destination. Sinulingga (2005) even says that the number of those migrating to cities used to be only 20 percent of the total population. Now, it has reached 80 percent. The tremendously compact social interaction accelerates the acculturation and cultural assimilation processes between the native with the immigrant community culture.

The modernization concept brings quite significant impact on the value system order changes in Betawi Culture. One of those cultural orders which begin to fade away is Culinary Culture. The multidimensional social problems that everyone seeks to remedy them are very complex and no actor can confront them on their own (Ep Chedli, 2016). Currently, the existence of Betawi Culinary Culture is far from maximum. The main problem encountered in developing Betawi Traditional Cuisines is the lack of dissemination of knowledge on culinary variety, even for Betawi Community themselves (Avenzora et al., 2014). It should be acknowledged though that introducing culinary variety is not merely the responsibility of one certain community or two, rather it is also the responsibility of all stakeholders (Untari, 2016) including entrepreneurs, culture specialists and government with their policies which are expected to support the continuance of Betawi Culture as the native culture in Jakarta. Thereby, the process of re-introducing Betawi Culinary Culture and mapping the psychological frame of all community in the society into conservation perception and continuance of socio-cultural values of Betawi Traditional Cuisines have been something urgent to do.

2.       Method

        The research developed here is the phenomenology one, aiming at understanding certain phenomenon or reality by placing the reality as social construction, truth and emphasizing on reviewing the exploration of human experience. In order to answer the problem this research focuses on, then, its activities are divided into two phases, namely analyzing the potentials and the functions of Betawi Traditional Cuisines; have using secondary data and analyzing as well as testing the culinary socio-cultural representation in the community of the Special Capital District of Jakarta using the primary data. The secondary data come from previous studies on the aspects of Betawi Culture, history of Betawi Culture development, environmental ecology and study of Betawi Culinary variety. Meanwhile, the primary data comes from the questionnaire spread to the respondents. The respondents in this research are classified into three categories, namely Aboriginal Betawi, Betawi Descent and Non-Betawi. Geographically, the respondents will be taken from the five administrative areas of the Special Capital District of Jakarta. Each category of each area has 30 respondents (330 respondents in total). The assessment aspects in the representation test include: knowledge, uniqueness, originality, social value, distribution, sensitivity and seasonality.

        Meanwhile, the instrument used in collecting the primary data is Likert scale 1-7. It is adjusted with the characteristics of Indonesian people who are very delicate in articulating a value (Avenzora, 2008). One Score One Indicator is used in analyzing the questionnaire further. The One Score One Indicator method is an analysis model used by developing the elaboration of sets of questionnaire in the data collection and evaluating the variables which have been determined (Avenzora, 2008). The non-parametric statistics is used in analyzing the results of representation test to figure out the significance of different scores of each respondent category.

3.       Result And Discussion

A.    Lengthy History of Betawi Culture

Betawi Ethnic is the initial inhabitants of Jakarta City and its surrounding where the existence of Betawi ethnic has existed since Prehistoric Era and inhabited the nort part of Java Island since 3,500 – 3,000 BCas stated by Tjandarasasmita (1977) in his monograph "Jakarta Raya dan Sekitarnya Dari Zaman Prasejarah Hingga Kerajaan Pajajaran” (Great Jakarta and Around from Prehistoric until Pajajaran Kingdom Era). There are at least three opinions which explain the origin of Betawi Ethnic. Tjahjono (2003) suggests that Betawi Ethnic comes as a result of interactions between ethnics and tribes brought along by the Netherlands to Batavia, hence Betawi Ethnic is said to be new immigrants to Jakarta. This ethnic group was born from the combination of various groups such as Sundanese, Malay, Javanese, Arab, Balinese, Bugis, Makassarese, Ambonese, and Chinese.

In general, the area of Betawi Culture can be divided into two parts, namely Betawi Tengah (Central Betawi) or Betawi Kota (Betawi Urban) and Betawi Pinggiran (Betawi Rural). The Betawi Tengah or Betawi Kota area include those regions which at the end of the Dutch colonial administration belonging to Gemeente Batavia area, except several places such as Tanjung Priuk and around (Sufianto, Sugino and Andyni: 2015), while those areas outside it, both those belonging to the Special Capital District of Jakarta and the areas around them, are included into the Betawi Pinggiran area which at the old days were called as Betawi Oraby Betawi Tengah people. Based on their areas, the Betawi Pinggiran community are classified into two groups, namely Betawi Pinggiran Utara (North Rural Betawi) and Betawi Pinggiran Timur (East Rural Betawi) communities. The Betawi Pinggiran Utara community are those living in such areas as the northern part of Jakarta, western part of Jakarta and also Tangerang. They are highly influenced by Chinese culture. Meanwhile, the Betawi Pinggiran Timur community are those inhabiting the eastern and southern parts of Jakarta, Bekasi and Bogor (Normah, 2015). They are highly influenced by Sudanese culture and custom. They generally come from low economic class.

