Indonesia is the proud owner of a local beer brand, famously known as Bintang. This popular local beer is served everywhere when is appropriate including at restaurants, some warungs, bars, and even at the beach! Usually served ice-cold, Bintang – which means Star in English – is part of the Dutch Heineken and is also a popular choice of beer in Flores. But Indonesians drink more than just beer; the country which sees an Islamic majority, also enjoy their tea and coffee immensely. The more popular and renowned local tea brand would be Sariwangi, which can be found in almost any shops, warungs or convenience store for Rp. 5,000 per box.
Indonesia is well known for its stellar coffee, made from coffee beans that are grown locally all across the archipelago and in Flores. You’d probably already know that Indonesia is the largest producer of coffee in the world and in Flores; Arabica coffee is grown at 1,200 to 1,800 meters on hillsides. Coffee from Flores is known for sweet chocolate, floral and woody notes and is highly sought after by coffee aficionados. Throughout Indonesia, the latest craze that has caught the attention of tourists is Kopi Luwak, made from beans eaten by the wild civet cats. It is a little controversial as the beans are extracted from the cats’ droppings before being processed and also there are concerns on the mistreatment of the cats as many are now being held captive for the purpose of profit when they are known to be wild animals. However, Kopi Luwak is considered to be a real delicacy and is being shipped all over the world but is quite expensive.
When you visit Flores, you might just be offered a traditional beverage called Sopi or Dewe and also more widely known as Moke. This drink is a symbol of friendship and to refuse is likened to insulting or rejecting the local people’s hospitality towards you. The drink is made from fermented plants and the technique used was passed down from generation to generations using bamboo tools. Making one bottle can take up to 5 hours! Today, there is several variation of this drink but all are deemed authentic and quite delicious.
In Ruteng, you can buy special variations to the traditional version of Kopi. In Labuan Bajo, do try some of the best milkshakes served on the island!
Photo courtesy of Kompasiana.com