Many things have caused the existence of these two Betawi culture areas. These include historic, economic, and sociologic developments, different levels of ethnic elements which formed the origin of local inhabitants, including the level of culture of ethnics of origin influencing their next cultural life such as education. In the Central Betawi area, ever since the nineteenth century, there have been formal educational infrastructures like schools. The same applied to religious education. School were even more widespread during the twentieth century, afther the Dutch Colonial Government implemented the so-called ethical politic, the execution of which was mostly supported by Gemeente (Municipality) of Batavia with its jurisdiction stretching to around 250 square kilometres. (

B.    Betawi Community Culinary Culture

The term culinary in English great dictionary is defined as something related to cooking and kitchen (Untari and Dhona, 2013). Thus, literally culinary means the kitchen people usually use to refer to something related to cooking or culinary profession. However, there is also this term known as gastronomy. Andika (2008) in Sabudi (2011) suggest that the term kuliner is absorbed from a foreign language; hence an ambiguity occurs that it means the art of processing or presenting delicious dishes while it is actually incorrect, since the correct term for such activities is gastronomy. Yet, in relation to market development, such things as terms, labels, and brands are critically important. An easy-to-remember label will be highly determined for a product’s success in penetrating and selling in a market. It is for this reason that culinary is commonly used recently.

The culture of eating is a habit applicable in a society constituting a part of local cultural expression which reflects tradition, economic level, educational background, and information flow the society is following. In Betawi community, there is a culture of eating which relates to their eating habits, namely nyarap (having breakfast), lunch, and grand meal (dinner). The habit of nyarap occurs in the morning. Then, lunch usually lasts from 12.30 to 13.30. However, not everyone can gather for lunch, because some of the family members might be still out there. The dishes served during nyarapare simpler, usually consisting of only a cup of coffee/tea and snacks such as traditional cake or ketan urap. Meanwhile, the dishes for lunch have more complete composition, consisting of steamed rice, side dishes, vegetables, and sometimes equipped with emping/kerupuk, perkedel, pickle/lalapan along with the sambal. What feels more special is that during the grand dining tradition all members of family have gathered at home. The dishes served during this grand meal consist of steamed rice, side dish, vegetables, plus complementary dishes. Sometimes, Aboriginal Betawi society serves their grand meal on a bale or on a mat on the floor since in addition to their fairly large number of family members, serving their meal on a baleor on the floor (lesehan) makes them more close to each other. All members of family ngeriung (gather) around that place. When they have more money the meal is closed with desserts, such as kolak or setup, and for adults sometimes they will conclude it by ngupi (sipping a glass of coffee).

To complement their dishes, the families in Betawi community usually use such utensils as plates, spoons and fork. However, it is quite often that there are those meals that people can eat without having to use these utensils. Thus, it is important to provide a certain container for them to wash their hands or centangan. They also have some myths regarding what they must not do while eating involving: the plate must not be held on the palm of the hand (ditampa) or they will find it hard to earn money from their job; it is also not justified to eat while nyiplak, i.e. chewing the meal in such a way that produces noises from the mouth; no cat-like eating habit is allowed, i.e. sniffing the meal first before eating it or licking the plate after finishing the meal; no sipping the vegetable soup directly from the vegetable container; no eating right at the door step while standing; no eating and talking at the same time; when others are eating it is not allowed to nyantong, i.e. standing and starring at them like they also want to eat it; no celamitan, i.e. asking others to share their meal. Several actions are also deemed less favoured, such as: betahak or belching while eating; releasing gas while eating is not justified; eating until awfully fulfilled that they cannot do anything else or kemelekeren; mindo, i.e. having a meal in between nyarapand lunch, or in between lunch and grand meal, or after having dinner. Those who love to do mindo are called gembul or jaga rasmi (ruler bodyguard) (

Time has changed people’s eating culture, and Modern Betawi community is not an exception from it. The relatively high mobility has made people forget to “nyarap.” It is not even hard today to find people eating while walking, where such habit used to be a taboo in Betawi community. Moreover, the tradition of having dinner which used to be the moment where every member of the family gathered has now been infrequently done. This is because the time one needs to take to go from their workplace to home has gotten longer, therefore when the dinner time comes they are frequently still on their way home. People’s knowledge on healthy lifestyle has also led them to maintain certain diet pattern where rice consumption is reduced because rice is considered as having high level of carbohydrate and replace rice with low-sugar, low-carbohydrate, healthy meals. A change has also occurred to people’s life. In the past, eating served as a means of making members of family more intimate. Today eating has been a way of having fun or relaxing with colleagues and friends. Eating has also served as a means of showing one’s socio-economic level within their community. The changes that the time brings are indeed inevitable. However, it is imperative that these changes be controlled. The control aims at preventing the society’s socio-cultural development, particularly in Betawi society, from separating the meaning of culture conservation farther away from modernization.


C.    Food as Betawi Cultural Identity

Cuisine is one of cultural products. Hence, cuisine holds an important position as Betawi Culture for cuisine has been a reflection of the relationship between Betawi Ethnic and their environment. The long history of Betawi Ethnic development in Jakarta shows how Betawi Community acculturated with those cultures from other regions in the Indonesian archipelago and even with foreign cultures brought along by the colonialists, traders and religious preachers.

In a study, 150 culinary types are inventoried. These cuisines can be classified into several groups based on such characteristics as general classification, social function, historic value, renewed value, modification to the culinary materials and food substance content (Table 1). The classification is necessary to find out the positioning of these cuisines within the food procession order. Food cannot be separated from the society’s social life. Food will always be there in every activity of the society. That is why classifying food based on their social functions is important in the development of culinary culture. In addition to having social functions, food is also a reflection of a series of history of a society in a region.


Table 1. The General Classification of Betawi Culinary



General Classification

Mind Course




Chili sauce




Social Function

Ceremonial; human life cycle


Ceremonial; Religion


Daily Food


Historical Value

Adaptation ; Middle Eastern


Adaptation ; Western


Adaptation ; China


Ecological history of Batavia/Jakarta



Cooking tools


Cooking process


Serve tools


Serve process







Cooking spices





Cuisine is always close to society’s socio-cultural life. The same applies to Betawi community. In Betawi culture, there are several commemorations or ceremonies at each phase of human life cycle, starting from pregnancy, birth, infant, childhood, adolescence, marriage and death.

Pregnancy Phase. During this phase, Betawi Community practices an event they call “nujuh bulanan”, a ceremony related to 7th-month pregnancy period. Nujuh is taken from the total number of days in a week, which amounts to 7 days. The number seven is used as a reference in the nujuh bulanan ceremony. This ceremony aims at obtaining sense of being protected by reciting Al-Quran surah Yusuf and Maryam. The surahs are chosen in the hope that if the baby is a girl she will be as beautiful as Maryam and if the baby is a boy he will be as handsome as Prophet Yusuf. The family conducting this ceremony also wish for His bless and protection so that the baby to be born will be safe and one day would be pious child with noble manners and obedience to his/her parents. The compulsory dish in this event is rujak which consists of 7 different fruits, i.e.: pomegranate, young mango fruit, pomelo, half-ripe papaya, jicama, hog plum, sweet potato, and rujak sauce consisting of palm sugar, tamarind, bird eye chili, salt, shrimp paste, etc. Pomegranate is one of the fruits the existence of which is a must in rujak of nujuh bulanan ceremony. The same goes to pomelo. In their opinion, the ripe and red pomegranate will make the baby to be born very attractive and loved by everyone. Pomelo has its own meaning. Pomelo usually tastes sweet and makes a good rujak, and its skin could be easily peeled. It serves as a wish that the birth delivery will run smoothly and easily with no significant hindrance, just as how easy it is to peel the pomelo.

Birth Phase. During this phase, the baby is newly born and Betawi community practices the procession called as “mapas”. It is a ceremony which is held when there is a woman who just delivers her baby. In this ceremony, the mother of the new-born is required to consume “sayur papasan” which contains numerous kinds of vegetables to keep the mother as well as the new-born healthy.

Infancy Phase. Infancy is said to be one of the most phases since during this period an individual learns to understand various things. Infancy begins from the birth of a human to the world. As a religious society, Betawi people perform Islam sharia in the form of aqiqah. Betawi people also perform puputan procession.

Puput Puser. The puput puser or “puputan” procession is a ceremony organized when the baby’s umbilical cord falls off (puput). Betawi people hold simple communal feast. Usually Betawi people will serve Nasi kuning along with side dishes and those wealthier will serve ayam sempyok as an addition.

Aqiqah. It represents a communal feast ceremony for a new-born by slaughtering two goats for a boy or a goat for a girl. This is just like what Islam teaches. Another ceremony is having the baby’s hair cut when it is 40 day old. In addition, Betawi people would organize pengajian (public preaching) and share Nasi Berkat (meal package) consisting of cooked rice, side dishes, fruits and kerupuk to their neighbors or relatives who attend the event. The meat from the slaughtered goat will be cooked into gulai or satay and it will be distributed to the neighbours and relatives.

Adolescence Phase. During this phase, the baby has grown and has reached the childhood age. Betawi people are a society mostly practicing Islam quite piously. Therefore, in this phase Betawi people have two processions, namely sunatan or circumcision (for boys) and khatam Al’Quran or reciting the whole Al Qur’an.

Sunatan. For Betawi people, sunat is meant to be something to distinguish. It means something to distinguish the age between a child and someone who has reached puberty. Their parents will talk and discuss to reach consensus with their village elders to hold the circumcision ceremony. In this event, the commonly served cuisines are Betawi-specific nasi kuning made from glutinous rice and its side dishes in the form of meat stew, acar kuning (literally yellow pickles), serondeng, fried onions, and emping melinjo. In addition, wealthier Betawi people will usually add it with ayam sempyok.

Khataman. Betawi people are a religious society. Since early in their lives, children of Betawi Ethnic have been introduced to education of religion particularly in recitation Al Quran. It is therefore unsurprising that many children have finished reciting Al Quran. And for their parents, it is a pride when their children could finish reciting Al Quran. This pride eventually leads them to organize the so-called “slametan Khataman” event. This event in Betawi is frequently called as Tamatan Qur’an. The ceremony is highly important for Betawi people because it serves as a sign that the children have understood well the teachings of Islam. In this procession, the cuisines served include nasi kuning or nasi uduk along with the side dishes. Several parents also make nasi tumpeng.

Adulthood Phase. In this phase, someone in Betawi society has been regarded to have matured both psychologically and biologically. Therefore, during this phase the events being held have something to do with marriage. Seven processions during adulthood phase are known, namely; ngedeleng, ngelamar, bawe tande putus, sebar undangan, ngerudut, akad nikah, kebesaran, negot and pulang tige ari.

Ngedelengin. Ngedelengin is finding a future female daughter in-law which is done by a Mak Comblang or matchmaker. Usually, in this event the family of future in-laws will serve tea or coffee and traditional cakes.

Ngelamar. In the proposal procession, the man’s family declares their intention to propose the woman to her family. In this event, the “Kue bacot” is known, i.e. the action of giving Betawi-specific traditional cakes such as wajik, dodol, geplak and sweetened sugar palm fruit. The kue bacot tradition is held after the proposal procession is done by the man’s family. Kue bacot is given by the woman’s family to the man’s family in return for the hantaran during the proposal event. Additionally, the traditional cakes can also be given to the neighbors around her house, aiming at notifying them that a marriage will be held in a near future. During the proposal procession of Betawi custom, what should be prepared include Sirih lamaran (proposal betel), pisang raja banana, white bread, accessory gifts and the Messengers consisting of the Matchmaker, Two pair of elders representing the future parents in law.

Bawe Tande Putus. Bawe tande putus is a statement or agreement when the wedding will be held. In this procession, the future in-laws’ families usually serve traditional cakes and coffee or tea as the dishes during this family discussion for consensus.

Sebar Undangan. When the dates of marriage covenant and kebesaran (reception) have been set, the next thing to do is to spread invitations. In this procession, Betawi People have the so-called “Nasi Jotan”. This nasi jotan consists of: steamed rice, yellow gluttonous rice with serundeng topping, carrot and cucumber pickles, stir-fried beans and grilled milkfish. Nasi jotan is given by the bride’s family to public figures or someone considered as the elders in their village. Giving nasi jotan is meant to be invitation to attend the wedding. Nasi jotan is usually given a day prior to the wedding day. Some Betawi people give cigarettes instead to indicate that the recipients are invited to attend the marriage covenant or reception events.

Ngerudat. This is a procession where the groom’s big family come to the bride’s home, while bringing along serah-serahan (wedding equipment) such as roti buaya (alligator-shaped bread), pesalin, sie, etc. The ngerudat procession usually serves as a commencement of the next procession, i.e. marriage covenant.

Akad Nikah. Akad nikah or marriage covenant is the pledge stated by the groom before the bride’s guardian. The set of marriage covenant event usually begins with the “Palang Pintu” (literally: doorstop) procession. In this procession, the bride’s family will give “Sayur Besan” as a respect to their besan (son in-law’s parents). 

Kebesaran. Kebesaran or currently commonly referred to as reception is a ceremony where both the bride and the groom sit on puade to accept greetings for being married from family and invitees. In this event, both the bride and the groom’s families will invited their relatives, colleagues and neighbours to share their joy. In this process, the bride’s family will serve several types of dishes as a form of gratitude for the good prayers the guests have given. The cuisines commonly served here include: nasi uduk and its side dishes, coffee, tea, fruits, yellow glutonous rice with serondeng topping, tape uli and some traditional cakes. However, in its development nothing distinguishes the wedding reception of Betawi Ethnic and that of Non-Betawi ethnics for the cuisines they serve are mostly the same.

Negor. The next procession is negor. It is an effort made by the husband to convince his wife to start a new life as a family. It is also highly sacred and meaningful for the lives of the two to live together building their family, and serves as an evidence of the woman purity as a wife.

Pulang Tige Ari. Pulang tige ari is held when the groom has stayed for three days in the bride’s home. This event is held in the groom’s home as an expression of how happy the groom’s family are that their son has now become a leader for his family. During the event, the groom will be served with tea or coffee and snacks.

Death Phase. The death ceremony or Haul or tahlilan, is held by members of family when a death occurs. They will organize a communal meal called selamatan or sedekahan. Such an event is also held at the 7th, 40th, 100th, and 1000th days after the death. The dishes commonly served in this phase are:

-      Nasi begané. It is called nasi begané because the steamed rice is served with side dishes and these side dishes are usually begané. Begané is adalah tumis kering ayam cacag (cacag sauted chicken)

-      In the Tige ari (third day) dadar gulung is served, in the Tuju ari (seventh day) a complete set of regular steamed rice is served. At the evening of the fifteenth day ketupat sayur is served. Finally, at the evening of the fourteenth day ketupat sayur laksa and sate pentul are served.

-      In the haul (1000th day commemoration) event, wealthier Betawi people generally serve nasi kebuli and pacri

The family, relatives and neighbours to whom the obituary is delivered will visit the grieving family. This activity of visiting the impacted family in Betawi community is known as “nyelawat”.

In addition to the five phases, Betawi people also have three social and religious events, namely; bikin/ pinde rume, Nazar and Lebaran. Bikin/ Pinde Rume is held when Betawi people will commence their house construction and move to the new home. As a society with relatively tight kinship value, for this procession a separate commemoration is usually arranged, by having a pengajian (public preaching) event and distributing nasi berkat containing nasi kebuli, nasi uduk and Betawi traditional cakes. The next procession is nazar. Rural Betawi people call it “ngucap” and “kaulan. ”It is a promise someone makes in their heart and stated orally and expressly and heard by those around him. This nazar should be realized as promised previously. If it is not done, something bad will happen to the one stating the nazar. No clear information is available regarding the dishes served in this event. This is because a nazar is different from one person to another. The last one is lebaran event. For Betawi people, lebaran is one of the peak of happiness after accomplishing religious services and good deeds. To reach the lebaran, several stages should be passed well and correctly. Betawi People know at least three lebarans, namely lebaran Idul Fitri, Lebaran Haji (Pilgrimage), and Lebaran Anak Yatim (Orphan). Most of Betawi people embrace Islam as their religion. Thus, during Lebaran they celebrate it by serving grand meal for family and relatives and even neighbors. The dishes commonly served during lebaran are: Pesor, Ketupat, Sayur Goduk, Tape Uli, Kembang Goyang, Gingerbread, Biji ketapang, Kue Kuping Gajah, Rendang, Batawi, Serondeng, Ayam Sempyok, Kue Semprit, Cakes, Satu, Sagon, Nasi Briani, Nasi Kebuli, Dodol, Sugar Palm Fruits.

D.    Reflection of Betawi Cuisines with Multi-Community Frame in the Special Capital District of Jakarta

The results of this study show that there are five types of cuisine, namely Familiar, Recall, Pass Known. Not every one of Betawi people know these and some of those which are regarded as new dishes. The research is conducted by involving three communities, namely Aboriginal Betawi, Betawi Descents and Non-Betawi Community in the five administrative regions of the Special Capital District of Jakarta (South Jakarta, North Jakarta, Central Jakarta, East Jakarta and West Jakarta). The following figure (figure 1) indicates that only six types of cuisines are still highly popular. Some dishes even begin to be forgotten. And as its people and someone who concerns ourselves about culture it is our responsibility to collectively reinstate the existence of Betawi cuisines and restore the popularity of Betawi Culture, particularly Betawi cuisines,so that Betawi Culture could once again become the regional identity of Jakarta. With no prejudice to the values of those cultures which have interactions of one another in Jakarta, we ought to begin to direct our support to local values of a region.












Fig 1. The Classification of Betawi Culinary Base on Communities Knowledge;

Source: processing data (2017)


330 samples of five administrative regions of the Special Capital District of Jakarta

There are six cuisines which are familiarly known to the society in general. These six cuisines are: Kerak Telor, Gado- gado, Soto Betawi, Roti Buaya, Nasi Uduk and Asinan Betawi. It is a bit hard to believe that out of one hundred and fifty Betawi cuisine varieties, only six are known recently. Meanwhile, ninety one (majority) cuisines belong to recall classification. It means only some people know these cuisines. Based on the results of observation and interviews with the society, the types of cuisines included into this recall category are those “rumahan” (homemade) and “jajan pasar” (market snack) dishes which are frequently offered as dishes for breakfast. Here, we can see it clearly that when this type of cuisine is not served at home and or offered as culinary products which are consumed on daily basis, then it is possible that they will be gradually forgotten. It is also obvious here those households play an important role in disseminating culinary varieties. It is consistent with Suharti Siti and Suwarjo’s (2015) research. In this research, sixteen types of culinary products are included into past known category. 34 culinary products are even generally unknown to all respondents from the Aboriginal Betawi community.

One of the objectives of this research is to map and represent such values as uniqueness, originality, social, distribution, sensitivity and seasonality of Betawi cuisines based on the opinion of the three communities (Aboriginal Betawi, Betawi Descents and Non-Betawi). This research finds that knowledge on socio-cultural values in Betawi cuisines is diverse (Figure 2)

Fig 2. The Representation Socio-Culture Value of Betawi Culinary

Source: Processing data (2017)



This research finds that knowledge on socio-cultural values in Betawi cuisines is diverse. Prior to determining the statistic method to be used, the researcher performs the normality and homogeneity tests. To determine whether or not the data are normally distributed, Kolmogorov-Smirnov test is used by comparing the alpha value (5%) to the value of significance of the processing output. Meanwhile, the homogeneity test is used as a reference in determining the statistic test decision by comparing the homogeneity processing output at alpha value of (5%). The output shows that the Normality test in each category of each community in every region is 0.000, therefore, when it is compared to the alpha value of 5%, then the normality test output of each community in every region is less than the predetermined alpha value. Hence, it could be stated that all data are not normally distributed.

The homogeneity test does not show different results. All categories of each community in every region have an output value of 0.000. This means it is less than the alpha value of 0.05. Thus, it could be interpreted that the data are heterogeneous. The fact that the data are heterogeneous and not normally distributed leads to the use of Non-Parametric statistic method to be the next statistic data processing.

K Sample Median Matching Test is done to compare the knowledge on culinary varieties of all communities among regions and the Man-Whitney Test is used to compare the knowledge on cuisines between two communities in Jakarta. The knowledge on Betawi cuisines is also influenced by the lifestyle and interest of youth generation which seem to have increasingly moved them farther from Betawi cuisine as it is considered less attractive (Adiasih, 2015).From the data processing results in the K Sample Median Matching Test, it is found that there is no knowledge difference between the Aboriginal Betawi communities in the five Jakarta areas (Asymp. Sig. 0.250). The same applies to the Betawi Descent communities, where no knowledge difference exists between the Betawi Descent communities in the five Jakarta areas (Asymp. Sig. 0.118). Meanwhile, knowledge difference exists among Non-Betawi communities in every Jakarta area (Asymp. Sig, 0.000). Distribution constitutes one of those factors with significant influence on one’s knowledge on certain culinary types (Yuliati, 2011). This is consistent with the results of observation, which find that the culinary knowledge of Non-Betawi communities is highly dependent on the cuisine availability in the market. It means when in an area only several types of cuisine are marketed, and then these Non-Betawi communities will only know of these cuisines being marketed there. Unlike their Non-Betawi counterparts, aboriginal Betawi and Betawi Descent communities have better knowledge since they could consistently make and serve Betawi Cuisine at anytime or during certain ceremony.

People have some understanding of the social value of the diverse Betawi Culinary Culture. There are seven categories (1 to 7), in which category 1 is the cuisine with the least score and category 7 is the one with the highest score. It is this cuisine with the highest score which in the future should be developed, since the cuisine in this category is the most representative one of Betawi Culture. However, in reality from the research results it is found that not even one Betawi Cuisine belongs to categories 7 and 6. The reason behind this is the fact that the long history of Betawi Culture development is influenced by other tribes and ethnics from both within and outside of Indonesia. Thus, many Betawi Cuisines are considered to have equally good qualities in terms of either their names, forms, colours, tastes and even their cooking utensils and presentation tools with cuisines of other tribes. The occurring overlay has caused the Betawi cuisines to be regarded as less identical. 34 culinary types are included into category 5, 37 into category 4, 36 into category 3, 41 into category 2 and, finally 2 cuisines are included into category 1. This culinary categorization is highly helpful to build a Betawi Culinary Brand, so that the approach to building the Regional Identity of the regions of Special Capital District of Jakartain relation to Culinary Culture is not merely based on people’s knowledge and demand of certain types of cuisines. Rather, the development of Betawi Culinary Identity ought to be based on the socio-cultural valuethat the dish possesses, in order for the Cuisine being developed to truly represent Betawi Culture.

The output of K Sample Median Matching Test shows that there is a difference of socio-cultural values between the three communities (Asymp. Sig. 0.00).  This is because the understanding of Aboriginal Betawi community for their socio-cultural values decreases when it is transferred to the Betawi Descent Community. One of the causes of this decrease is the lack of dissemination of knowledge on culinary socio-cultural values and lack of interest of Betawi Descent community to improve their knowledge on the values of their own culture roots. As suggested by Sahrif et al. (2012), knowledge on traditional cuisine is a representation of collective knowledge from many generations. Meanwhile, from the point of view of Non-Betawi Community, such difference in values is caused by the fact that Betawi cuisines are less identical and they are still perceived to be similar to culinary kinds from other regions. In addition, the currently marketed Betawi cuisines are limited to food product, thus the interpretation of the culture they bring along is infrequently stated.

4.       Conclusion

Betawi cuisines reflect the culture and long history of Betawi community development as the native inhabitants of Jakarta. The current development has made it difficult for Betawi Cuisine originality to maintain. A study even finds that almost all Betawi cuisines undergo changes in all cooking utensils, cooking process, presentation rites, and food presentation tools. The difficulties of finding cooking utensils, presentation tools and the limited knowledge of socio-cultural value of Betawi Cuisine drive the originality of Betawi cuisines even farther away.

The main problem in maintaining sustainability of a culture of a society is the less dissemination of knowledge on culinary varieties and the culinary cultural values from a generation to the next one. Knowledge on Betawi cuisines in Non-Betawi Community is highly dependent on the number of culinary kinds being marketed around them. Thus, in this case the distribution of Betawi Traditional Cuisines has been extremely important. Introducing Betawi cuisines to families is also less likely to reach Non-Betawi community. Therefore, market has served the purpose of being the main source of knowledge for Non-Betawi Community in knowing Betawi cuisines.

The main problem in improving the knowledge of people in the Special Capital District of Jakarta on the Cultural values of Betawi Cuisine is the less disseminated knowledge on Culinary Culture between generations and the lack of ability of Betawi cuisines to penetrate culinary markets. The government as the one that determine the direction of culture and politic ought to address their policies and support towards the development of Betawi Culinary Culture as the embryo of Jakarta Culture by making Betawi cuisines into Jakarta Culinary Icon and disseminating Betawi Culinary Cultural values more extensively by involving the Aboriginal Betawi community as the informants. In addition, the dissemination of Betawi Traditional Cuisine abroad both within marketing and cultural contexts could use the network of Indonesian citizen diasporas spread throughout the world.


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